I’ve had folding bike envy since Sam acquired her cute pink Brompton, and it got even fiercer when Kim joined the, well, fold with her sporty blue tern. She showed up to meet me for a play about a month ago, riding jauntily from union station after taking the GO downtown. She looked so spritely I immediately wanted one.
There’s something about a Not Serious bike that brings out the playful adventurer in me. Last week Facebook tossed up a memory of me riding a cute bike on a Caribbean holiday, wearing a bikini top and a pair of shorts, eating a red twizzler, no helmet. I look delighted with the world.
As even a casual reader of this blog may know, I already have four perfect amazing bikes: a baby blue vintage CCM from the 70s with a flowery basket; my excellent and reliable commuter Opus; my beloved Specialized road bike; and my recent acquisition, the indomitable Bombtrack that took me through Newfoundland and across Lithuania this summer. Let’s be clear: I did not need another bike. But the part of me that yearns to be that bare headed, flip flopped woman eating a twizzler by the ocean needed a bike that would evoke that feeling.
So I did a little research and discovered that Tern makes a relatively affordable bike with 20 inch wheels that fits into a rolling case with minimal disassembly. In a fit of impulsivity, I bought it.
I had a work trip to Vancouver coming up, and I needed a little bit of time on the bike, on the sea wall. I’ve been a bit worn to a frazzle lately. I’m in that paradoxical place where my life is great but I am just overwhelmed,with too much on my plate. Usually I am good at juggling time, slipping things in at the last minute but with a certain amount of grace, but the time/ space continuum has been a bit unbendy of late. I needed to breathe. So bringing the bike to Vancouver for the half day I had off felt like an adventure.
Of course it’s never as easy as it looks — the nice rolling bag is out of stock, and I ended up needing to pack the bike in its shipping box. And when I arrived at my air bnb, I was greeted with a strict rule of no bikes in the elevators. (Also no pets in the whole building, ever! Who are these soulless beings who hate bikes and cats? And, apparently, firefighter? In a city with a transit disruption and no Uber or Lyft? But I digress).
I charmed my way into my place, and did the minor reassembly I needed to do (basically I had to take the front wheel off, deflate the tires and do some folding), and then brazenly took it down in the elevator. (So shiny and pretty! I hated that it made me eye people with suspicion in case they would follow me and yell at me).
I rode through the busy streets and around the sea wall in Stanley park, a pilgrimage I have to do every time I come here. Things just become clear, here. It’s where my soul is nested.
There was a detour around prospect point and I ended up pushing the bike up a steep switch backed hill, and ended up on the trail beside the road for a while. I learned about the bike’s brakes on a downhill, and I found myself again.
I rode the wrong way back around to the beach where the buffleheads, the ducks of my soul, congregate. I remembered what oxygen feels like.
Basically, it was a micro holiday. I rode around the park, and then later through the sad landscape of the downtown east side, and found the perfect trattoria a friend sent me to. A date with some amazing handmade ravioli and a novel, just me and my bike.
When I woke up, there was more work related email hell. But the microholiday reminded me that I can keep pedalling, to keep looking around the next curve.
What kind of microholidays feed your soul?