Once upon a time…
There was a woman who wanted a bike. A bit odd, perhaps – for 18 years, she had been a runner. Not one of those runners who likes to dabble in triathlons or do a lot of cross-training on a bicycle, but just a plain old runner-runner. She even had a nebulous, dark distrust of cyclists. They were on two wheels, not two feet! They popped out from around curves on paths and trails like cheerily-adorned, sneaky ninjas! They had suspiciously cool pouches on their shirts that held not just energy gels, but actual food! Not to be trusted!
Yet secretly, deep down, she wanted to be one. As much as she judged them for their seemingly-reckless downhill speed, she envied that feeling of flight, of cool breezes on hot days, of speed that spared knees and shins and IT bands. She liked the bottleholders and other storage doohickeys on bikes. She liked the idea of pedaling casually about, ringing a little bell, and never ever crash-stopping. Well, hardly ever. She thought to herself, “Hmm. That’d be nice.”
But she didn’t act on the dream, because she was a runner, remember? She watched triathlons and bike races; she never participated, and was fine with that. She gazed in horrified awe as riders in the Tour de France, packed liked sardines, hurled themselves around sharp curves on narrow roads. *Shudder*. Plus, she lived in Albuquerque, a town rife with hills that were not at all conducive to the bike that shimmered and wheeled in her fantasies: a cruiser.
So she went about her business, running and doing cross-training in the form of the occasional hot yoga class. She was content.
Then one summer day…
The woman’s sister and brother-in-law came for a visit. They phoned to say they were pulling into the woman’s apartment complex. “Cool, come on up,” she said.
“No, come down, we need you to help carry some stuff.”
Lo and behold…
It was the dream bike!! And PURPLE, no less! With a basket and a beverage holder! Not to mention a diviiiine cushiony seat. After a great deal of shrieking and hugs and a tasteful victory dance, the bike was carried lovingly into the apartment, where she – yes, the bike is a girl – was promptly christened Jensie (pronounced “Yenzee,” after the very cool and long-riding cyclist Jens Voigt. Seriously, the guy is amazing.). The next day, the woman bought a helmet and a lock, and took Jensie for a test spin around her apartment parking lot. The ride was a little stiff, but wonderful. No crashes occurred, no blood was shed by the rider or any innocent passers-by, and profanity was minimal.
It was the best present the woman had gotten in a long time. As she pedaled along, with a vise-like grip on the handlebars and a smile on her face, she foresaw many glorious cruiser adventures.
EPILOGUE: The woman (a.k.a. yours truly) has taken Jensie on numerous laps around her apartment complex since Jensie’s arrival. She is building confidence and plans to progress to an actual bike path very soon. She is also on the lookout for some good fluttery tassels for her handlebars.