Greetings fellow cyclists,
A comment by 12-year veteran bicycle commuter Jeff to my blog yesterday gives rise to today's offering. In addition to wise counsel on one of the most wonderful and unanticipated benefits of bike commuting (refer to his comment yesterday), he noted that my bike, my new baby, looks small for me and that I should adjust the seat and handlebars. To address his second comment, I will take a circuitous route and tell you a story...
It's amazing how impulsively I decided to become an "Executive" Bicycle Commuter. I enjoy running and the 5k races that always end at a festival with booths and free energy bars, drinks, bananas and oranges to replenish your spent body. So too was the scene at the end of the 31-mile Tour of Long Beach. My husband and I happened to be nosing around the various booths among some of the nearly 2,000 cyclists clad in their colorful racing regalia at the Long Beach Bike Festival several weeks ago. The fact is that I became instantly and irrevocably enamoured with the whole bike commuter concept. God knows I didn't even own a bike, but nevertheless I fell into it head over heels.
One booth exhibited a big map display of all of the official Long Beach bike routes--so many routes, so little time. I noticed how close the Metro Train Station was to the ocean bike path. There was another display offering information on Bikestation, a place two blocks from the Metro that would securely store your bike during the day and repair it if necessary. Bikestation would also be a place to shower and change clothes. We stopped at a booth that educated us on how bike riding contributed to sustainable communities, not to mention the !?$#% price of gas. I studied the various new bikes and equipment available for sale at a bicycle shop booth and all of the in-service bikes checked into the secure bike parking area sponsored by Bikestation. I chatted with those parking attendants about annual membership and other technicalities.Chapter 1, my new bike boasts disc brakes, push lever shifters, 24 speeds and it will soon have dual suspension once the fancy new seat post arrives, and of course it is green and black. Another very important feature is my new bicycle pack. It slides onto a rail and is carried on a platform over the rear wheel as I ride. I slide it off its platform and, voila, I have a cycle chic executive tote. It is amazing the things I can cram in there for the day--work clothes, flat iron, business papers, frozen Lean Cuisine lunch, small purse, shoes and makeup.
To address Jeff's comment, the handle bars are not the kind you can raise, and I must place the seat in a high position to accommodate my 5'11" height. This morning, I tried the bike path commute with the seat a little lower and we'll see how that goes. Otherwise, I am presently committed to my equipment as it is. Maybe after six months or so when I become street savvy and an expert, I will more knowledgeably be able to select a new bike and be like so many other cyclists that I read about with 2 or 3 bikes in the garage for street cycling, mountain riding, and racing. I will enter the Tour of Long Beach next year to ride the 31-miles decked out in one of those colorful racing outfits with the clacky shoes. For now, I love my bike the way it is. It gets me up some formidable hills and is equipped with everything I need for my daily commute, including pedal stirrups, front and rear lights, and rear view mirror.
Jeff, thanks for prompting this piece. Writing it has been cathartic.