July 10, 2010

It must be love

I have a new love.

Pretty, right?  She played a role in the adventures of my last post, but I didn't really introduce her.

I'd been thinking of getting a new bike for the past two years, but kept putting it on hold for a variety of reasons, the most significant of which was that I already had a bike. But mine was a men's model mountain bike and I wanted a ladies style cruiser: upright and cute.  Then, one Saturday  in April as I was walking to the farmer's market with my compost, I saw a vendor unloading vintage bikes to sell at the Brooklyn Flea.  I almost panicked, I was so excited!  And this was just a week before my birthday, so you know, fate. I took her for a test ride and then took her home.  Thus began our romance.

But like any relationship, it's had it's ups and downs.  There was a magical, misty ride to Sunset Park for dim sum with Jane and Penelope, and a sunny sojourn to meet up with my knitters on the Upper West Side.  Oh!  And then there was the flat (pictured above - front tire) that stopped me a mile from my apartment.  It's much harder to walk a bike with a flat tire than one might expect. Just after that was fixed, we had some more serious mechanical difficulties involving my gear shift.  Merrily peddling along was I when I noticed the bike wouldn't stay in gear.  I was able to get it to cooperate only by manually holding the gear shift in place; no mean feat when climbing a hill. Then, while crossing the Manhattan Bridge I heard the unmistakable ping! ping!  that told me bits and pieces were flying off of my ride.  Turns out that bikes, like people, have history and baggage, and when you get one that's approaching 40, this baggage can present challenges.  But a little patience and the help of some friends (at Gotham Bikes in TriBeCa) can do wonders, and for the past four weeks, my lady love and I have been getting along fantastically well. 

She takes me to work, and this commute has changed my life.  We had a  heat wave last week in New York, and she brought me sweet relief from oppressively hot and subway platforms. 

No longer am I relegated to steerage class on New York City Transit!  The sun, the air, the vistas all make me so happy.  I usually take the Manhattan Brodge, as it has far less pedestrian traffic than the Brooklyn Bridge, and so is an easier and more relaxing ride.

That't the Williamsburg Bridge in the distance.  New York isn't known for it's bridges, as is my hometown of Portland, OR, but we really do have quite a few here, and they're (msostly) beautiful  When crossing a bridge on foot or bicycle I think a lot about the engineering and physical efforts that went in to building it. Imagine how different our lives would be if we didn' have bridges!

Coming off the bridge on the Manhattan side, I see this man every morning.  He's meditating.  Right off of Canal Street.  He don't mess around.

Not all of the ride is traditionally scenic; nevertheless, I find it charming. Like this here: one woman is doing morning tai chi exercises.  The other is walking backwards.  Hmm . . .

Here we are, under the FDR. 

Over the past few years, our city government has established a lot of bike lanes.  Some are painted green for high visibility and some are even separated from car traffic by physical barriers.  They make riding much more fun and safe. 

A view of DUMBO and Vinegar Hill, and a bit of my beloved Manhattan Bridge.

For me to go on and on like this, it must be love.


littlebirdbigcity said... Best Blogger Tips

That bike is ADORABLE! I'm so glad you're riding. There's really nothing that compares to the feeling of being on a bike, no matter what city you live in. I'm glad New York City is trying to make it's streets safer for bikes. I do miss those bridges.

craftivore said... Best Blogger Tips

Cute bike! I bought a bike just like that from Mike the Bike Man at the former 26th st. flea. I rode all over the city for 3 years and then chickened out after I broke my leg (not biking).