I got a new bike.
I’d gone several months without, after my long-abused cheap hybrid had finally given up the ghost after about eight years.
This bike is in a whole different category, from a design and price point of view, and I’m feeling that a bit when I look at my bank account.
But from a lifestyle point of view it simply underscores a practical passion about bikes I’ve had for years.
Growing up I couldn’t have fathomed life without a bicycle: it meant freedom from the school bus and added miles to the distances I could travel on my own two feet as a boy living in a rural part of the province.
I took that attitude with me when I moved to Montreal, and later to Toronto: I’ve just always counted on a bike to get me where I want to go.
It’s not a sporty thing or a trendy thing or even a political thing. I just like to bike. It’s cheaper than a car, faster than a streetcar and takes me farther than I can travel by foot while keeping me healthy and active. That’s it.
So it was a lifestyle adjustment to go without one for a while – especially since I’ve given up my vehicle.
But being back on my feet again was good: it grounded me, helped me redefine my boundaries, and made me appreciate my wheels that much more when I got them.
And what a set of wheels. My friend Evalyn Parry is an artist, actor and advocate for cycling, and she sold me on the merits of a true city bike just by touring me through the features of hers.
This one, a Batavus Lento, is far from cheap – three times the price of my previous bicycle – but then it’s not an accessory; it’s my vehicle. I see it as an investment in a lifestyle I’ve been working on for some time.
In the picture above, the bike is already showing just how neatly it fits with that lifestyle.
On the bike’s back rack is a butterfly bush for my garden that I’d picked up at the Evergreen farmer’s market – a quick ride away – along with a box of beer. A second six-pack, which I carried in my left hand quite easily, sits on the sidewalk beside.
This is going to work out just fine.