The problem is that my little brother has the bike that used to be mine. So, I took the bike that used to be my older brother's. Or maybe it was my older brother's brother's. But now it's my mom's. In a way it sounds cool. It's a Gary Fisher, so it's pretty nice. Definitely better than a Magna. And could even be seen as an upgrade from my Schwinn that my little brother now rides. BUT, it's a mountain bike. It's got those super fat nobby tires and shocks. Also, it's got pedals with clips. So, when I'm out riding about my town, I look like I'm trying way too hard. Even if it were a really nice road bike at least it would be a road bike. I might look a little pretentious, but I'd look properly--if overly--equipped. Instead I just look like I have no idea what I'm doing. Oh, another important detail about this bike and the image that goes with it. Being as it's my mother's bike it's got one of those big, wide bike seats. You know the kind that, well--sorry mom--old people use. Also, until I get a little piece fixed, I can't raise the seat, so it's set all the way down.
Remember when it was cool to ride your little bmx low-rider bike around the hood with your knees nearly hitting you in the chin? I don't either, but I'm pretty sure I saw that in some rap videos and also perhaps in Friday or maybe Boyz in the Hood.
You know, like this:
So, imagine me like that, except without the wicked beat and fun lyrics. Oh, and instead of pegs I've got an old lady seat and instead of mag wheels or hundred spokes I've got useless shocks and off-road tires. But, I persevered. I rode down to the park and did a few laps and pedaled around my neighborhood.
Riding gave me a bit of time to think. After my initial trepidation, I thought, "I'm glad most of the people in the park are Indian." Why? Well, I realized I'm less worried about looking silly if I'm looking silly in front of people from another country. If a local guy seems me riding my stupid looking bike he thinks, "That guy has a stupid bike." And then he decides to shout sarcastically from his pick up "Hey, nice bike." However, if an Indian guy seems me, he thinks, "Americans ride stupid bikes." It's no longer my personal stupidity, it is the stupidity and strangeness of all my fellow countrymen. I can't help it that my bike looks dumb to someone born in India, it's a cultural thing. That's how I think about it at least.
I had other thoughts, too. Like "Hey, look at that bunny," and "Is that my cat there in some other person's lawn?" and, "look, another bunny. They're just so cute." Then, riding down another street I thought, "Hey goth girl, why are you walking in the middle of the street? And why is the strap on your purse-type-thing broken?" Then, as I got closer and passed her by, "Why are you walking down this dirty street with your Converse Chuck Taylor All-Stars in your hand instead of on your feet?" At which point I got thinking about the awesomeness of Chuck Taylor, and cycle of popularity of his shoes--the first ever "signature" shoes--but I won't bother you with all the details.
When I got back home, I did something I do almost every time I ride for some reason. When I was within a few yards, I swung my right leg off the bike and behind my left foot as i stood on the left pedal. Then coasted in, standing on one pedal. I don't know why I do this, and actually feel kind of dumb when I do. Like I'm trying way to hard to be smooth. It seems like something that Larry from Perfect Strangers would do. Or maybe someone in a gum commercial. Perhaps as he's approaching the Doublemint twins who are standing next to their tandem bike. Roll up on one pedal, hope off the bike just before it stops, put down the kickstand. Then, with a big, chewing gum-whitened smile flashing, pull off his bike helmet and run his fingers through his blonde hair.