Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Bike Story

Every hour of my life finds me on some rung of a convoluted reward system. When I finish this report, I can eat my orange. I ran five miles, so I can have a(many) beer(s). I washed my bowl instead of leaving it in the sink so I can watch four episodes of Law & Order despite having seen them all before. You too, right?

It's too bad that doing good can't be its own reward for me. Nope, ORANGES, but I have a pretty sustainable system going. Snacks and Netflix are cheap. Occasionally, I convince myself I'm going to properly splurge on something and then I chicken out. In my period of marginal employment following grad school, I promised that when I finally got a Big Girl Job I would treat myself to an adorable granny-chic work outfit from Anthropologie. The job arrived but I bailed on the clothes. Because I can't spend $100 on a sweater on principle! Even if I'm "allowed" to.

Lately, in my career malaise, I've been announcing to Nick that if I get a job with a better commute that I'm going to buy a new bike. I even found the one I wanted in the window of our neighborhood bike shop. One of those pared-down commuter models, with vintage flair but not too twee. I started pointing it out to friends as we passed like it was a historical landmark. "And that's where they keep my bike until I can bring her home..."

I was offered a new job on Friday (hooray!) and as we drove through the dark to Tennessee, Nick remembered my promise. "Hey! Are you gonna get that bike?" Oh. Right.

The thing about me and bikes is that...I love them. Our little family has several, picked up from yard sales and friends and all Frankensteined together and apart again. I don't race and I've never ridden more than 30 miles in a stretch. I had a fancy bike for a year but traded it back in for a beater. I have little "bike kid" cred but riding home from a friend's house in the dark after a few glasses of wine is my religion, basically.

So now that I "can" buy the shiny new bike, I'm hardly interested. Of course. I did need a bike for my commute though (cruiser bike is too heavy for much beyond neighborhood jaunts, Nick commutes to school and work on our one road bike). I needed one with character, one that I don't have to be precious with, one I can throw around a little bit.

Yesterday I bought this off a dude in a parking lot. Maybe I'm subconsciously absorbing attitudes that are friendly to my lifestyle(pocketbook) but new things are sterile. Old things have magic.


  1. YAY new job!!

    I have the exact same reward system for myself. I told my mom today about this that I'm five.

    And I like this bike. I'm of the same opinion that old things have magic and stories.

  2. "Because I can't spend $100 on a sweater on principle! Even if I'm 'allowed' to."d

    Absolutely. I find that expensive stuff can't possibly live up to my 'surely this will transform me into someone new an thrilling' expectations, but a $5 second-hand skirt can delight me for weeks.

    Spiffy bike!

    1. I think this is why I shy away from buying expensive items/things I've been lusting over: they're too prone to disappoint; if purchasing the item doesn't feel transformative and incredibly joyful, I start feeling like I wasted money. Think of alllll the other things I could've bought with that $100! But if I pick up a $3 lamp at Goodwill and paint it, I'm incredibly pleased- my expectations weren't that high in the first place and there really isn't *that* much else I could've bought for that price.

  3. It took me a long time to work up to a new bike, but I finally did it. I got a new folding bike, partly because I was keeping my last bike out on the porch (locked) but it got stolen anyway. I figured if I was going to the trouble of putting ANY money into a bike, I wanted to be able to keep it inside, and being able to keep it inside made me feel better about spending the money. So anyway...

  4. That is one snazzy bike. Love the color. Hope it works well for your new commute!