the re-cycle

In addition to home beautification projects, I also gave some attention during my time off to the sorry state of the world and my contribution to that sorrow.  That’s why I have a new bike.  I’ve decided that the whole oil spill thing in the Gulf is at least 50% my fault (and the fault of people like me) — because, really, would they be drilling for oil in the gulf if I was riding my bike to work? Right.  It’s more like 75% my fault.  The rest was so inevitable, greed and politics being what they are, that it’s actually pretty much 100% my —  our — fault.

It seemed wrong to buy a new bike, though, particularly when there are so many bikes out there looking for good homes via the miracle that is craigslist. And I really lucked out — I found this great bike on craigslist and I bought it from a very nice young woman with no real desire to ride it.  I stuck a basket on it (after taking votes on the important question of wire vs. wicker on facebook) and now I’m trying to ride it everywhere.

How’s that going?  Well, the first time I took it into the city to work (I had to watch four youtube videos of how you load your bike on the bus before I had sufficient courage to do this), it rained.  Still, I rode it from the bus terminal to my office, down Market Street in the pretty great bike lane the City of San Francisco has created for people like me.  Several guys on bikes stopped and chatted me up at red lights.  One handed me his business card and asked me to call him if I ever wanted to meet and have a drink.  What that was about I have no idea.  People don’t generally chat me up.  Maybe it was the cute bike.


16 thoughts on “Re-Cycle

  1. I LOVE it! And I applaud your riding in the rain — I won’t do that yet, because it makes me scared. But…I’m loving the days when I do commute by bike. 🙂 And maybe I’ll get chatted up at some point by a cute guy with a business card. Hmm…

  2. Hey Genie — I realized today that one of the things I love about riding a three speed bike is that you really can’t go fast, so you don’t even try. I pedal along and feel more or less blissful. As for the business card guys, I’m going to guess that there are a lot of those biking into downtown Oakland, and they are just looking for an inadvertent gardener to chat up.

    WM: I love those photos; the way the bikers are so casual about what they’re doing. No one in lycra. No one in a hurry. And although I know the whole helmet issue is a touchy one I do look forward to the day when Americans everywhere can feel that they don’t take their lives into their own hands when they get on their bikes — because there will be fewer cars, and those who’re out there will have learned how to share the road. And then we can ride around without helmets like they do in Europe.

  3. Your bike is such a pretty colour! And well done on cycling in the rain. I am looking forward to being back in the land of cycling again. I’m not even planning to get a car for a while.

  4. Your bike is adorable! I have a cute bike too, that is mostly sitting in the garage. I am determined to get out on it more this summer, though. It’s only a mile or so to the grocery store, although it’s uphill the whole way home… sigh…

  5. What a great bike and in my favourite colour! Enjoy cycling on it, and indeed the SF cycle paths are great to ride on. I think your weather is perfect for it too. I think that rainy day was just to test you 🙂

  6. Way to go! That’s a great idea to buy a bike through Craig’s List. I’ve been having the same thoughts, though I won’t take on 100% of blame. My individual practice won’t change the office towers that are lit up at night when nobody’s there. That takes regulation. However I will say that we all need to demand that regulation.

  7. OMG. I do believe I have serious bike envy. What a find.

    And I am so not surprised some guy chatted you up and gave you his card. Not. Surprised. At. All. 🙂

  8. Mari — in my view, one of the most charming bicycle combos is that of parent and child. In Europe, people have these seats that go in the front of the bike — very sweet, really, although they also look a little dangerous. Still…

    Lilian, Of course you are right! There is plenty of responsibility to go around.

    Ingrid — It’s a beautiful day today, in fact, and I’m about to go for a ride. (I think I’m going to need to get some baskets for the back too — it’ll make grocery shopping easier.)

    Oh, Becky, that’s so good to hear — are you on your way to England? Happy cycling. xo

    Gumbomum — uphill is a drag. I tell myself that I need not peddle fast, but you have to keep going or you’ll topple over! But then there is always the age-old method of getting off the bike and pushing it uphill (slowly!)

  9. In Amsterdam, I saw bicycle baskets decorated with plastic flowers and stylish weaving of ribbons and bows. Just imagine what a fashion statement that would be for you and your bike if you did this! Great looking bike by the way. Hats off to your new resolve.

  10. My husband and I have just this morning decided to buy a pair of bikes, mostly to improve our overall fitness, but also because we both like riding and hopefully will enjoy having this activity to do together.

    I hadn’t thought to look on Craigslist..thanks for the tip, and happy cycling!

  11. Nice bike. I also started commuting by bike a few weeks ago. I fixed up an old Schwinn LeTour that my brother bought new during the early years of the Reagan administration. The bike gets some props from San Jose’s hipster community for being vintage, but you bike has me longing for the sensible elegance of fenders and a fully-functioning kickstand.

  12. Lily! You’re back – that’s so marvellous! And with a new trusty steed as well. Lovely bike. I keep asking Mister Litlove to fit a new saddle on mine as it is SUCH a disincentive to riding. No one likes to see a woman get off a bike limping. And to think you rode it in the rain! You are a true eco-warrior, with spurs to prove it.

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