the morning breeze
2006-06-29 @ 8:03 a.m.
I rode my bike to work this morning in a skirt and slingback heels.
I'm also wearing red lipstick.
I cruise along on the violet Schwinn Breeze, on the sidewalk against traffic because it's the side less traveled, and while I prefer to bike in the street, it's rush hour, and there are many vehicles that cruise down 2nd Street, MY STREET, as if they were on the freeway.
I like to bellow out occasionally as they pass me "30 MILES PER HOUR MOTHERFUCKER!" because it makes me feel dainty.
So I ride facing traffic on the sidewalk until I am nearly all the way to work (my leisurely 1.5 mile ride doesn't really take it out of me, but a bike ride to work beats waking up with coffee hands down) and when I see my non-traffic opportunity, I brazenly cross the street and proceed to finish my ride with traffic. (Ideally without traffic, but you get the picture) Occasionally crossing against the light and negotiating the road makes me feel like an outlaw. (as do the slingbacks, and although riding bike wearing a skirt is standard issue with me, that does as well. And the heels? It was identical to biking in my Chucks, and it's a choice I'll make again, laughingly.)
So anyway, as I'm looking for that non-traffic opportunity to veer across the street I notice another biker, who is -y'know, following all the rules of normal people. She has a nice city bike, and sensible clothing, and she's wearing a helmet. And as I'm gliding over to her side of the street I worry a little that I will interrupt her ride, because she most likely has up to 15 speeds and I have 3. (Okay really only one that I use, and one that the bike likes to switch into whenever I'm approaching an incline.) So I feel a little rude butting in front of her on the hill, but I just go. Because it's my way- and there's no collision, she easily remains behind me by a block, and I feel dorkily triumphant that I can remain seated as I finish my morning hill.
The last few blocks of the ride embarrass me, inevitably, because I have no rear brakes. Using only your front brakes on a 3-speed Schwinn isn't all that dangerous, but for me, it's very loud. I like to imagine the squeak sounds vaugely like the cry of an approaching manatee..there is inevitable waiting for lights and slowing down to turn once I reach the St. Anthony Main business district, and if it were a movie, I feel that this portion of the ride, more than any other is the establishing shot of my character. I imagine that it screams look at that ironic girl who is embarrassed, yet equally amused at her morning circumstances. Oh how she is both awkward and graceful- it begs my audience for either pity and rescue, or to love me abidingly.
The best thing about the morning ride is that I don't sweat at all until I'm off the bike for 5 minutes. So as I lock my bike in the rack, (next to an old ten-speed with a baby seat attached that proves to me that as cool as I might secretly feel I am- whoever rides that bike RULES and I would love to meet) and saunter across the cobblestones to my office suite- the one that faces both the river and the fountain, and I feel like this is where I should have been 13 years ago instead of being so excited to switch from newstand retail to busing tables...