Note to Self:

Monday, May 10, 2010

Things That Can Be Carried On A Bike (#166), and a few comments

A gym bag full of wet clothes.
A bag of dog food.
Eight AA batteries.
A small brick of cheddar.

Yes I'm carrying a small block of cheese on a bike...I know there's a metaphor here somewhere but it hasn't come to me yet. My point is this: carrying these small, odd, and random things on a bike is something that can be done...and very simply. Yes, of course I could have driven the mile to the gym and stopped at the store on the way home...but it would not have been as much fun. And the key word here is fun (maybe I should change that to a more encompassing word, like enjoyable). Hopping on my bike on this perfectly sunny, albeit chilly, spring day after a day at the office (or more specifically, in my case, a hot kitchen), can really be freeing...I know it is to me. I realize this isn't for everyone, especially when you don't live/work in an urban environment where most things are close by. I feel blessed to have molded my life in such a way over the years to be able to do this. But I also realize it's not just that...it's the bikes I ride and always have. I've come to the conclusion that a person should ride a bike that they truly like; I know this sounds overly simplistic but it's true. In the same way a person gets excited about their car(s) they drive, so too do I about my bikes (and I know I'm not the only one who feels this way). When I was younger I would gravitate towards bikes that were stylish and built for speed; i.e. not that practical (click here to see my son with my old Raleigh), and if I were twenty today I'd probably own a fixie. Now I ride bikes with practicality and comfort in mind (no more hunching over the handlebars, I like to sit comfortably upright now). I've also pared my fleet down to 5, but really only ride 3 (which I keep in my living room). My Dahon folder hangs on a wall for easy access and rides like a little sports car (and is also the bike I take on subways, buses, and road trips to Toronto). The bike I use during foul Buffalo weather is an old Trek I refurbished and fondly refer to as the Mule. In the same way a person with a nice car may also have a winter car...this is my winter bike. Not only is it a workhorse and fitted with racks and a trailer hitch, it is also geared low and has carried me through many Buffalo snow storms. But my favorite bike by far is my most recent purchase, and the one pictured above; a v3 Yuba Mundo. I originally had a v1 and liked it so much I sold it and upgraded to a v3. While this thing is a true workhorse, a tank even, it also rides like a normal bike...like a really nice normal bike. It is in fact the most comfortable bike I have ever owned or ridden. It can carry more than 400 lbs of cargo (yes you read that correctly) but it still rides like a luxury sedan. It is, I suppose, not unlike a Hummer or other high-end SUV...from the outside it looks like a tank but when you're behind the wheel it's like a big cushy cruiser. This is my bike version of an SUV; more specifically, it is my SUB. This brings me to my next point (and I digress)...ride a bike that you truly like, one that you really want to ride, and you'll find yourself not only riding more but wanting to ride more (no matter what your age). You'll look forward to Saturdays and doing errands by taking the long way around just for the fun of it, and you'll look forward to quitting time when you can leave work and hop on your bike. It won't be so much about the destination as it is the journey (now there's a metaphor).

OK, enough said; I'll get of my little soapbox now...but one more thing, don't forget that May is National Bike Month.

Urban Simplicity.

1 comment:

Jim said...

SUB, Yes exactly that, and minivan ! The Yuba really came into its own for me with small children. I have 3 kids and wished I had bought the Mundo earlier... it is wonderful to hit the road "en famille" with all the junk that gravitates around family life. We have a V2 and I am building a V3 so we can head for the beach in convoy. 5 people on 2 bikes !