I Got a Sweet New (Used) Bike

All photos courtesy Peter Kleeman

For the last seven years I’ve dedicated my bike preference to kid-size, vintage, fixed gear, Peugeots. The first one I purchased was from this butch chick in Williamsburg off craigslist for $250, an imaginatively sparkling small orange frame glistening with potential. It replaced an even smaller, heavier, but badass white bmx bike I used to whiz around from interesting quiz to quiz while in college. I felt I needed to graduate to the hipster friendly trend rippling thru Williamsburg where I spent my time as an intern at Pierogi naively inspired by the “creative independence” of young folks around me. At that time I aspired to be a hipster, before it was an expression of ironic self-deprecation and dismissal. I’ve never ridden a fixed gear before and didn’t realize I’d be sacrificing seven years of coasting to be hip and cool.

My first ride was frightening as I rode over the Pulaski Bridge from Brooklyn to Astoria where I then lived, too dumb to find the walk path and heading straight into the car lane as if I had four wheels and a tin frame to protect me. Of course I wasn’t bold enough to purchase a fixed gear bike without a brake but even still I’ll always remember this pants-shitting experience, pathetically pedaling non-stop, desperate to get off the road, regretting the sale of my safe, thick-tired easy bmx.

Of course it got better and soon became what biking has always been for me: an exhilarating release. I used to get butterflies in my stomach every time I got on my bmx, anticipating the speed and freedom the wind and wheels provided. I felt untouchable, powerful, rebellious even. This little bicycle that could was faster, lighter, thinner, and badass. I never learned to skid or do funky tricks. It was my main mode of transportation (in addition to being my version of a pimped ride) and I never failed to feel good when riding my baby. My thighs and calves will show for it too.

Five and a half years later the bike needed constant care and repair, leading to custom welded cranks and wheels and all sorts of other things as a result of my use and abuse. Last year my dear friend Peter the bike seller found the same exact bike frame, in white. I was ecstatic and immediately bought it, transferring what pieces I could from old to new including bike seat, cranks, wheels, and handles. The frame was unusable anyway so I took the skeleton to my father’s garage and plan to hang it as a commemorative wall decoration in the future.

Before Angel and I got married I somehow convinced him to purchase a matching bike from Peter the bike seller: an adult size men’s version of a white multi-geared Peugeot. The tires were a bit shaky and he didn’t feel too comfortable but I absolutely LOVED the idea of having matching bikes. How cute!!

Few months into riding my new (old) white stallion I realized I was a bit too big for it. I’ve always been a tad bit too tall for it. It IS a boy’s bike after all. I don’t know if its from getting older, unconvincingly despising hipster culture, or just growing lazy, but I craved coasting. I didn’t want to crouch down and put all my weight in my arms and hands, pedaling to oblivion. I wanted a coaster, bad.

So I consulted Peter the bike seller and, sure enough, last week, he had an adult size women’s version of a white multi-geared Peugeot. Ha! Talk about matching bikes!! I wasn’t 100% ready yet to let my fixie go but I eagerly swapped bikes and rode home from Greenpoint to LES. Coasting felt divine but there was a problem. I felt like a sissy. I felt tiny and powerless. All the weight was on my butt and my legs BARELY reached to the bottom of the pedal cycle. Riding with my arms up slightly above the waist made me feel like, a girl. That night I decided to be quite selfish and indulgent: I texted Peter and let him know that I’d be paying for this sissy coaster and take my fixie back too.

I now not only have an exact matching bike as Angel that we can cruise around in, I still have my fixie that lets me be as badass as I please.



Filed under Culture

3 responses to “I Got a Sweet New (Used) Bike

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