I don’t know what to write my column about anymore.
I haven’t been to a bike event since last summer, I haven’t ridden my bike in three months, and the only time I get on SaltCycle is to hound its brainstorming capabilities for what to write this goddamn column about. At first I felt guilty: God, what would people think if they knew “Beautiful Godzilla” was a phony? I’m living a lie! But after writing 600 words in defense of my pedaless lifestyle, my wise righthand man and Editorial Assistant Alexander Ortega told me to quit apologizing. So, I’ve opened a blank document and have decided to “get real.”
Bicycles became my “thing” quite by accident. Before bikes, I was into books and TV—and I was kind of blah. Not that I didn’t have a personality, but I wasn’t really doing much with it other than writing a lot of passive aggressive blog posts about ex-boyfriends and some terrifying poetry here and there. I’ve joked about it before, but honest to god, what attracted me to cycling was that it got me off the street as a pedestrian. I fucking hate pedestrians almost as much as I hated being one. The life that resulted, though, goes much deeper than my aversion to sneakers on the sidewalk (crossing the street when they’re not supposed to!), and it reaches further than even the bicycle itself.
I fit into the bike community in a way I’d never really fit in anywhere else because those people are all a bunch of freaks. Seriously, have you ever witnessed Critical Mass in Salt Lake? Sure, there were fixie cliques and roadie snobs, but as a whole, the bike community is the most welcoming group of people I’ve ever come across because it’s made up of the oddest assortment of human beings. But when you find someone who lets you be yourself in every way possible, who trusts you to be a leader without trying to micromanage your every move, who shows up for every party you throw and volunteers to help with every crazy idea you come up with—well, you don’t give that up ’cause not even your momma’s gonna be that person for you. So maybe they welcomed me in a little too enthusiastically because of my (then) single-lady status and my (still) voluptuous booty (if I’ve learned one thing from Goddess Beyoncé, it’s that butt equals power), but the love and support of the bike community has done more for me than I’ve ever really acknowledged, and certainly more than I feel like I deserve.
So, wrapped up in this little bubble of bike love, with a big push from SLUG, I’ve been incubating that personality and developing an identity and a voice, and the confidence to use that voice. I’ve kept my foot in the bike community through this column, my friendship with Debbie and Nate of Velo City Bags and my resulting friend obligations to help them with events (though they pulled off Velo Weekend last year without me doing anything remotely helpful), but the rest of me has slowly stepped outside into other things. I don’t do a double take when I see a boy on a fixie anymore, and I’ve lost track of what phase of life BikeSnobNYC is publishing books about these days—I imagine his next will feature the Lone Wolf in an Olympic-themed recumbent—but I think that’s OK. I wouldn’t be here in this moment, ready to make a big, risky jump into the future, without the bicycle.
Oh my god, what am I saying?! All I wanna do now is go ride my bike in this beautiful weather. Nevermind—just go home and hug your bicycle real tight. Oh yeah, and Friendship PSA: Velo City Bags just moved next door to SLUG on 341 W. Pierpont Ave. Come check out the new shop ’cause it’s rad—I’ll be there on my lunch breaks, talking about myself, in case you haven’t read enough here over the past three years.