Just after university, circa 2003 (GAH) I treated myself to an adorable pink cruiser. Due to the fact I was a waitress, I paid for it through layaway. After collecting my tips for two months, I went to the store, paid the rest in cash and then drove through the streets of Kitsilano with a ridiculous grin on my face.
There is just something about pink cruisers that makes me ridiculously happy. They make most people happy. Have you ever seen someone on a cruiser bike with a big frown? NO. That is because they are happy bikes.
Flying down a hill, the wind flying through your hair and perhaps blowing up your dress (which makes you realize one should not wear a dress whilst riding a bike even though all cartoon images of happy girls with flowers and baguettes suggest such) will make your troubles disappear.
It will also make you feel you are a bit too much sometimes.
Then once you have your cruiser and move into a condo with teeny tiny storage, you will let your cruiser pretty much sit in a locker for 5 years.
Sure, I've taken it out about once a year but it's such a pain in the ass. It basically sits under a suitcase and old VHS tapes.
I won't lie. Those cute little cartoon girls you see on greeting cards with girls sitting on a bicycle with a basket holding a dog and a bunch of hydrangeas (or Audrey Hepburn) inspired me to dust off the old cruiser and attach a basket built for two. Dogs that is.
I found these lovely European bike baskets from Cynthia's Twigs and got mine attached last week, complete with matching pink pillow! Again, perhaps too much?
Anyhoo, my vision of speeding along the seawall with baguettes in the front and happy dogs in the back wasn't exactly what happened.
On our first ride, Mr. Mop spent most of the journey standing up, scratching my back and making his weird growling noises. Brooklyn was quite good, but I think his barking was hampered by the fact Mop was standing on him.
Again I made the mistake of wearing a dress, so not only was I winding around the seawall on a sunny day with two dogs in a basket on a pink bike, but I was also flashing random tourists. Needless to say, we got a bit of attention. I think people were mostly staring at the dog trying to escape than my granny panties, so that's okay.
On the way home, in the dark, I managed to pick some hydrangea from a nearby garden (thanks West End landscaping!) so my fantasy of the wind blowing in my hair with purple flowers and dogs in basket had come true.
After their second ride, both boys seemed to start to enjoy the bike. As I glanced behind me, their little tongues were hanging out as their fur blew in the breeze.
Here's the bad thing about cruisers: they are heavy. So in hilly city they can be sort of a bitch. I mean once I had the not-so-brilliant idea of riding my bike to the gym which was located on the other side of Lion's Gate Bridge. When driving through the Stanley Park Causeway, one never really notices the fact it is a hill.
But it's a really long, slow, hard incline that you don't notice in a Volkswagon.
It was hell. I was useless. There I was, pedalling away going pretty much nowhere. I eventually had to get off the bike and push it. I got passed by racing cars and other bikes. I felt like that time when I was 9 and drove my bike through mud and spent the better part of an hour getting unstuck.
That may have happened the other night. Well, not the mud. But the push part.
The dogs add 25lbs to the bike. As I was riding to my friend's house, I was passed by all the eager beaver and shall we say, more professional, bike riders in the bike lane. Here I am, pedalling my heart out with Mop walking around in the basket, on a pink bike being passed by groups of bikers with sleek helmets and shaved legs.
I was even passed by a woman my mum's age who commented on how cute the dogs were as she raced by me.
I ate her wind.
The vision I had in my head was a lot less ridiculous. And didn't cause me to sweat so much. But I am riding my bike nearly everyday now, the dogs are starting to love it and those hills are not so difficult. Well, that last one is a lie.
I still think the basket and the dogs and the pink are a bit too much. Therefore I am considering a yellow paint job. Would that make me seem less like a cartoon? Would I be taken more seriously in the bike lane? Or do two dogs chewing on a willow basket negate the whole thing?