Tuesday, September 4, 2007

My New Girl's Bike

Well, I finally broke down and replaced the sad old teacher's bike. The thing hadn't been maintained at all since its purchase five years ago, but the nail on the coffin was my hideous treatment. The bike sucked, and I hated it, so I abused it to make it pay for being a terrible bike. I hit every pothole, curb, and ledge in striking distance. A month ago I got a flat on the rear wheel. I rode it on the rim and eventually started breaking spokes every few days.

At this point I had a wobbly-ass rear wheel that's all rusty and out of true, and the rear tire was making a horrible rubber-smooshing-on-pavement sound, and yet I rode on. A couple weeks ago I got a flat in the front. Now the front's making the smooshy flat tire sound. I felt like I was riding the thing through molasses, and yet I still rode on.

Every time I rode across a slight lip on the pavement, the tires would slide off the rim and the whole bike would flop about an inch to the side of the slippage. Disconcerting, but I ignored it.

My breaking point came after work yesterday. I had just applied the dynamo to the front wheel to power the headlight. The dynamo was dragging on the rim to generate the power, the two flat tires were pancaked against the road making their horrible noise, and both of my wheels hopped at different points in their revolution due to being more oval than round. So there I was, a big white guy on a little bike with 2 flat tires and football shaped wheels clanking and clattering down the road at about 3 miles an hour.

Even though it would have been less than 30 bucks to get that rusty deathtrap rideable again, I ditched it and bought an entirely new crappy bike for the low low price of 8,800 yen (75 bucks). I felt like I was riding a Colnago on the way back from the store. It just goes to show you--you don't need fancy things, just crappy things for your mediocre things to seem great in comparison to!


Lisa said...

I shed a little tear for your poor bike reading that story. It's not the bike's fault it had suffered years of neglect.
While I am glad you got a new sweet ride I hope you gave your old bike a proper send off. Or that you at least took a picture to properly capture your first Japanese wheels.

Sam said...

I'm still curious about this new bike. In the title of your post you refer to it as a "Girl's Bike" yet in the post itself, you fail to elaborate. Is it hot pink with glitter in the spokes and tassels hanging from the handle bars?

Nate said...

I actually just ditched my bike in a bike rack near the store (as did a lot of other people, judging from the quality of bikes locked up). Unfortunately, I mentioned this to the Bossman, and he said oh, no problem, lets go recycle it on Sunday! So I'm gonna either pay 500 yen to recycle that bastard, or take a hacksaw to it and recycle it for free in little pieces.

It's probably better that I take care of it, since I'm not sure if there's any identifiers connecting it to this apartment...

Nate said...

Sam- The bikes people ride in Japan are what Americans call "girl's bikes." They have a big basket on the front and a low curved downward top tube. A "mens" bike is popularly thought of as one with a testicle-crushing 1-3 inches of standover when you straddle the top tube.

d said...

"a testicle-crushing 1-3 inches of standover when you straddle the top tube."

Speaking personally?

As for recycling the old bike, your boss was gently reminding you about the proper way to behave in a well-ordered society, barbarian-san.

Also, I did a double-take on reading the title of this post. There are, as you know, a few ways of interpreting it. Ain't English grand?!