Friday, May 16, 2008

Millions of Peaches, But Just One Peaches For Me

My very first bicycle was called a Cactus Rose, and I remember thinking it was so beautiful. Banana seat, streamers on the handlebars, plastic basket featuring plastic flowers on the front. It had one speed, and to brake you simply had to push backwards on the pedals. I loved that bike until I got old enough to determine that I needed a three-speed, which was followed by my assertion that the only way to be cool was to have a ten-speed, which was followed by my absolute delight that the bicycle we found at Sears Surplus was a twelve-speed. Like, NO WAY. Nobody had more than a ten-speed, and I got a twelve. I thought I was pretty much The Jamz.

Today's kids are no different. In the beginning, it's all about the decoration on the bike. Jack's first big kid bike featured flames, and Mary Liz is pleased as punch with hers because it has a basket and the word TAFFY painted (more than once!) on the purple frame. Jack has since moved up to bigger bikes as he has gotten bigger (good grief, that kid is tall), and now it's all about gears and how many, just like I remember it.

My Peugeot bike, the one I've been riding for years now as an adult, brilliant teal with a Mixte frame, had ten gears, at least as far as I could tell. I didn't really pay attention because honestly? I always left it in the same gear. That one gear worked really well, so why would I switch? In fact, that one bike, though it was between thirty-five and forty years old, worked really well, so why would I switch? There seemed to be a little something wrong with it, what with the occasional clanking and the chain randomly falling off a little bit, but I figured it could be fixed. My plan was to get it fixed, have some new brakes put on, and keep on riding.

So yesterday I took the bike into our new local bike shop to have it looked over. The clanking had become a little more pronounced, and in fact the bike barely worked on the uphill, so I figured it was time to get it taken care of. The shop owner looked it over and shook his head. The diagnosis was not good. Terrible tires (still the originals! after all this time!), marginal brakes, completely destroyed derailleur. Bits of the bike were simply missing. It would cost nearly as much to fix the bike as to get a new one. As much as I loved that old bike, I decided that it might be a good time for some test rides on newer models. I tried out two--one with three speeds, that was brown, and one with one speed, in shiny peach. I was drawn to the peach not for any practical reason but simply because it was prettier. I rode both, and laughed at myself a little bit for even trying out the three-speed. Who did I think I was, anyway? A girl that ever in her life changed gears?

And so it happened that the pretty bike won the contest and came home with me. She's spectacular. I have named her Peaches Gingersnap McBride, a name that met with the approval of my young charges and the kids down the street, as did the bike itself. She's a cruiser, with a nice, comfy seat and handlebars spaced wide so I can sit up straight when I ride. I plan to get a basket for her front and a rack for her back so she can carry groceries home in style.

my new bike looks just like this

There's just one question left to be settled, and perhaps you can help me out with this. Do you think she needs handlebar streamers, or would that just be too much?


Jennifer said...

And if you ask why, my question HONEstly is, why NOT???

k-stin said...

Definitely streamers! It is a beautiful bike and I would have bought it for the looks also. Love the name!

Jennifer said...

oh, and I never even knew how or why to change gears on my 10 speed. It always rolled just fine without them. I too, would go back to a perfectly simple thing like I started with in grade school. I love Peaches. Good choice. (but she could wear streamers when going to a party.)
oh, and Niamh will be a year next week. That is messed up.

markbe said...

The bike shop didn't have a good basket/bag for your bars. Not good enough for me anyway, and i assume therefore not good enough for you. Maybe you could give me some grammar help on that last sentence anyway, haha.