When I was a scrappy youngster, I used to fantasize about riding my bike to school. Unfortunately my private education always stood in the way. School seemed to get farther and farther from home as I grew older. St. Catherine, my elementary school, a 15-minute drive from home. Presentation High School, a perilously drowsy 22-mile car ride. And finally Georgetown University, a 3,000-mile cross-country trek. It seems after a decade of dreaming, my bike fantasy has finally come true. Sort of.
Although no longer a student, I now ride my blue Schwinn all over DC. It’s a dingy old thing – a scratched up, steel frame with some dirty pink rubber grips and commuter tires. But oh how I love it. First of all, I love that it’s ugly and hodgepodge-y. I love that I bought it for $75. And I love that my pink grip add-ons benefited breast cancer research. Every so often, my eyes wander to prettier and fancier bikes; the gearhead in me can’t help it. I see their carbon frames and accessories, and I go wild. But at the end of the day, it’s my blue Schwinn that has my back(side). For that, I love it.
Biking to work is currently reserved for Saturdays due my hectic job schedule but each morning as I walk to the Metro, I cast a loving glance towards my blue Schwinn babe. This past Monday, as I strolled by, I stopped dead in my tracks and my jaw hit the floor. There my bike stood violated. Its front fork rested on the sidewalk and its reflector was hideously gnarled. My front wheel was gone!
It was a crappy way to start the week, and I felt beaten down. After brief contemplation, I decided to press on and head to work. But I was troubled. What else could go wrong for me? Who would steal such a piece of crap? My piece of crap! When the crossing guard near XM yelled at me for walking on the orange hand signal, my eyes welled up with tears. I was at crossroads: I could tell her to f*** off OR I could burst into tears. Instead, I opted to suck it up and vowed to get my bike on two wheels again.
After racing home from Chinatown, I wheeled my sad bike from the scene of the crime to Revolution Cycles. I got some weird looks on the mile-long trek across the Key Bridge, but I also got some sympathetic exclamations. “Did someone steal your tire?!” A man even offered to bring me a spare wheel for free. My faith in humanity was restored.
My bike is now back from the shop and parked on the mean streets again, this time with a second lock to keep it safe. I can once again ride it with pride on my frequent trips into Georgetown. Will a thief strike again? I hope not. For now, I’m just going to enjoy the ride and look forward to biking to work every day starting in October.
It only took a decade and some minor heartbreak, but maybe dreams sort of come true?