Saturday, February 25, 2012

Bike Styles

We have a new “bikestyle.” The whole family has come to love our Saturday morning bike rides. This week I couldn’t help thinking how very much our bikes and our riding styles reflect our personalities.

The Firecracker
Someone painted “Misty” on S.’s bike at the factory, but that emphatically does not match her riding style. Her brother got training wheels, and she didn’t, so when they started learning to ride, we worried that she’d get frustrated and give up. I’ve never seen her more determined in my life. Falls, spills, skinned knees and all, she stuck to it. In two days, she went from novice to speed demon. She simply must be first in line when we ride, but not in a greedy or competitive way. It’s more like a deep biological compulsion. She was born to “take point.” She loves the speed, and the occasional off-road jaunt.

The Designer Dad
Not only did we have “value engineering” to consider when we bought bikes, my husband also had certain functions in mind—hand brakes, but no gears. (Really, who needs them for family rides in Florida?) Somehow, he managed to find a bike that meets those specs AND looks really cool. Seriously, some arty French cartoonist probably draws bikes like this—totally streamlined and mostly black, but with a red tire/yellow rim on the front and yellow tire/red rim on the back. The ultimate architect’s bike—form follows function.

Major Damage
Little A. does not have a reputation for caution in the first place, so the name painted on his bike—“Major Damage”—fits disturbingly well. Early on, he discovered the joy of bumping his front tire into S.’s back tire and hanging her up. He stops hard, without notice—loads of fun for the aging reflexes of the slow adult behind him. And he often involuntarily off-roads while checking out the scenery. Luckily, it’s the dry season here, so most of the ditches he ends up in are just grassy depressions, but that kid has gotten up close and personal with his cross bar so often that I seriously wonder if we’ll have grandkids.

Earth Mother Lite
I’m the grown up version of the hippy theater chick or New Age girl. Riding last, I keep an eye on everyone, comforting Little A. during aforementioned spills. I love the feel of the wind in my hair as I pedal my retro-styled turquoise and cream cruiser in my funky t-shirt and full-length skirt. Why the Lite? Well, I didn’t actually dig up a vintage bike—mine was probably made in China for a big-box store. I wear leather shoes. You know-I’m not perfectly crunchy.

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