Saturday, June 26, 2010
My secret life: dreaming in Dutch
I'm a practical girl who's prone to flights of fancy.
I have two point five bikes. They're very functional and durable and have served me very well. My more than 15- year-old (Who's counting?) Jamis Durango is now my commuter bike. It helps me bring Monkey Boy and his Trail-A-Bike around town, and I don't have to worry about scratches and dirt. It's a workhorse. My other bike is a Felt Z40 women's specific road bike, which is light, fast and fits me beautifully. It's my ticket to freedom. I also share a Motobecane mountain bike with my husband.
Reality: I live two miles out of town, with a couple of decent-sized hills. I'm a mom with three young boys. Any bike I own should be bomb-proof and have more than three gears. Bike-wise, I have all I need.
But I still dream of a beautiful Dutch bike with a step-through frame and an elegant basket. I ride it through town wearing chic heels and a skirt, carrying flowers and wind blowing through my hair. I don't have to be anywhere in a hurry, especially when I'm pedaling to the coffee shop. (See Amsterdamize to see this in action.)
The good news is that whenever I feel like I need to check in with this fantasy, I'm only a bike shop away. Chalet Sports, my favorite local bike shop, stocks beautiful Electra bikes like this Alexander Girard "Tree of Life" number. And they let me test ride them. For free.
I'm not going to give you a real review of this bike. I can tell you that it has a steel frame, a 3-speed internal hub, coaster brakes with a backup hand brake, simple rubber pedals, a rear rack with an elastic strap, and a halogen headlight with generator. The steel frame is hefty, and it's not as if the chain and skirt guards say "speed." The shifting and turning are very smooth, and I just love riding it through town.
It's the details that really steal my heart on this baby. Check out the beautiful skirt guard and seat. See the design on the bell and hand grips? It's just a stunner from one end to the other. I'm sure there those who would take a pass on it because it's too frilly, but given the level of testosterone in my house, I find I need some pretty things.
For now, I'll stick with what I have, since I am at heart a practical girl. But when my dreams take flight, look out. I'll be the one with the flowers.