Yesterday morning I rode to work on an old three-speed Sears bike – complete with coaster brakes and upright handlebars (North Road bars). A few years ago I took in this bike from a girl moving away from Chicago; at the time I thought it would be the perfect beach bike and errand bike in the summer. However, due to difficulties carrying it upstairs to my apartment, the bike remained locked away in my storage unit until this past weekend. On Sunday I dug it out and my mechanic friend gave it some TLC and a thorough look-over. Yesterday I rode it to work to hand it off to a friend – her first bike!
This morning again I changed things up and rode the Abio folder that I’m reviewing.
These recent commutes to work in a more upright position got me thinking about just how I perceive my cyclin’ self when I’m riding these particular bikes versus another in my collection and how the motorists perceive me.
Most days I ride in on a rebuilt black Schwinn with bright pink tape on the bullhorn style handlebars. I prefer the riding position over classic drop bars. I feel like a force to be reckoned with when I’m riding “el toro” (as I’ve nicknamed that commuter), and feel like I need to go fast. But on this white classic cruiser and the Abio, it felt ok to be traveling a bit slower (though I really did make it to work quickly – maybe it’s a perceived slowness?). Yesterday the experience was akin to being a kid again riding my old banana seat bike with those coaster brakes. I didn’t feel like the hardened commuter anymore. Instead I felt like I’d rediscovered another side of cycling that brings me joy in a different way. I even showed off my joy when I arrived at work.
To the motorists, are all bikes and bikers equal? Do they view a cyclist on a cruiser differently than one on a singlespeed or a road bike? I know I felt like a different type of cyclist out there these past couple of days.