Meet Betty

Y’all, check out my new weekend wheels, courtesy of craigslist:

Toward the end of undergrad, I wanted a bike and I got one for Christmas. It died a slow, rusty death on our balcony for two reasons:

  1. My leisure time and transportation choices were not entirely my own.
  2. It turns out you can totally forget how to ride a bike if:
    1. no one ever teaches you how to deal with mountain-bike-level gears, and/or
    2. bikes just keep getting more and more complicated.

(Yes, I can drive a stick…and it would’ve been way easier to learn if someone had taught me the basics on a ten-speed first.)

Also? I didn’t pick that bike out, I wasn’t in love with it, I didn’t know how to care for it, and the seat hurt my tushy.

Oh! And I hate bike helmets. I recognize that my surroundings are more metropolitan and dangerous than the rural Vermont of my youth, but seriously? Do you know how fast people drive on dirt roads they’ve lived on their whole lives? If Mountain Road Markwells never hit me, why would I expect that my Del Ray neighbors would?

(Yes, I have a bike helmet. And a lock.)

This bike, which I have named Betty for her classic, mid-50s style, is much more my speed…by which I mean, there’s only one speed, and she has coaster brakes instead of handle brakes. And her seat doesn’t hurt my tushy. (Here she is in her “natural habitat”…although I wonder about that, as the company says to try to avoid getting sand on the chain.)

I looked at the cruiser bikes a couple of years ago and loved them, but they were so expensive — they were super-popular and I had that dead gift bike hanging over my head, preventing me from justifying a purchase, even of the right bike. And there were other claims on the “household” budget.

Betty comes to me from a woman in Dumfries who researched her, bought her, and loved her, but only put about 10 miles on her before deciding she wanted a road bike. She made a deal with her husband to sell the cruiser to make (literal and financial) room for the road bike.

And now Betty’s all mine — almost new, for a good bit less than new…recycled, even, into a new life in an eminently bike-able neighborhood, another piece of my growing plan to live more lightly, simply, and joyfully. I’m looking forward to Saturday morning rides to yoga, and rides home with all manner of yummy farmers market goodies in…

Oh, crap. I need a wire basket. A white one. Maybe with pink daisies. :)

9 Responses

  1. Not to mention a little bell that goes “Brrrring-brrrring!”
    I have struggled through portions of the MS 150 ride (notice I said PORTIONS bcz I’ve never completed the whole thing); the first couple of times w/my monstrous hybrid mountain bike so I couldn’t believe how EASY it was to pedal a REAL road bike (which I found on eBay last year)!
    I had to put a couple of hundred $$$ in repairs, but then for less than $500 I also had a really cool bike…

    • I don’t have a bell yet! But she definitely needs a bell. On a bike like this, I must announce my presence in the twee-est way possible. :)

      Yay for buying used! Seriously, bikes can last forever. I’m hoping this one does…

  2. Dude! I am JEALOUS!

  3. Betty is HOT!

    Ya know…maybe I’ll think about biking again. It was a joy. I also still have my “SOOO 90′s” roller blades that I had in CA. Might have to break those out again….

    • Duuuuude…you had the schmancy soft-shoe blades. Those were sweet.

      My blades need fixing, and I haven’t really been on the ball about finding a…fixer. The last time I took them out I kinda trashed ‘em. Without perfect weather and the Iron Horse Trail, though, I have little incentive.

  4. You should definitely get a white basket with pink daisies. I remember one on Lib’s old pink Tuffy bike. I had a lavendar one.

  5. I love her! I am so jealous!

    {And yes, I had a white basket with daisies. It rocked. Though possibly I did not think so at the time.}

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