Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Badass Biker Girl
Some of you know about me and biking… and some of you don’t. I am a crazy biker, highly committed to the bike as a mode of transportation. I love my bike.
I am crazy about the rhythm you move on a bike, somewhere between walking and running. You can gaze, enjoy, see and wonder but a little but faster and a touch away from the crowd. Pic to the side from a recent day on my bike, a beautiful mural.
I love my bike.
In America, I have the most amazing, ridiculously beautiful bike. Prettier and skinnier than Kate Moss. It weighs 17 lbs and glistens with the most handsome royal blue and beautiful details of tiny scalloped flowers.
I really love that bike.
I debated briefly about bringing it here to Buenos Aires, but this is a tough town for everything (including biking) and I can’t imagine my slim racing tires would last long in a town with potholes wider than my behind. But through some good fortune, I managed to pick up a bike for less than $100 from the friend of my old roommate. Score.
It’s kind of a junky beach cruiser and if you look at my profile pic, you can see it in the background. The handlebars broke within two days, which I thought was a sign of my vast strength. No, the dude in the bike store told me, they’re just old. Just like the rest of the clunker, I thought. Nonetheless, it gets me around. The old bag - gearless, with foot brakes – gets me to and from the gym every day, to matés in the park, to friends’ houses. And more importantly, the ability to just explore the city at a pace I love.
My favorite part has been learning how to ride in the city. Riding a bike in a city requires understanding another language – the language of driving. The crazy thing is there is no professor, it is only about understanding how people move, think, act and react.
What's even more interesting is the language of driving in the US and here are probably more similar than the spoken language. Both have extremely aggressive drivers who believe they own the road and see little reason to stop, give an inch to or not permanently maim those who share the road with them. Good times on a bike.
The difference here is that I am mostly ignored on my bike. In DC, assholes love to honk at you on the road as they drive up your ass. Here they just zoom around you, indifferent to your existence. The only time I am acknowledged is when I ride on the sidewalk and occasionally feel the disapproving glare of an old woman, which may be for riding on the sidewalk or may be for being sweaty and dirty in my gym clothes in public. Who knows? Chances are if she yelled at me, it would be in crazy lunfardo and I wouldn’t understand her thick porteña accent.
Anyway, don’t worry about me on my bike. I take it easy, not afraid to stop if the rhythm seems off or if I don’t understand what's going on. Besides, how fast do you think a bike with no gears can go? It’s safer this way, trust me.