Monday, May 25, 2009

Defining Myself: ByCycle

Tattered bike gloves and tanned-through hands, thrown confidently out to signal my direction. I always wear my helmet. I have newer gloves, but can't bear to part with the ones that are falling apart. It's not just that they fit my hands; the other gloves do that as well. They fit me. They are the gloves I wore every day one summer until for the first time I saw the backs of my hands browned with an oval here, patchwork crochet patterns there, a hard line across the fingers. A badge of honor earned as a bicycle commuter. Who needs a car when you've got these hands, these gloves, these biker's thighs, this trusty, battered, but infinitely loved bicycle with the basket on the back to hold my "magic expanding backpack" - another characteristic possession, companion. My backpack, my helmet, my "I don't care if they're not stylish, they're functional" sunglasses, my pant legs rolled up on both sides. I leave them rolled up. I like them that way. It's another sign that I bike, I don't care what I look like (though secretly I do), this is serious business, I'm not just some leisure rider who rolls her pants back down as soon as she parks her bike, to hide all traces of how she got there. My favorite jeans practically roll themselves up into biking position, and I love it. So satisfying - even my clothes know when I'm going for a ride. Sometimes I even leave my gloves on if I'm stopping in somewhere on a quick errand. Feels cool, nonchalant, yet I'm self-conscious at the same time, wondering if anybody notices, admires, or even cares. No fancy, high-tech, new, clean gear for me. Give me my tattered gloves and rolled-up jeans and I'll be in heaven on the road.


cristie said...

I wonder too sometimes if people notice how much I bike. And I sometimes wear my gloves in stores if I'm only going to be quick (and not putting my hands all over things). :)

Ford found the bike maintenance bag for me today, so I have a happy chain again and can ride my bike without feeling guilty! Hooray!

HLB said...

Ooh! My very first bike gloves were that exact same model! I got all nostalgic just seeing the photo... they really do make for the awesomest hand tan lines. :)
Mine eventually got so run down that I had to switch to new ones... no crochet on these, so all I have now is the more 'conventional' bike 'hand socks' tan. :)
And I, too, leave my gloves on when making a quick stop, just in the secret hope people will realize that I didn't drive there like most others. :)