I've decided my bike needs a name. I've been developing quite a relationship with it, and it seems too impersonal to just call it "the bike". So I need some help. Any ideas? Maybe Gretchen? or Gloria? Something else? Why don't I give you some background.
I used to have a really hard time bike riding because of my rheumatoid arthritis. It's mostly in my wrists, and the conventional way of bike riding where you are leaning on the handlebars just put too much pressure on them. It was too painful. So about ten years ago Canadian Tire came out with the retro cruiser-style bike and I bought one. The cruiser has you sitting more upright without putting all your weight on your hands and wrists. The handlebars are curved back towards you in a much more comfortable position (my wrists don't really bend) that regular straight bars. It only had six gears instead of the 21 that everyone else was riding, but I found the six plenty for the type of riding I do. The saddle is wide and has spring suspension for comfort. It has thick whitewalled tires that not only look cool but are perfect for city streets. I got a lot of funny looks when I first started riding this bike. Everyone else (it seems) was riding traditional racing-style bikes, but it allowed me to go bike riding with the kids when they were young enough to want to go bike riding with their mom.
Anyway, the bike got left out in the rain a few times, the kids didn't want to ride with mom anymore, and before you know it a few years had gone by and the now rusty old bike was relegated to the shed. A couple of years ago I thought I should ride it or get rid of it. DH tried to talk me into buying a new one, but I thought what if I don't ride it much again? What a waste of money! I tried to make some adjustments since it didn't shift properly and was now hard to ride. I didn't have much success with the adjustments. So late last summer I finally took it to a bike shop. I had them give it a good overhaul, tighten up the shifter, get it running smoothly for me. I took it for a few rides and then put it away again. It now rode very nicely but frankly it was embarassing to be on this rusty old bike.
So I decided the bike was worth keeping but I needed to "pretty it up". I bought new fenders to replace the rusty old ones that were on it. Then I rode it to work and decided I needed a way to carry my totebag and purse. You see how one thing leads to another? So I installed a basket, which I told my son is an "anti-theft device" (who the heck is going to want to be seen on an old-lady bike with a basket?! lol).
In order to install the basket I had to remove the headlight from the handlebars. DH then came up with a scathingly brilliant idea. He suggested I attach the light to some tubing, drill holes in each end of the tubing (to prevent it rotating) and attach it to the underside of the basket with zip-ties. Ta-da; brilliant! Another trip (on the bike) to Canadian Tire got me a rear rack which I installed last night.
But the best was delivered today. I ordered this set of panniers from Curbside Cycle in Toronto. They're Dutch from a company called Basil. I could have ordered it in red to match my bike, but I thought that would be too much red. There is also baby blue, pink, or orange, so I'm hoping I made the right choice. I have to give the credit to Steph who first blogged about them here. I can see myself making trips to the grocery store for small loads.
Now that she's so practical as well as comfortable (not to mention pretty!), I see the beginning of a long relationship. She definitely needs a name.