I like bikes.
I really do; I fuckin’ love bicycling. Bumpin’ rough down trails in Kickapoo State Park in eastern Illinois was awesome; and soaring the cornfields of Ohio in summer on my dad and grandpa’s high-end road bikes (well, my dad’s was a cyclocross bike with smooth tires on it), sun the color of my buddy Mary-Claire’s hair as a slightly banked curve flies beneath the wheels at twenty-some miles an hour is one of my favorite things to do. So rad.
Thrashing my way to and from work, rehearsal, the grocery store, the bank, wherever; in 40-something degrees under hyperactively precipitatious constant cloud cover; on a bike that’s older than me and keeps springing problems despite the gut-punch of money I put into getting it refurbished and tuned?
No. Thanks, but I’ve had enough, and I’m gonna take the bus. I don’t care if I’m not hardcore. I skate outside in Nebraska in January—anything I have to prove about enduring the elements on subculture-trendy modes of transportation has been proven. This is nonsense. I set out in the morning shivering and cursing under a frigid drizzle and dim-grey skies; blaze maddening paths down sky-slicked hills, feel my back wheel slip out and almost trash me as I change lanes over the light-rail tracks on MLK, drag my toes to keep from hitting cars at intersections ‘cause side-pull brakes on my steel rear rim don’t cut it around here; and then get to work after the 45-minute ride, dancing-level sweaty under my waterproof jacket from the uphill second half of my trip while just below, my pants look like I got hit with a hose they’re so rained-on and splashed-on. I actually wring my socks out in the yard when I arrive. The water that comes out of them is brown.
I was thinking about getting waterproof pants and shoes and just grittin’ my teeth, and perhaps once I’ve got a more regular job, and can be confident it’s okay for me to show up for work lookin’ weird and then take off my galoshes and big gore-tex or whatever overalls, I’ll do that, but in the meantime it’s only gonna get colder, and besides, I’ve gotta get that job first, and I don’t fancy a big drippy shuffle at the door as I squiggle out of my elaborate cycling rain gear, only to emerge in my nice-looking but now sweat-soaked interview clothes. Buses: I’ma ride ‘em.
In my down time, I might still bike for fun, ‘cause it is definitely hella fun under the right circumstances, and if it’s just a trip to Forest Park to go hike and then a return home or something, I don’t really care if I’m all wet, and of course, when summer comes (and I hear it’s delicious and glorious here; three months of 80 degrees and lots of sun and almost no rain), I may well spend lots of time cycling for fun. But then again, if it’s summer…
There’s so little reason to not just do this instead.
I think that’s California. I like California. California is right up there with Ohio and Nebraska and Texas on my list of favorite states, and I was only even there for two weeks!
Portland has a reputation as one of the most bicycle-friendly cities in the U.S. And that reputation isn’t unearned: there are some decent bike lanes, there are lots of bike racks in many parts of the city, and so many people ride here that I guess a lot of drivers are probably used to it and pay a little more attention to what they’re doing than in other places. (There are still plenty who pull out way past the white line at intersections and then just stare at you in placid inaction as you swerve halfway into traffic to avoid them as you cross the street, though.) But what I don’t understand is why it got this way. Who in their right mind would continue to ride through this part of the year? I’m not even in my right mind—my entire brain is dominated by the Hip Hop Lobe, the Skate Protrusion and the Fapocampus, so severely that all higher reasoning capability has long since left me—and still I realize this is craziness!
Thank goodness this band is so fuckin’ cool. Also, I recently learned that people cut grooves into longboard wheels to provide better grip in the rain. And when you stand up (as in, on a skateboard), your thighs don’t get soaked like they do on a bike. Perhaps I’ll be hardcore in my own way. The four-wheels way that’s wondrous and intensely pleasurable, rather than fucking cold and miserable.
Whew. Anyways, skate hard, bike hard if that’s your thing, keep your head nodding to the beat. If you need me, I’ll be on the bus.