I thought I’d introduce you to an important member of my family. I never loved Boston more than when I started bike commuting from Jamaica Plain to Cambridge. Every weekday, I travel a little over twelve miles to and fro, more when I have evening activities (which is most evenings.)
Three years in, I’ve logged somewhere in the neighborhood of 5000 bike miles per year. Each winter, I find myself extending my season a little further because it hurts to be off the bike. Typically I’m not a jealous person but watching someone cycle past on a bright day, no matter how bitter cold or how bundled the rider, makes me yearn for my wheels.
Meet my rusty, trusty stead: a pink Raleigh mountain bike hybrid circa 1990s(?) Also known as:
- The bike
- My bike
- The $60 police auction special
- Heaviest bike on earth (not true, my Huffy was heavier)
- The tank
- The rickshaw
My “trunk” used to be a plastic milk crate, but I quickly outgrew that. Now I’ve a large set of bright yellow Ortlieb panniers. Unlike the bike, they’ve got actual names: Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. I named them in part because I have trouble with left and right. So Fred “rings and bell” and Ginger “turns on the light.”
This past fall, I got a death sentence for the bike: frame rot. Sadly, I know our days are numbered. In the meantime, I will continue to appreciate it as the best bike I’ve owned in my adult life, purchased from the first auction at which I hefted a number, hand trembling with anticipation when I won my “prize.” What a prize it has been.