I Got a Bike!!
Yup, that’s right—I finally bit the bullet and bought a bike. I was planning on renting a couple more times to get used to it before buying one to ride to work every day, but my friend Janelle convinced me that I could get one cheap enough that spending more money on renting didn’t make much sense. She had actually just bought the same model we rented (the KHS Manhattan Green), and told me that it had a reputation as a sturdy bike with good components that’s cheaper than you’d expect.
It’s not a high-end bike, but I think if it were I’d be really paranoid about it getting stolen. If it looks like a rental, all the better. A homeless guy heckling me on Saturday actually shouted, “Give me a ride on your bike!” And then . . . “Aw, it’s a rental. Nevermind.”
It’s a 3-speed commuter bike, so it sits more upright than a 10-speed or mountain bike. It has coaster brakes, which I love, as well as a front hand brake. And a bell! I’m adding a front basket tonight, because my purse really got in the way today. For those of you who have bikes, do you like front baskets or back ones better? Or panniers?
Ling at Cambridge Bicycle was super helpful. I felt like an idiot knowing absolutely nothing about bikes—or even how my helmet should fit—but she talked me through it all really patiently and cheerily. And I get free maintenance for a year. Ling said we should come in once in about a month, then again at the end of the summer, and once more next spring. She also said we should inflate our tires (for free at the store) once a week and grease the chain each time it rains. Really? That seems like a lot of work to me. Do you guys put this much maintenance into it?
I’ve done the run to work twice now, once on a Saturday and once today. Thanks to Google Maps’ bicycle feature, which showed me a shortcut that bypasses the rotary, it hasn’t been as nerve-wracking as I thought it would be. I am a little white-knuckled on the Mass. Ave. bridge, especially when buses drift over the line into the bicycle lane. Boylston and Newbury streets are a little busy, too, with lots of pedestrians and double parkers who block the way. But oddly enough it’s actually been other bicyclists who have been the most difficult to deal with. One stayed in my peripheral vision all the way across the bridge, irritated that he couldn’t pass me. Another whizzed past to make a right turn, cutting me off. I’ve always been irritated at aggressive bicyclists, but I thought they’d be nicer if I myself was on a bike, even if my pace was more like a grandmother’s Sunday drive. But I guess jerks are just jerks, whether they’re riding a bike, driving a car, or jaywalking.
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Posted: April 12th, 2010 under Transportation.
Tags: bicycling, Cambridge Bicycle, commuter bikes, If you see a bicyclist coming towards you white-faced and breathing through her teeth GET OUT OF THE WAY!!, KHS Manhattan Green