Friday, April 8, 2011

The Brown Bandit, Appendix A

My spring bike riding season has not started like I planned. I suppose the idealistic picture of me pedaling down the street in a sundress and ballet slippers set the bar a little high. No butterflies have landed on my hands, I don't have a tan yet (granted, I'm still in long sleeves and have only been on the bike a total of an hour an a half) and I have yet to install a bell.

Here's how things really started.

The work day ended yesterday and the weather was pretty sunny. So. It was time to take the Brown Bandit out on the town. My first stop was the local bike shop that tuned her up for me. My fender brackets keep popping off so I wanted to see if they could fix them. Keep in mind that the B.B. is about fifty years old and nothing is the standard (modern) size. Alas, the bike wizard could not fix the fender brackets. Only a special part from a hardware store would do the trick...if I could find the right size. 'Eh,' I said and decided to ride on yesterday.

I took to the local green belt for the rest of the ride. It was pretty delightful, I'll say that. As I was whizzing (plugging away) past the trees and the river, I was reminded of why I got the bike in the first place. Then the wind kicked up. I felt like I was going backwards and it wasn't long until my lips were dried to my teeth. Magical...right.

Then came the right angle turn I wasn't anticipating. The last bike I had was a cruiser and the brakes were engaged when you pedalled backwards...the B.B. has hand brakes. I swerved! I ran into the dirt and nearly ran into the post that said 'slow.' I didn't fall down. Success. These types of things don't happen unless someone else sees, right? Just as the thought crossed my mind I heard, 'Are you alright?'

Damn it.

'Yep. Just a new bike. Doin' fine. Thanks.' He says, 'Well, what you should have done was applied the brakes just a bit sooner.' I thought the gentleman buzzing past was trying to be funny. So I said, 'Zip it.' He just kept riding. I turned around and went home soon after that. In the quiet of the side streets near my apartment, all that could be heard was the creaking and squeaking of my old bike. Add injury to insult (I know), my bum hurts like crazy. The old seat is pretty but it feels like I'm sitting on a two by four.

Regardless of my misplaced euphoria, I made the decision to ride to work today. I walked down to the bike rack and there it was. Flat tire. I was not shaken. I pumped that thing up and made it to work just fine.

If it's flat by noon, I'm putting the Brown Bandit back on Craigslist.

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