Biking in Boston: A Short Lived Hobby, Part 1

Today I was in the car with my mom when we saw a biker ride past. It reminded me of that time last year when I decided I wanted to become one of those people who rides a bike everywhere. You know, all quaint, with a basket on it…I would probably change my whole wardrobe to include things like Audrey-Hepburn-ish skirts.

Back to that fantasy in a minute…

I’ve been meaning to start a new blog for awhile. My problem with blogs is that I always get locked into thinking I have to write about some specific topic, when really all I want to do is write about the stupid things that happen in my daily life. Then, if I even make it so far as picking a topic (like post-grad life…sooo original! NOT.) I get stuck in the “themes” section. Then I end up picking up a font. And that takes about eight hours. And before I know it I’ve chosen exactly two widgets, changed my color scheme 12 times, and still haven’t written anything…

That’s when I thought to myself, “Okay…enough already! I’m just going to write about this bike thing and GET ON WITH MY LIFE!!!”

So, back to this bike story.

The first step I took in becoming a biker was, well, buying a bike. I hadn’t owned a bike since my Magna days, back when I thought metallic purple and black was a really bitchin’ color combo. Yeah, so, I was about 10. Thank God for that saying about never forgetting how to ride one because I literally hadn’t been spread-eagle over an aluminum frame for over ten years.

I knew I wanted my bike to fit in with the neighborhood I’d be living in, Beacon Hill. For anyone unfamiliar, Beacon Hill is exactly what you imagine when you think “East Coast” It’s as if some alderman gerrymandered (omg…I can’t BELIEVE I remember that word from 8th grade!!) Boston and purposely sectioned off everyone who owns exclusively Lilly Pulitzer and Brooks Brothers apparel, went to a boarding school and then enjoyed a four year lacrosse career (men’s or women’s) at a school like Bowdoin or Williams.

Acorn St. in Beacon Hill…yes, it actually looks like this. And yes, I’m sure the people who live in these houses are as pretentious as you think they are! (I used to be one of those smug assholes.)

Then there’s me living there, who pretended to be all those things. Beacon Hill was actually perfect for me because my ’98 Nissan Pathfinder I call Rusty (for obvious reasons) fit in beautifully. It’s the only neighborhood in the universe where having a rust-covered SUV is considered cooler than having a new car. Slap a Black Dog sticker on that baby and I basically had everyone convinced my ancestors were most definitely not Eastern European. They came off the Mayflower. Mmhmm.

Back to the bike. I didn’t want a mountain bike. Ugh, so…earthy. Sure, I own Patagonia, but purely for fashion purposes. Don’t expect me to actually take a hike or something. Unless there are snacks involved.

Hipster ten-speed bike? Err, no thank you. I think hipster bikes are actually pretty cool looking, especially the ones that are tricked out with like, gold wheels (probably solid gold. Hipsters usually have rich parents, which allows them the luxury of working 24/7 as table-holders at every coffee shop in America)–the problem with these bikes is, though, that I was pretty sure they don’t have breaks…which is why you always see those ironic mustached dirtbags with one pants leg rolled up. I definitely could not handle the no breaks thing. I also had no intention of carrying a messenger bag, going vegan, or devoting my waking hours to the discussion of my favorite cigarette brand and what “shows” I would be attending that weekend. Sooo…NEXT!

Several Google searches for “Audrey Hepburn Bike,” “Vintage Bicycle,” and “Bicycle With Basket That Looks Old but is Actually New” later, I came across Republic Bikes. Ooo! Me likey!! Basically you can design your own vintage-style Dutch bicycle, down to the wheel and handlebar colors! I played around on that site for hours, designing bike after bike, imagining myself pedaling merrily through the collegiate streets of Boston, before I realized that I did not have $400 lying around.

Ugh. Buzzkilled.

I turned my attention to CraigsList. Won’t bore you with the details, but basically, by some miracle, I found a small and very gay Chinese man in Harvard Square (typical) had purchased the EXACT BIKE I wanted from Republic Bikes!!! And he was selling it! Apparently, the color scheme did not match his vision and he would be designing and purchasing a new one. Ugh, sometimes I wish I had crazily rich Chinese parents who would send me to Harvard, let me be gay and buy me designer clothes/bikes/hairdos all the live long day. What a life.

I purchased the bike for a mere $75 (dollars, not yen) and had one of my best buds, Jimmy, ride the thing over for me since I was still in Chicago. Oh, and it was the cutest!! Once I picked it up, my dad and I fitted it with the most adorable little basket. Finally, somewhere to put all those extra-long baguettes I would be buying every day! Never mind that I am one person who doesn’t really eat white bread, and certainly not a whole loaf. I actually considered buying a kids plastic loaf of bread to permanently place in my basket.

My new bike, where it looked best: locked up and not riding around anywhere.

A few days after moving into my new pad, I took my bike for a test spin around the neighborhood. And so my bike riding career began…stay tuned for what I soon learned about the harsh realities of biking. Trust me, it’s terrifying. You won’t want to miss it.




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