Monday, March 19, 2007

I learned how to ride a bicycle on Friday. I don't know why I never learned how to before then. Maybe I've become more courageous, although I've always thought that children are supposed to better at learning new skills such as riding a bike or learning how to swim, but I've learned both those things in adulthood.

I went to Target and marveled at their bike selection. I don't even know how to tell which bikes are good and which are bad, but they all looked real sleek and sturdy. They were all basically variations on the same two wheels plus a steel frame theme, yet each one had its own character, and I could feel myself becoming attached to a bike that suited me. I really wish they came in more colors though. They were all either metallic blue or bright red.

I love how all the mechanism of a bike are exposed. With each pedal one can see the physics at work. Unlike cars which are designed to keep their clunky parts hidden, there is such simplicity to a bike's engineering that leaving its gears uncovered actually makes it more beautiful. The gears keep the bike looking grounded and gritty enough, yet the whole thing is so simple and straightforward that it never distracts from the cleanness of the frames. There is something I find somewhat disappointing about how a car works. All you do is step of the pedal and off you go. So much is lost in the transfer of energy from human to machine.

I really wanted a blue sporty looking bike, but didn't want to drop the dough until I shopped around some more. The bike in the top right picture is a $70, $90 with shipping, and according to the Target website, it has all the qualities I'd want. It "fits most adults" and has "thumb shifter for quick and easy selection of gears." Really though, I'd be happy with anything that will last me a few years. I was trying to think of whether or not I wanted a "cruiser" bike. One with broad handles that wrap around the sides and generally look more sophisticated. However, I think if I'm gonna get a bike, I'd want to dirty it up some, go on an adventure or two, so a sportier design would be best for that. I think the first thing I'll do when I get a bike is ride it to the ocean. I've always wanted to jog to the ocean, but I get too tired after about 2 miles, and it usually doesn't occur to me until about that far out that I still need job back. But I can't imagine biking to the ocean would be an unachievable goal.

Just to prove to myself that I'm serious about this whole bicycle thing, I bought myself a helmet today. It's difficult to tell just by looking at me, but I have a pretty large head. And I was expecting all the helmets to be too small. They were for the most part, until I found this blue one that was neither too loose nor too tight. It even has an adjustable strap in the back for all the odd-shaped heads of the world. After I found that out, I knew the helmet and I were meant for each other.

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