It’s summer, the weather is delightful, and I decided it’s time to stop driving my car everywhere. So yesterday I went and bought myself a brand new one-speed beach cruiser bike with a basket on the front. There’s nothing like riding a bike to make you feel giddy and free, kind of like a kid again.
Cruising along this morning, I found that riding my beach cruiser gave me a whole new perspective on my work.
Dreaded errands are a lot more fun on a bike. This morning I rode to the bank to deposit a check, to the bagel store to buy my son bagels for breakfast, and to the grocery store to get a couple of things for dinner. I would have considered these dreaded errands before, but now with my mint green Electra cruiser, I get to do errands and have some fun at the same time. It’s always easier to do things if you mix in some fun, find ways to enjoy the fresh air and feel the sun on your face and the wind in your hair. Heck, if I can ride my bike, I might even look forward to going to the dentist.
You have to pedal hard to get started. Starting up from a cold stop on a one-speed cruiser bike is a lot different than a road bike. You have to stand up and pedal hard. It takes a lot of effort to get going, but once you start moving it gets a lot easier.
You can only carry what fits the front basket. When I ride my cruiser to Trader Joes to get groceries the trips are faster and a lot less expensive. I get only what I need since my basket can only hold one bag of groceries. And I get to check out in the Express Checkout lane. This way I travel a lot lighter, and I don’t get a lot of extra, unnecessary stuff. Why take on more than you need when you can just do what’s really necessary?
When you get going fast enough, it’s time to coast. With only one speed, it’s not hard to reach critical velocity – especially with the wind at your back or when you’re going downhill. At that point there’s really no point in pedaling, because the pedals just spin and pedaling harder simply doesn’t make the bike go any faster. And who really needs to go faster anyway? You might as well just coast and enjoy the ride.
You get to roll through stop signs. OK, don’t tell my kids this one. You’re supposed to stop regardless, but really, why stop if it’s not necessary? When you’ve looked both ways and there are no cars in either direction, when you know you’re not going to cause an accident, why not just roll right through? Sometimes it’s just better to break the rules.
The only problem with my new bike is that I can’t take along my fearless errand hound, Whisky. He stands at the gate from the time I leave to the time I return and howls. When I told my kids I might buy a cargo trailer so he could ride along, they nixed that idea, saying that if I did they’d refuse to be seen with me in public.
Which reminds me – I need to go to the pet food store to get Whiskey some dog food. Toot-a-loo!