Monday, August 23, 2010

Cycle Chic. Or Not.

A while back I mentioned in passing that my brand-new-to-me (used), owned-for-less-than-24-hours-old bike got stolen from our back porch.  I didn't write too much about it back then, but the truth is that it hurt, man.  It hurt a lot and I couldn't write about it without feeling very very sad.

There were the obvious feelings of violation because of the fact that someone came into our back yard - but the vain, materialistic part of me was really, really sad to lose my pretty bike.  You see, because even when you look at me - a not-as-fit-as-I'd-like-to-be, 30-something, cheerio-and-snot-encrusted mom-of-two - somewhere deep, deep inside I still feel like a hipster.  A very sleep-deprived and slightly schlumpy hipster...but a hipster nonetheless.  And even when I have dark circles under my eyes and haven't showered in more time than is socially acceptable - even then, my friends - I still want (and deserve) to feel pretty.

So I bought a bike.  A cute bike just for me.  It was cute and deep red and I didn't have to worry about it being child-friendly or compromise its style for function.  It was just MINE.  And it was pretty.  And then - THEN, less than 24 hours after I brought my bike home and stupidly (Stupidly, because who would be lame enough to think that their PERSONAL BELONGINGS would be SAFE in their BACKYARD?!?  Only a sad, trusting, shower-needing, stinky schlumpy non-hipster of a mama would think that.  Silly me.) left it outside overnight, it was stolen.  Stolen by some schmuck who probably didn't care that it made me feel happy and stylish, even in my sweatpants and baggy T-shirt.  I was so unbelivably sad about it, and yet whenever Yousuf suggested that we look around for another bike I refused because I just didn't want to go through that again.

I know that there are WAY more important things in the world than a bicycle, but we don't have that much spending money to start with, and I looked long and hard for an affordable bike that still made me feel...chic. And I felt so guilty about not locking it up that night and even more guilty for needing to impose all my whims and fancies on another bike search.  So I just said that it was okay, that I didn't need another bike, and that I'd be fine without one.

Well, I don't know if I've said it before - but I'm saying it now, officially for all the world to hear:  My Husband ROCKS.  On his birthday, his special day, he took all of us to this great big warehouse downtown.  Nothing much to look at from the outside, and honestly not in the very best part of town either.  The place is called R Community Bikes in Rochester and I can't even begin to tell you what an awesome treat it was to stop by there. 

How it works is that R Bikes accepts donations of used bikes and parts and gives them away, free of charge, to the most needy adults and children in the city.  To keep the place running, and to help cover their expenses, they refurbish and sell some of the better bikes that are donated there.  The entire process is run by volunteers, and you can buy some really beautiful bikes there - completely tuned and ready to ride - for amazing prices, with the knowledge that your money is going back into R Bikes for people in need.  Such a beautifully simple system, and one that makes you feel good from the inside out.  It's the very best kind of pretty, indeed.

So.  My superamazing husband found R Bikes and not only that, he found this gorgeous vintage Raleigh bicycle for me.  It was squirreled away upstairs in a back room, and my husband found it.  It's absolutely perfect, and I can't even begin to tell you how much it means to me to have it, and how it makes me feel so very retro-chic.  So far it's been living with us for a week and it's not stolen yet (I learned my lesson and bring it inside every night)!  We've all ridden together as a family every single day - to festivals, to the park, anywhere and everywhere our wheels take us.  It's been wonderful, and I feel like a kid again when I have the wind blowing in my hair and big ole' smile on my face.  I love it.

I can't wait to ride with Inara to school, to trick my bike out with a big wicker basket and chrome bell and oh, I am such a lucky, happy, almost-hip gal. 

Obligatory pictures:

This is me...trying to be very Cycle Chic:

Or not.
(But I still love my new bike!)
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