A friend of mine recently sent me an email saying he'd just stumbled upon a really good deal on a used road bike my size. Finding a used bike in excellent condition with a minuscule price tag is almost as rare as finding a bike built for a someone who's almost 5'2" when she stands up really straight. Finding both together seemed a veritable miracle! I was just about to get on a bus that happened to go by the outdoor gear store that was selling the bike so I decided to check it out. An hour later I was riding to school on my new bike, thinking It's really crazy that I now own four bicycles when my house is only 121 square feet!
When I first learned some people own more than one bike I thought it was even stranger than people owning a car and a truck. But then I realized that bikes serve different purposes, too. I have a little vintage Dutch folding bike that is super heavy, but horribly cute and really fun to ride. I get a kick out of taking this little cruiser down to the Alberta Arts district for a cup of roiboos almond bubble tea at Townsend's Tea House or a buttermilk old fashioned donut at Tonalli's. (BTW: I've been on a mission to find the best donuts in Portland and none of them even come close to Tonalli's!) It's not that I'm looking for hipster cred but, if I was, the Dutch folding bike would be a key component of my portfolio. I can't imagine parting with it because it makes me happy (and it's so little, especially when all folded up!)
My vintage Peugeot is a great little bike and I had a Cinderella moment when I first rode it. If the Bike Fits... it's probably a good idea to take it home and keep it. However, it's awkwardly small non-standard wheels relies on wheelchair tires. They've got deep tread designed for running parallel, not inline with quick turns. I'd been thinking about getting a new set of wheels and tires for my Peugeot road bike but was sticker shocked when I found out replacing the wheels would cost more than what I'd paid for the bike when I found it on Craigslist! Now that I have a bike that can get me to and from school quickly, my Puegeot will probably keep its funny tires and will become my hauling bike for trips to the farmers market.
Which means it's definitely time to find a new home for my mountain bike. I've never mountain biked in my life, so I have no special attachment to this bike's intended functionality. When you grow up in a household of 6 kids and you're the smallest, you're used to having things that are built to be durable so they can be passed down! I've taken good care of it and replaced most of its components so it's a nice hybrid commuter for people who like the solid, uprightness of a bike like that.
Meanwhile, I'm pretty enamored with my latest and greatest bike which is built for getting lil' ol' me around quickly and easily. I feel like this bike is working with me, not against me. It's a great tool and it serves an important purpose. I already understood people riding recreationally when it was just meandering along neighborhood roads admiring the architecture and cruising on down to the local coffee shop. Now I'm starting to understand why people like to go fast on their bikes and like to go for long bike rides. This lightweight zippy bike has made my commute much more enjoyable.
Speaking of which, I finished out the Bike to PSU Challenge last week with a commute rate of 81.5%, better than my team's average of 75% (and I have the longest commute of anyone on the team). I didn't end up Biking Rain or Shine, but I feel okay about taking transit on the four miserably wet days. According to the snazzy website, I commuted 296 miles by bike during the month of May and burned somewhere around 14,504 calories, saving 290 pounds of CO2. That's pretty cool!
Three (I mean, four!) cheers for having a bike for everything and making (almost) every trip on a bike!
Update: I ended up passing my mountain bike along to my youngest sister. I recognize that it's still preposterous that I own three bicycles, but I enjoy riding each of them for their intended purpose so much that I'm keeping all of them for now!