As the proud owner of a new bicycle for almost a whole entire week now, I feel inclined to comment on the state of bicycling in New Wye. For those of you who either know me in person, have been to my town, or even know generally in which of the 50 states I live, you may be surprised to learn that New Wye prides itself on being a forward-thinking bicyclists’ paradise. I know I was shocked when I read that we had won some type of award for our bike-friendly ways. I threw up a silent, internal cheer as I downloaded the map of the city highlighted with all our various bicycle routes. All, like, four of them.
We have a couple of bike trails that are isolated one-mile stretches connected to nothing, and we have maybe three or four streets that, also for one-mile stretches, have bicycle lanes. That’s it. That’s our forward-thinking bicyclists’ paradise. The majority of the pamphlet I downloaded turned out to be a treatise on Why it is Bad to Cycle on the Sidewalk and Why, Therefore, Fines Would Be Imposed for Doing So.
As a Zemblan in spirit (if no longer in zip code), I am accustomed to towns with bike lanes on almost every street and networks of off-street trails winding and weaving throughout the city and surrounding area. Bicycling in New Wye, then, is going to take some getting used to.
My very first trip involved a ride home from the downtown bike shop where I had just purchased my sweet ride, and would you believe I got honked/yelled at twice on this short journey alone? It appeared that an approximately 10-year old boy and his dad wanted me to “GO BACK HOME.” How kind of them to wish me well and how well I wished I could comply. SADLY NO. I LIVE HERE NOW, JERKBURGERS.
At any rate, I am getting used to the ways of the street here, to the grueling survivalist instincts and the helmet hair* and the hills. I am even getting used to having a “real” saddle for the first time (instead of a “comfort” saddle, which are apparently for weenies). Most of all I am exploring new parts of my neighborhood, new parts of town, and enjoying the feel of the wind in my hair. A brutal uphill slog that feels like it’s going in slow motion is made so, so worth it by the feeling or rocketing the fuck down the other side of that goddamned hill like you are the goddamned queen of the worrrrrrrld.
*Can you believe that the whole time I was in Zembla riding drunkenly around town at night while wearing pointy-toed heels that I was not ever wearing a helmet? Really. This is the first helmet I have ever owned.