For the last many years I’ve had a 50+lb all-steel e-bike cruiser. It was rad. I looked darling as I gently cruised around my neighborhood, ideally in heels and a matching skirt. My commute to work was 4.2 km each way, and I only rode on the sunniest of days. My bike was more fashion accessory than anything else.
This spring, that all changed.
In January my office moved to Kerrisdale – a genteel neighborhood that is a fair bit further away, and over a fair sized hill. Oh, and the bike storage area is down a flight of stairs. That combination of unfortunate circumstance meant that I knew I would never ride my steel beast to work – 11km each way + a flight of stairson 50 something lbs of bike is just not me.
Given that I knew I would never be biking to work I decided to sell the beast, and put the cash into a new bike. I visited a few shops and finally found one that had a nice selection of upright cruiser style cycles, and a sales staff that made me feel like I was going to get the perfect bike. I walked in knowing exactly what I wanted – a 21 speed red cruiser with a basket.
I was lucky enough to have Carmen (of Bicycle Buddha fame) helping me. She listened to exactly what I wanted, nodded and showed me her picks, and insisted that I couldn’t buy the bike I wanted until I tried the bike she thought I really wanted. I was a little underwhelmed at not being able to just walk out with the red cruiser, but since Carmen is the expert I heeded her advice. Which, turned out to be very much not a mistake.
After zipping around the block, and for a few more blocks, and then a few kilometers, it became clear that I was not going to buy another cruiser. Suddenly gears shifted just right, my knees felt like there were in the right place, my center of gravity balanced out, and I was flying. Biking had never been that fun or easy – it was love at first ride.
Here she is:
My bike is beautiful in a way, but in many more ways it is very utilitarian. Grey, black, diamond frame. Waterproof panniers. Riding a bike like this has changed how I see myself, and has given me permission to try harder, dream bigger, and let go of being a certain way for others. My bike feels like form following function. It feels like making the right choice, it feels like potential, it feels like fun. And, it turns out that those things mean more to me than looking cute with a baguette in my basket.
(And now, go read a bit of a rant about ladybikes)