Several Saturdays ago my friend Julie and I decided we were going to go get a bike. We had been talking about this endeavor for many many months and finally decided to pull the trigger. We made the pilgrimage from Boston to Newton and found ourselves at Harris Cyclery.
Bikes were a plenty in this lovely gem of a store, and the staff seemed knowledgeable and friendly. We found ourselves test driving a plethora of bicycles in the parking lot out back which proved to be a little more dicey than we anticipated–those newton parking lot drivers can be fierce! Several test runs later, what we thought upon entering the store had transformed and become something very different. ( we thought we wanted beach cruisers, but soon discovered what we actually needed were city cruisers–beach cruisers have fatter tires and typically have no gears, just a simple coaster brake). Though I’m sure a beach cruiser would have been super fun to ride around town in Boston, but with the hills and the ups and the downs we learned that we needed a bike with gears in order to climb hills with ease–7 gears to be exact!
After trying out a Liv (the bike I thought I wanted to buy and had originally come in to test drive) –the female version of Giant and another type of bicycle which allowed you to stand without the pedals getting the in the way, we decided on a particular line of bikes called the Linus. Not only were these bikes the most comfortable, they also had the coolest and most aesthetic accessories. Because we all know that if you’re going to ride around on a bicycle it’s gotta look cool too. Some people love having a whole slew of colors to choose from, but Linus makes it easy by only giving you three choices. Cream, green or orange for this particular model: the Scout. I opted for cream because it seemed the most classic and also pretty gender-neutral which meant that my hubby might also one day take a spin on my bike. Actually, he has expressed many many times to me that he is adamantly against bike riding in the city, which I understand. But there’s nothing quite like riding on a bicycle and feeling the breeze in your hair on a beautiful sunny day down the Charles River. It kind of brings you back to your childhood–or in my case college-hood. The truth is, I haven’t ridden on a bicycle or owned one of my own for many many years. I lost my last bicycle in a break up, not on purpose but simply because I didn’t feel like schlepping back to New York to pick my bike up at my exes. Long story short, I’m very happy to be back on two wheels. I’ve also become more aware of bike lanes in the city and when there is a lack thereof. I’ve also been warned that car doors opening, and turning cars amongst other city obstacles can make bike riding a perilous venture yet there’s still something romantic that draws me to my bike–is it the cute Peterborough wicker basket that I can throw a bunch of freshly cut roses from Whole Foods Symphony in? (They have a very handy bike tool kit that is parked right next to an expansive bike rack if you’re ever in need of an Allen wrench or any other tool). Or is it the subtle sound of bumble bee clicking of the gears as you pedal? (I didn’t know this was the standard sound a bike made until this newbie asked the shop guy if the clicking noise I heard meant my new bike was broken?!–it wasn’t.) Or is it something as simple as the act of getting from one place to another with the power of your own two feet? Well for me it might just be the fun retro headlight and taillight fin that I added on, or even the customized north fork handlebar which allows me to sit very upright while riding. And the simple ding of the bell that came with the bike.
Photography: Russ Mezikofsky