we don’t see so much lawn round here. concrete? yes. lawn? no.

I found this article via B who’s attention was caught by the article’s argument that walking 1-3 hours a week improved women’s breast cancer survival rate by 50%, but more specifically, B was interested in the (less excellent) results of chemotherapy. Go to B’s blog and read her discussion there.
But my attention was caught not only by this article (which I traced back to the full academic article), but by the zillions of others which were, essentially, saying nothing more than ‘if you get some exercise, you won’t die or get sick’. It worries me so much that we have come to the point where we must beg people to walk just 1-3 hours a day so they don’t die or get ill. I mean, 1-3 hours, what’s that?
– walking half an hour every day. That might mean (as I do), choosing to walk to a further-away bus stop in the morning (let alone the afternoon!)
– saying to your partner “let’s walk to the video shop to return this DVD – it’s only 15minutes each way” and then doing it, and holding hands while you tell each other about your day
– walking to the park to look at the soccer doods running about. Or to watch the cricketers doing… whatever it is that actually happens in cricket. Manipulating those odds, I guess.
– walking about in a shopping center, aimlessly without buying anything. Or walking up the road to look at the awesome easter lights in the neighbourhood.
I know it sounds insane, but for many people, driving a car means not doing these little things. They drive to the video shop. They drive to the supermarket. They drive to the ice cream shop. They drive everywhere, even if it’s only a 10 minute bike ride or a 20 minute walk, just because they have a car. And because they think of walking as something you get in a car to go do in a park. Or are too unfit to find any pleasure in.
I know I’m lucky enough to live in a walk-friendly suburb, but riding my bike around (horrible) Reservoir, I’ve noticed far fewer pedestrians. Brunswick has a lot of nannas – and you see them wandering around the neighbourhood. In Reservoir, at what would be prime-wandering time? Nothing. I don’t know if it’s a cultural thing, or because people are busy hiding in their houses, or perhaps a bit frightened of being exposed out there on those huge expanses of lawn*, but really. What are they doing in there?
Since I’ve stopped having a car (ie, since I moved to Melbourne, six years ago), and since I discovered that having a nice bike encourages you to ride about, I’ve noticed that the way I think about my neighbourhood, the way I think about getting to places has changed. I found those first few weeks of teaching so tiring because I was just getting on the bus, then getting off – I wasn’t doing enough exercise. But since I decided to start the whole ‘walk half an hour to the bus rather than 15 minutes’ thing, and the ‘ride your bike to the train, then train, then ride to the uni and then vice versa on the way home’ thing, I’ve had so much more energy, and I feel so much better.
I’m hardly a super athelete cyclist. I ride very slowly, I’m afraid of hills (though FUCK you should have SEEN ME TODAY!!!! I flew up that Melville Road hill that dips down to the Merri Creek! I was AMAZING!), I don’t like to spend more than an hour on the bike at any one time (actually, half an hour’s about where I draw the line these days), I have no interest in developing any training routine or any of that bullshit.
I just toodle along on the thing. That is how I get around my neighbourhood – I ride to the shops to do the groceries (and lug the bastards home), I ride to the city to go dancing, or to see a film, or to go to the dentist, I ride to the GP (though riding home + pap smear = not great fun), to the pub, to get ice cream at 10pm on a warm spring night.
And it’s enough – think of all those lovely hormones being stimulated (that seems to be the crux of the breast cancer thing – you’re more likely to benefit if your breast cancer is hormone respondant; type 2 diabetes is directly related to not getting enough exercise, and insulin is a hormone, as we all know). Not to mention the way it triggers those sweet, sweet endorphines. I might be covered in sweat, with aching legs, a runny nose and coughing up a gut, but dang I feel good when I get to the university in the morning!
So, really, there’s no point to this post other than to point out how sad it is that we have to push people to do so little exercise. We’re not saying ‘join a gym and WORK IT’, we’re saying ‘go have a nice wander round your neighbourhood to steal lemons from the alley one street up’ or ‘take half an hour to hold hands with someone you love in the outdoors’ or ‘take that silly argument about which Buffy episode is best to the streets’. When you build that bit of exercise into your life – when you do the extra bit of walking to the tram, or leave the car at home when you go to get ice cream after dinner – you make so great a difference to your health that it would mean living or dying to someone with breast cancer. Imagine that – so little effort for such an amazing effect!
And we haven’t even talked environmental benefits yet!
But I cannot over-emphasise how important riding a bike is to my lifestyle. That’s how I get to the pub on Saturday. That’s how I get to the city to go dancing. That’s how I (now – yay!) get to the university (in part). That’s how I get to the shops to do my grocery shopping. And I’m not a super athlete – I am a little, round person who gets very pink, sweats a lot and is a bit afraid of large trucks. Imagine if you were a super athlete!
Imagine if we all rode our bikes to work every single day! Or even just to the train station!
… and have I mentioned how wonderful it is to have a shouty conversation while riding a bike home from the cinema? It’s the best.
*I live in Brunswick, ok? We don’t see so much lawn round here. Concrete? Yes. Lawn? No.

round up

I have about 45 minutes before I have to leave for apppointment #2 with the dentist, and I’m surprisingly unscared. I slept like a baby, weighted down by a million blankets because we’ve gone from 30-odd degrees during the day to having to wear fleecy pajamas at night in the space of 24 hours. Ah, Melbourne. But if I continue to write about it, I’m sure I’ll start getting scared.
I spent a very productive weekend, after a week of incredibly poor teaching on my part. Having the surprise root canal on Monday made for interesting lecturing on Tuesday, what with my numb lips and tongue and post traumatic stress syndrome. Tutoring Wednesday, Thursday and Friday was equally ordinary, though Wednesday was spectacularly bad. Thursday was ok, and by Friday I was back to being tired and an ordinary teacher. A run in with a particularly difficult student did not help (thank you for those public, in-class accusations of incompetency. And enjoy your future marks*).
This week, though, I did ride into the university, using a combination of bike (15minutes on a terrifying road to Northcote station), train (10 minutes in blessed airconditioning), 20minutes riding the terrifying streets of Reservoir (say ‘res-ev-or’ not ‘res-ev-oir’) and then a delicious 5 minutes swoop downhill through the uni. I tried riding back that way, but was frightened by the traffic (dang, those suburban types are completely un-bike-aware. And terrifying).
I also tried riding through the university to the next train line over, to Macleod station, which was a very lovely ride. Except for the bit where I got lost about 5 times and had to ask for directions at least 3 times. But even that wasn’t so bad – it was a lovely day, I love my bike, and I was having a lovely time in our quite lovely campus (which is very bushy and has lots of wild life, including some bulllying magpies). But I got to zoom down a very very steep hill, through very lovely tree-ey suburban streets (they have GIANT eucalypts out there). And then I caught the train in to the city. It was zone 2, but I dealt with that.
So, riding to work: great fun. But good for sweat-making, which isn’t so cool when you forget to bring a change of clothes and have to squash into an overcrowded tutorial room with a bunch of fairly prissy teenagers (unlike dancers, who really don’t mind about sweat at all).
It’s also a nice option because I’ve discovered that catching the Macleod line train to Westgarth rocks, because the Westgarth cinema (here is a link to the site, but because it uses frames you’ll have to click away til you find the Westgarth, but you can read about it on wikipedia as well) has reopened. Admittedly, now owned by a megacinema group (oh, how I miss the insane amount of independent cinemas in Brisvegas), but still quite stunningly beautiful inside and out. So I will be dropping in there to see fillums quite regularly I think (especially as it’s about a 15/20 minute bike ride from our house (about the same on the bus), where you ride along the Merri Creek bike path, which winds along the Merri Creek**. Could there be a more perfect way to spend an afternoon?
On a like note, we saw A Prairie Home Companion last week at the Kino, and we LOVED IT. It’s just like the Muppets, but with bluegrass/country music. Same sight gags, though.
MLX6 planning continues, and I finally had a chance to get all caught up and up to date with my responsibilities this weekend (I do long for a whole 2 days in a row where I can just sit about and do nothing, or do things like ride to the Westgarth for a fillum). It is looking scarily huge, with a crazy amount of internationals and interstaters booked in. I hope our venues are big enough.
Brian has continued with another podcast (Fat Lotta Radio, fyi), to which you can subscribe by popping this url: http://mlx6.com/index.xml into your itunes or podcast reader. This is the sort of thing that makes MLX so much fun.
…ok, I have to ping ding, chicken wings – got some stuff to do. Think of me at about 11am, will you?
*That was a joke. I have of course handed over this student’s marking to course coordinator.
**Which locals think is great, but if you are from one of those lovely cities with lots of stunning parks and greenery (eg the Brisvegas river-side rides), this will look kind of lame. But you know, when you live in concrete-land, you don’t sniff at a bit of green.

i ain’t no retro-chic stooge

Telling Dave the story of my ride into town earlier that evening:
“So I was burning down Sydney Rd, and I overtook some stooge on a BMX who wasn’t wearing a helmet.”
“Yeah – I totally scorched him. Then a few metres later I’m slowing down past Royal Park to take off my jumper and he burns past me, spinning his tits off on his little one-speeder. Suddenly, ‘BAM!’ he busts a crank or something! And he has to pull over because his bike is busted”
“Yeah – that’ll teach him to take me on with a little retro-chic on/off BMX.”
“Sure – so you’re telling me you pushed him to the point of destruction?”
“That’s what I’m saying.”

literary and cycling inadequacy

…who would have thought?
I’ve come across a couple of interesting blogs lately – Hobgoblin and books and bikes (whose name I don’t know). I’m especially interested in the last one for that post (which is all I’ve read so far, but you know, blogging, no rush, no ‘finishing’ issues).
Both of these are blogs by people who love books and love bikes. In fact, the latter has this tagline:

“Reading, almost as much as breathing, is our essential function.” Alberto Manguel

Which makes her alright by me. Because I love books a lot, and I also love bikes (bikes of course being eminently conducive to the breathing Manguel mentions). I also enjoy these blogs (so far – they’re just new to me), and I really like their approaches to the life of the mind and the life of the body – being in the body and in the mind.
But they’ve made me think about a couple of things that I’ve had going on for a while in the back of my brain.
Having pointed you to some interesting blogs, perhaps I should discuss my own feelings of literary and cycling inadequacy. And perhaps get all defensive about it.
1. I am a slow bike rider. Nor do I ride very far, or enter any races. I am quite happy riding for 30 – 45 minutes on regular commutes every day. I go for the odd pleasure ride (though not often). I do not train, I do not compete (what would be the point when you’re as slow/unfit/lacking competitive nature as I am?). I like to sing as I ride (everyone has a bike song – it’s just that not all of them make it to the outside of us). I like to stare at stuff as I ride along, swivelling my head like a magpie watching school kids in spring. And I’m quite happy to stop and chat with strangers. I also follow the rules and wear the daggiest safety gear imaginable*.
2. I read, almost exclusively, science fiction and fantasy. I can’t remember the last time I read anything else. No, wait, I can – I’ve read pretty much every Alexander McCall Smith book. But that hardly wins me any literary cred. I only read well-written and well-informed sf. I don’t like books which think they’re pulling out some new trick but are really trotting out the same old post-apocalyptic axe-weilding tribe shtick, or irritating lone-warrior-with-magic-sword-in-fantastic-realm blabber. I will, however, tolerate these sorts of stories if they’re pulling a bit of a variation on a theme. Exercising some sort of self-reflexivity comment-on-genre stunt. So I guess I’m saying that I like sf where the author is not only well-read in the genre themselves, but also clever enough to avoid being too uncritically derivative. I also prefer female authors.
Or are these feelings of inadequacy?
I do actually love this stuff – I really enjoy reading sf. I read a lot of other, far more impenetrable stuff for work. This is fun stuff. I mean, I read all day every day when I’m working. So I like to change gears for fun reading. I really enjoy the way sf takes ordinary people (ie people we can relate to, no matter their physical appearance or abilities) and experiments with extraordinary places and situations. At the end of the day, though, the stuff that keeps me with a book to the very last pages are an excellent grasp of interpersonal and international or intergalactic (or interwhatever) politics and relationships, coupled with a neat plot and great writing.
On the bike front, I am as equally committed to riding for pleasure. I definitely have nothing to prove. And I really, really like the feeling of accomplishment and self-worth I get from achieving my small goals – riding in to dance and then home again each week. Not using public transport or a car unless I have to (thus opting out of environmental and economic stoogesville). Getting out and interacting with the people and places around me rather than getting into a bubble and wafting through the world to wherever I’m going.
I mean, I only have these inadequacy issues when I read about or speak to other people who ride faster/harder/further or reader longer/harder/smarter books than I do. Mostly I’m just happy toodling along on my bike (ain’t no race here, thanks), and I simply couldn’t imagine not reading at least 2 or 3 hours every day just for fun – that means books that are ‘easy’ to read (though I do insist on ‘well-written’, not only to facilitate the ease, but also up the pleasure).
I guess I don’t really have anything to say that a bunch of cultural studies doods haven’t said already re everday life and everyday (pop) culture, or that a bunch of feminists haven’t said re economic and social and physical independence, but still. Inside me, there’s still a worry that I’m not clever enough (and reading Serious Books will help that) or fit/fast/strong enough (and riding Seriously will help that). I guess that’s nothing new – most of us have these vaguely self-esteem related issues going on whenever we get involved in things and then compare ourselves to others. Maybe that’s why I enjoy yoga so much – comparing yourself to others is completely and utterly fruitless, let alone a deviation from the whole point of the thing.
*I do so love being in my 30s. I couldn’t give a sweet good goddamn any more about stuff that seemed to saturate my 20s: I stare as much as I can at everyone and everything that catches my interest, I couldn’t care less about whether or not people find me attractive (sexually or otherwise), I’ve completely lost interest in popular fashion – mainstream or otherwise (and it’s interesting that making my own clothes prompted this – once you stop pounding away on the consumption-of-goods train, it seems you’re a little free-er of consumption-of-other-ideologies thing as well).
It just feels so good. Except for when I’m reminded of this stuff by other people who are caring about whether they have the coolest clothes or are hanging with the coolest people or whether people are staring at them.**
…though I guess you could say that I’ve substituted a whole other bunch of anxieties, right?
**it’s probably me staring at them. Unashamedly. And if we make eye contact, I will smile and probably say hello.

yes, i was on drugs

I’m not sure if you all know this, but I ride to the city every Thursday night. I pack my lappy up in my crumpler backpack (red of course), slip on my lovely day-glo cycling jacket and pedal into town, somewhere between 6 and 8, depending on whether I’m DJing, and which shift I’m doing. In summer, this is one sweet trip. In winter… well, it’s dark, it’s cold, you can see the pollution (which is disturbing) and I have to wear gloves. I usually have to stop just as I get to Royal Parade so I can take off a layer.
But I like it. I can sing really loudly on the way home (at around midnight), I like the way the fog makes everything kind of soft and quiet. I see lots of interesting things (usually roadworks, but last night it was a pile of vomit halfway between the pub and the colleges at the university, but then a bat flew past at helmet height, so it was ok). And I’m safer than I am when I catch the tram (I hate waiting at the fairly-isolated stop in the city).
So it’s all good. Even though I’m usually pretty tired and sweaty after dancing for hours. But so long as I don’t let my heart rate drop too low between dancing and riding home, I’m ok.
Last night, as I rode home at about 11.30 (earlier than usual), dodging vomit and bats, trying not to wipe too much snot on my gloves and singing loudly (something about banana splits I think. I blame Louis Prima and a momentary lapse of judgement while DJing), I thought ‘this is great. I’m lucky. I love my bike.’ When I got home, though, I’d stiffened up in the cold and post-yoga, post-dancing aftermath and could barely get off my bike to open the garage. Then I could barely get the keys into the lock because my fingers were so cold. It was 6degrees, but it gets colder with windchill on the bike. When I got into the shower it felt like I was scalding myself with luke-warm water, I was so cold. But only on my cheeks, ears, the front of my thighs, my forearms and my shins.
But I was still cheery – all that dancing and pedalling and wind chill had exorcised my grumpiness of the earlier evening – and the endorphines. Well, yes. I guess I was on drugs, albeit natural ones.

perhaps the most useless site ever…

cyclovia will be on the 28th of May in the ‘wick. Now, I already consider Sydney Road my own private cyclovia, but it seems the pedders are getting into the action on that day.
the deal: I know, it only tells you what a stupid cyclovia is below the crease, but still. Just cause you can ride a bike, don’t mean you got basic internet skills. ha!
basically, they close the road off to cars for 6 hours between Moreland and Brunswick Rds. Sounds like Sydney Rd Festival without the stalls (although…. if I know Brunswick, there’ll be stalls galore). Also sounds a bit like a bit PR stunt for the local MPs. The cyclovia thing does have international precedents, though, and I should perhaps be more positive about this.
Anyhoo, sounds good if you live nearby. But I’m interested in the local residents’ responses…

no capes!

Riding in to town the other day I passed a goth chick in full ensemble who reminded me why the no capes rule for superheroes is as applicable for cyclists. Floor length velvet or no.


I know, I know, I’ve not been around much any more. But I can’t help it! I’ve been editing like a crazy editing fool, and then I move from the computer to the bike to ride off to yoga or into the city or wherever the fuck I want to go – because I can ride my bike as fast as the wind, certainly faster than Commonwealth Games stalled traffic. And it’s much easier for me to get onto my bike than it is for a cranky commuter to get onto a tram these days as well (PT users city-wide are ‘amused’ by the little notes at the tram stop: avoid using trams during peak periods. Nice one – two thumbs).
Though I am worried about the disappearing bike lanes. Melbournians will be familiar with the Games Lanes marked in blue on on CBD streets. Not so many will have noticed the way several key bike lanes (a few-block section on Swanston Street, all of Queensberry Street) have completely disappeared. I’m paranoid – really worried – that they won’t come back after the games have finished. But this hasn’t stopped me speeding into town or off to Brunswick Street or to the cinema. 20 minutes to town (official time down 10minutes on previous personal best). Still 20 minutes to Carlton, but surely that’s a timing error? Yoga, however, is down to 10 minutes.
I am truly In Love with Blacky. Though its first service seems in order… how could we bare to be parted?
On other fronts, I’ve DJed no less than four times in the past three weeks. It seems there’s a bit of a DJ drought in Melbourne atm. My skills have necessarily taken a serious up-turn and I’m sure the groupies are moments away. They are no doubt waiting for a tram somewhere on Swanston Street.

every girl needs a bike

Galaxy has been reading Life of Pi. I’m reading Judas Unchained by Peter F. Hamilton. It’s monstrously huge, and full of complicated politics which I’m having trouble remembering from Pandora’s Star. Oh well. I have some issues with his gender politics at times, but I do love the galaxy-spanning intrigue…
oh wait… back to the other thing I was writing about…
So, Galaxy’s reading Life of Pi:

I didn’t agree with Pi’s stance on agnosticism:

It is not atheists who get stuck in my craw, but agnostics. Doubt is useful for a while. We must all pass through the garden of Gesthamane. If Christ played with doubt, so must we. … But we must move on. To choose doubt as a philosophy of life is akin to choosing immobility as a means of transportation.

Perhaps the … quote explains why I walk; and I suppose that public transport could sometimes be described as immobile. I wouldn’t, however, characterise doubt as static. I think doubt is the opposite of stasis. Doubt is a state of never arriving; surely it’s resting after the arrival at an imagined certainty that produces inactivity?

I’m agreeing with these points – the bit about pt as immobile and resting in/with/after certainty as producing inactivity.
… although, on the latter point, I’d probably like to note that certainty can be galvanising. I’m never more productive than when I’ve arrived at a plan and am set to work on it. And sometimes, doubt can be paralysing: maybe it’s selfdoubt that the paralysing force, though? There’s nothing more likely to make me hesitate than a crisis of selfdoubt or indecision. Do, don’t, do, don’t: I’m far more likely to do if I haven’t paused to panic over a particular thought, over and over again in that sort of heart-pounding anxiety that makes you worry you’re going to gag on your own pulse.
Ok, but back to the pt point. But I’m going to wander off, on a tangent, really, rather than addressing the serious question in Galaxy’s post, or seeking out Pi to test the source.
I’m not so much a walker as a bike rider, and I know the greatest appeal for bike riding is the independence. I know when I’ll get somewhere, and how, and I get no end of satisfaction from being fit enough and physically coordinated enough to get from one place to another in the inner city without getting killed or dying of exhaustion. For me, getting myself about – being master of my own mobility – is exhilarating and energising. It’s independence as empowerment, and the empowerment of knowing exactly what you’re physically capable of. The same sort of thrill I get from doing something difficult at yoga (usually upside down and involving ropes), the sort of thrill I get from a stream of useful and clever thought (sigh – I need that now, mid-chapter), the sort of thrill that is the greatest motivating and mobilising force I know.
There is no greater inertia than that being satisified that you couldn’t do something, or that you don’t care that you don’t know whether you could do something or not.
Sitting on a tram, at the mercy of traffic and power outages and rampaging ticket collectors, there’s no way to prove that I could opt out of various physical and economic limitations. I know there are folks who feel that fare evasion is tactical resistance and all, but – personally – I think it’s far more exhilarating to zip past a halted tram on the downhill slope of Swanston Street, feeling like I’m going a million miles an hour, muscles quivering in that really working way, riding my endorphines and not prefacing every journey in terms of conflict or resistance. In this way simply choosing another way to get around is exciting and stimulating, but also productive and valuable.
For me, to ride my bike (or to walk, though riding is more exciting – more endorphines, greater speed, the thrill of mechanical skill and mastery, etc etc etc) is to choose to find out what I am physically capable of. I’ve always thought that girls wearing skirts for their school uniform functioned as a limitation on their physical (and social?) activity. In choosing to ride my bike, I also choose to sacrifice impractical fashion for pragmatic trousers or shorts, sensible necklines, resilient hairstyles, tough and comfortable shoes, limited jewellry and so on.
And not having to concern myself with challenges to my modesty that a skirt on a bike offer, or the ridiculousness of heeled shoes on pedals frees me to enjoy the experience, to take satisfaction in my independence, to take pride in my abilities, and to seek out further physical challenges. To see just what I am capable of in my body, and on my own terms.
I wonder, though, if physical ability is really another way of talking about physical control as a way of gaining social control – of the self, in the case of women? I know that eating disorders are read by many therapists as a means by which young men and women gain control of their lives, symbolically. Exercise, likewise.
I think the key point there, however, is when choosing physical control becomes and obession and ultimately adversely affects further rights to choose and to be independent: damaging health to the point of illness or death; damaging a social or cultural life to the point of isolation and loneliness.
I don’t doubt that my riding a bike is a manifestation of my feminist sensitivities. Every girl needs a bike?

really fast

I’m full of surprises. Oh yes, I’m whiley. Full of whiles.
Yesterday we found The Complete Decca Studio Recordings or Louis Armstrong and the All Stars. And I love it. All 6 discs of it. I know I may seem like I’m 100% old skool swinging big band jazz, but I’m not. I also like groovy, slinky crap from the 1950s. And just you wait – once I’m through with Satch I’m getting into the Nat King Cole set the Squeeze got a while ago. And I will totally go all ballad on yo ass.

woah. That was some scary shit. Guess who’s been reading far too many witty american ‘professional’ blogs? Me, me, me, me mememememememe!
Yes, home alone, a chocolate brownie disseminating sugary goodness into my stimulant-susceptible me.
Today was my second day out of the house! No, wait, third:
Day 1: into the city, saw King Kong (it fucking rraaaaaawwwwwwwked! yeah! 10 out of 10 kongs! yeah!), bought some presents, got tired. Ate Nandos for lunch. Don’t ask me why. Oh, go on then. It’s because of the salad. They’re about the only place near the Hoyts at Melbourne Central that sells nice salad. And I’m all about salad at the moment. Salad and meat. I think I’m blaming yoga.
Day 2: rode bike to shop for lunch things. Bought two outside chairs ($10 each) that fit into a bag I could sling over my shoulder. So I did. I slung them both over my shoulder and rode home with all my shopping. And got rained on. And got seriously snotty and shitty, discovering I probably wasn’t up to that much slinging and riding. Later, after fit of pique (or perhaps just a case of the shitty pants) and a lie down, I went back to the shops with the Squeeze for more groceries. Bought attractive parrot-shaped arnotts biscuit tin. Would post photo but amn’t that nerdy a blogger yet (but just you wait – nothing has contributed so much the collation of useless detritus in public discourse as flickr. And I’m all about contributing).
Day 3: rode bike to bike shop to test drive and possibly purchase new bike. A little tired and tres snotty, I waited while imbecilic shop boy failed to find bike I’d asked be made up for me to test drive (and purchase) last week, and also rung to confirm again later that week. No luck. Another fit of pique, or perhaps just another case of the shitty pants, and I flounce out (as much as one can when blowing one’s nose in a full hanky and dodging children in the grip of a new-bike-for-Christmas frenzy).
More presents purchased.
And a lovely trip to bike shop #2 later, and I’m cheering. While Strange Man did try to sell me a $725 bike when I had already made it clear that $600 was my limit with what I felt was as suitably unambiguous a statement as was necessary (given the circumstances): “I’m poor, so I can only afford to spend $600,” I left him with the request that he make up a street bike for me to rest drive (and possibly purchase) on Wednesday.
Yes, yes, I do realise that hauling all my shopping around on a delicate (yet so pleasingly light and speedy) road bike will probably bust a spoke or ten, and produce multiple punctures, but fuck. I want it. And I want it light. And we’re not trading in old Greeny, so I can keep old Greeny for shopping.
What is wrong with these bike shop fuckers? I’m so totally buying a new bike. But I’m so not going to buy one without a test drive. I know it’s goddamn Christmas rush for bikes, but fuck. I’m a local, a serious biker, and I’m absolutely going to be back for services, add-ons and all that repeat-service shit. So SERVE me!
Anyhoo, I have hopes for the guy at bike shop #2, despite The Squeeze’s declaration that he’s weird (as well as The Squeeze’s subsequent refusal to shop there, despite its proximity and superior work, superior to bike shop #3 anyways). I mean, geez, Strange Man recognised the value of old Greeny (despite his refusal to take a malvern star in trade for some slick new young gun bike), declaring Greeny a ‘workhorse’, while also noting that my new young gun bike will be my bike for really riding fast.
I like it that the man appreciated the value of old Greeny (workhorse = the best way to win this horsey-girl’s heart), as well as also pandering to my (obviously) somewhat misplaced faith in my own declaration that I am a Serious Bike Person, as well as to the thought that I may at some point ride really fast.*
So I’m so going back to bike shop #2 on Wednesday to test drive (and possibly buy) the new young gun bike.
And FUCK I’m going to ride home fast. Really fast.
*I know that I will. Once I’m on my young gun bike. Old Greeny is, as has been mentioned, a workhorse. New young gun will be more of a thoroughbred, and consequently far more appropriate for riding fast. Or even really fast.