Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: biking, Bunnyhop Bike Shop, Carytown, Richmond
I drank Mountain Dew at about midnight. Now I am just waiting for the caffiene to kick in or wear off.
Until then, I feel the need to document biking adventures for people who are considering investing in a bike. I’m new to the whole thing, too, so I’m just going to share my own experience. You can’t really take my word as The Word. But I’d be more than happy if you’d share tips or your own experiences with me! I’m currently obsessed with biking for many reasons, one of which being my lack of hunger for candy. Another of which being that waiting for the VCU Campus Connector bus really blows sometimes. I prefer to take the fate of my timeliness into my own hands.
I purchased my bike, named Ponyta for no apparent reason other than the fact that Virginia thought it was appropriate, at Bunnyhop Bike Shop on West Grace Street. Before I made my purchase, however, I checked out Re-cycles on West Cary Street and one other place on Main Street, near Carytown. I guess you could say that it’s on the way to Carytown. Since I’m easily intimidated, Bunnyhop was the place for me just because the staff guy was helpful, friendly, and also…they a bike in my price range, which I fell in love with right away because it was so cute.
Ponyta is a green AMF Voyager with a basket and a bell and the kind of brakes where you petal backwards. If you see her around, you should thread a note into the basket saying that I’m a sexy vegan because SOMEone did that last week, and I don’t know who it was, except that I’ve eliminated about five people. Secret anonymous notes have serious potential to make my day.
Anyway, I started by riding on the sidewalk, which is apparently illegal in Richmond, but I have ridden past the cops on my bike on the sidewalk about ten thousand times, and they’ve never done anything to prohibit me from this activity. If they did, then I think that would be very anal. They’re probably more worried about legitimate problems like muggings and maybe shoplifting. Plus, I saw a biking cop riding on the sidewalk. So I think it’s okay. But if you’ve ever walked on the sidewalk in Richmond, you’ll notice that they are very uneven, and the brick ones are extremely bumpy. This is not only fairly dangerous, but it also makes progress pretty slow and requires strict concentration if you want to get anywhere. It’s also common sense that if you want to maintain control of your bike while you’re going over any bikes, standing up briefly makes it far more tolerable.
For the record, my bike is a one-speed and I think it’s actually a kids’ bike. Because I am lamely kid-sized. But you know how gear bikes make clicking noises while you’re not pedaling? Well, my bike is silent except when I go over bumps, in which case, it sounds like a shopping cart. I think that’s why I have a bell, but I feel like an asshole ringing it at pedestrians. Hi, here’s a cheerfuck “Fuck You” and by the way, get out of my way. Pedestrians prefer if you ride in the street, and drivers prefer if you ride on the sidewalk. It is a no-win situation. For now, I ride generally ride on the sidewalk to get to main campus and I ride mostly in the street to get back to the other campus. To get to Carytown, it’s fine to ride in the street on Main. There’s enough room and it’s so much quicker that way.
I have rules of thumb regarding riding my bike between classes, too. If it is between ten till and o’clock, I walk my bike to my destination because the sidewalks are so crowded with students getting out of and going to classes that it’s hard to keep from hitting anyone. If it is any other time, then I can manage to ride. I just think it’s kind of a courtesy and a safety thing because lots of pedestrians are unaware. It’s a dick move to ride on the sidewalk with so many pedestrians. It’s like you’re breathing down their necks.
For me, I think pedestrians are so cute and predictable, so fragile that you need to look out for their slow selves. Drivers, though, are generally assholes to bikers, just as they are sometimes to pedestrians. In my little experience, I guess you just have to hold your ground if you have the right of way and if you’re riding in the street. When I’ve done that, I’ve had no problem. Lack of assertiveness has created problems, though. Drivers just need to respect that ground and not get impatient because really? It’s not going to make them any more late to have to be able to wait to pass a bike.
Also notable: I am gaining muscle pretty rapidly. First of all, my thighs, which normally have no substance, are gaining a little muscle and I can tell when I sit down and pedal because my pants are tighter right there. And for some reason, I am feeling my biceps building up probably not because of actual riding, but maybe because of lifting my bike on and off of bike racks and up and down curbs because I can’t hop. Ponyta herself is light, but she is heavy when I have my Deutschbuch and assorted notebooks and novels. The rest of my body seems to be very gradually evening out because with physical activity, I’m not so tempted to binge on candy and other unhealthy snacks. I haven’t bought Sour Patch Watermelons for so long. Instead, I regularly crave salad and cranberry juice and pasta. And biking makes me tired but gives me motivation to get off my ass and work to get food. I like this.
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