Once upon a time, there was a not-so-long-suffering wife who liked to ride bikes with her wonderful, Bikeist husband . . .
Fans of the Bikeist's neverending Bikeography are already well aware of the tortured relationship between my long-sufferering-wife and bikes. In our early days, she used to ride with me all the time. We took our bikes on our honeymoon to Nantucket, Cape Cod and Vermont, on vacations to Acadia and Block Island and used to do lots of weekend jaunts. As my wanderlust got stronger and stronger, though, and the jaunts evolved into what she termed "death-marches" she suddenly, and decidedly, retired from biking. Luckily, she never laid down an "it's me or the bikes" ultimatum, so I was able to continue to chase my obsession -- alone.
Nothing wrong with alone, though -- I'm surrounded by people all day, every day, and am the only male in a house full of women and budding women, so the bike is a great place for me to gather my thoughts and enjoy a little forced solitude. However, I have missed the jaunts.
I've occasionally tried to lure my long-suffering-wife back onto bikes for short trips over the years, but she has always had an excuse at the ready, the main one being that her one-speed beach cruiser was too clunky and heavy. Then, out of the blue this Fall, she suggested that she might be more willing to ride if she had a lighter bike with multiple speeds. She only had to suggest once, because at that moment I determined to get her the perfect bike for Christmas.
But, what bike to get? It had to be easy to ride, comfortable, have a reasonable range of speeds, and, maybe most importantly, be pretty. Couldn't be a road bike or mountain bike -- she'd reject either immediately. She also very quickly fell out of love with the dull, hybrid-style bikes she had ridden in the past. What we needed was a town bike, something European looking, a bike that begs to be pedaled. This led me immediately to the classic "mixte" style - a dropped cross-bar bike, that isn't quite a "ladies" bike. my first thought was to go with one from Public, the company that provides bikes to Kimpton Hotels:
But, at well over $1,000, this beauty was a bit pricey given the risk of my long-suffering-wife not re-embracing the joys of riding.
Next was this version from Linus, that my friend Francine rides on our Thursday night "Circumnavigation" rides:
Great bike, which I was all set to get, until I visited Holland's and saw that Electra had entered the European-style bike game with their "Loft" seven speed. The price was great, and with some accessorization, I was able to make it a thing of true beauty:
Took this shot right before hiding it in my friends', Gary and Terry's garage until Christmas -- always so exciting to know Christmas will involve a new bike for someone!
I retrieved it from said garage late on Christmas Eve after everyone, including long-suffering, was dead asleep, and then placed it prominently in front of our beautiful, real (of course) tree.
You should have seen her eyes light up when she saw it -- love at first sight! She couldn't wait to take it for a spin, which we did in the afternoon, just around the neighborhood. It fit her like it was custom made for her -- perfection.
We were busy with visiting relatives most of the rest of December, but, once they were gone, she joined me on a cafe ride to Cafe 1134 for breakfast this weekend -- just a little over 2 miles each way, with great coffee and breakfast in the middle. We were jaunting again!
I remember, way back, before her sudden retirement, that she joked that she would only agree to ride with me on islands, since I could only bike a finite distance. I guess that makes Coronado (minus the Strand) just about perfect then! As long as I keep things within the confines of the island, I think we may have an infinite number of rides together ahead of us --
And they biked happily ever after --