Posts Tagged ‘bike’
To the person or persons who purloined my road bike (which was purchased from a thrift store for $20 and was old) last weekend from the bike rack under the stairs of my apartment:
November 7, 2008
Sometime around 3:30 PM: I grunt and my lips form disjointed syllables, as I feel frustrated enough to swear, but realize that my mouth has never really learned how to form those words. I have spent the last hour or so repairing my rear bike tire tube with what should have been great success. The hardest part has been long over: the actually repair of the puncture. Now, I find that my struggle to get my bike pump to fill the tire with air has become an unseemly Sisyphean crucible. Each time I try to get the pump to create a seal, I find that it will not. And as if the very notion, that a device specifically called a “tire pump” refuses to pump a bike tire, isn’t bad enough, I realize with disgust that the plastic mouth of the pump has cracked and broken and now will never function as it was intended.
My rage is unbridled. My fury has reached its incredible hulk-like pinnacle. Like an infuriated Samson with the jawbone of an ass, I take the pump in my hand and cock back my throwing arm. The pump clatters across the asphalt a few feet away, the thought that if I am to return the pump to Target, it should probably not appear to have been thrown across a parking lot, restraining me like a Delilah with scissors.
That is when I find myself in the position mentioned above, attempting to curse, but not knowing where to start. And for all my angry guttural sounds the only words that I can manage to get out are, “awwwww, poop.”
At 25, I should probably feel sheepish at saying the word, “poop”, especially when most people under extreme duress gravitate to other much harsher words of the English language. And that is my confession. That at 25, I still say the word “poop” when frustrated. And sometimes I say it, even when I’m not frustrated. Several months ago, someone asked me for a topic of conversation, and the first word I thought of was “poop.” It was also the next word out of my mouth. Needless to say, people don’t come to me for conversational topics anymore.
Actually, I just remembered that my real topic for confession is that, for all my bike-riding bravado, I haven’t ridden my bike in over two weeks. But at this point I’ve already written too much. So I’ll lay these “I Have a Bicycle” entries to rest here.
November 6, 2008
12:10 PM: I step out into the nippy air to go to my Marketing class, and traverse across the walkway from my front door to the sidewalk. Out on the street, a teenager on a skateboard is trying to harness the moves made famous by Tony Hawk, Bob Burnquist and others. He tries to jump in the air and spin his skateboard and land on it. I should point out that I see skateboarders young and old try this move all the time, and I have yet to see one land it successfully. The teenager flails his arms in the air and kicks his legs. He bobs his head and spins his torso. He tries jumping from different stances, he tries it from a stationary position, he tries it rolling. Each attempt ends the same way. The skateboard hops, spins, lands crooked and sends the teenager stumbling. As I continue to walk away, I look back and see him trying a different skateboard trick. Jumping over a piece of roller luggage. His next moments look both embarrassing and painful.
The teenager doesn’t look like a pro-skater, he looks like a boisterous child doing jumping jacks on a piece of plywood. I can’t help but think of a fish flopping around out of water, and gasping. So much of me wants to take his skateboard away, set his two feet firmly to the ground and say, “This is where you belong. This is your home.” Then I would pat him on the head, and maybe we would embrace, and remember stories of learning to walk.
This experience teaches me that not all things on wheels are created equal. While this skateboarder resembles a rolling seizure, perhaps if he were to ride a bicycle he would evoke a different image. A French countryside dotted with bicycles being ridden by classy, old men with mustaches, for instance. I bring this up, because as I ride my bicycle, this is how I feel. Even though I have no mustache.
I have decided that this is how all bicyclists must imagine themselves.
1 1/2 – 2 months previous to NOW:
I have joined an exclusive club. One without expensive dues, long lines, bouncers, or techno music. OK, scratch that. Sometimes it has techno, but only if that’s what comes up on my iPod.
I have become a bicycle rider. A traverser of the bike lanes. And like I said, I’ve joined an exclusive club. I’m into saving the earth, reducing CO2 emissions, helping the environment, getting healthier, etc.
When I said I ride a bicycle, what I should have said is, “I ride a mountain bike.” It is rugged and powerful. And while I may not have to actually ride up a mountain or anything, Provo has some tough environments with plenty of debris. Just the other day, there was a big stick lying menacingly on the side of the road, and I said “no problem!” and rode the devil and his angels over that thing.
But riding a bike isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s not all mud and beautiful vistas either. I have to tackle a difficult moral issue: Am I a vehicle or a pedestrian? My solution has been to become both. In this way I’ve managed to harness the benefits of both the privileged pedestrian, and the speed and vitality of the vehicle. I use crosswalks, push buttons at lights, and try to avoid red lights as much as possible by cutting across sidewalks and parking lots. But I also use car lanes, turn lights and speed.
You may be asking, “What prompted this situation?”, “Jeff, why are you doing this?!”, or “I wonder what else I could be doing with my time, instead of reading this?”
Since becoming a bike rider, I have received many such questions, and have prepared a list of Frequently Asked Questions for your convenience.
Question: “Jeff, what has caused this transformation from car-person to bike-person? Isn’t that like taking a step back in history?”
Answer: “The simple answer is ‘yes.’ I felt like I needed a change in my life. Just as a caterpillar must live within the confines of a cocoon for several weeks to become a butterfly, I feel I must embrace the bike in order to achieve my best self.”
Answer: “Actually, the honest answer is a lot simpler. My wife has a job up in Orem and needs the car. My job isn’t within easy walking distance, so I need the bike to get to work.”
Question: “How far is it to work?”
Answer: “Almost 3 miles.”
Question: “How fast can you go?”
Answer: “Ummm… kind of fast, but not really fast. But I’m not really slow either.”
Question: “Can you do this?”
Answer: “I don’t think so. I can’t see what you’re doing, so I’m not even sure.”
Question: “You’re kind of a loser, huh?”
Answer: “Wait! Is that really your question?”
Question: “Yes. You know, you just type on your computer all the time. And you only talk about yourself. It’s kind of boring. And selfish.”
Question: “Fine. Next question-”
Answer: “Yeah, great. That’s fine. I think that’s about it for today. Tune in next time for more Frequently Asked Questions with Jeff!”