For the first time ever, I spontaneously write a haiku:
Too wound up to sleep
Carbon fiber 18lbs*
In the downstairs hall.
OK, it’s not great poetry (though it might pass for it in the canon of bike literature, I wouldn’t know). But I’m not someone who generally tries poetry at all.
The following day first thing, I can’t wait to wheel her to the sleepy street in my neighborhood – where I first tried out Lucille – to see how I do with the drop bars and gearing. I do fairly well on that block, then make it to the next one. Before I know it, I’m soaring up the Greenway on the smoothest ride I’ve ever had on a bike and find myself at the upper promenade on 120th in no time. I can’t believe it. The ride is simply phenomenal. Why did no one mention this to me? She’s 18lbs but rides like a Lexus.
The other thing I can’t help noticing is that she is loud. That ticking I so missed with Janet? Lola makes up for it in spades; she sounds like an amplified rattle snake – loud and menacing. Those drop bars can’t really accommodate a bell, but I find if I just coast a few seconds as I’m approaching pedestrians, an antediluvian reaction takes hold; they get the message and move over.
I test her out on Fiends Hill – speed bump. I ride up to the GWB; over the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges and around the Battery; out with a group on Thanksgiving Day. We do 5 bridges in light snow and drizzle. Probably not a great idea – should have taken Lucille who has fatter tires and a lower center of gravity for greater security on the road - but I’m addicted to that smooth ride. I can’t get enough of Lola.
Finally I meet L at 6th Ave for our ride in Central Park. L has experience with bikes and she goes over Lola carefully, comparing her components and frame to those on her own Trek. Then we take off. Keeping up is effortless; the down hills are so fast, I have to brake so as not to collide with her. Unbelievable. Lola buries Home Wrecker.**
Though I paid for this bike in full, and J explained to me all of her fine attributes, there was no way for me to know what I was really getting. So I’ve kept my emotions in abeyance until I can ride her in varied situations and find out for myself. The more I do, the stronger the feeling grows that I have found my Lola. This is a bike for life.
It’s as strong as that moment when you’ve met someone, and you’re suddenly aware on a deep level that you will always know them; that there is room to grow and change in your relationship. It’s a journey you will take together.
I can’t wait to begin that journey, to go through all stages of love, from wild infatuation to intimate trust, until passion has worn itself out and Lola finally fits me like an old shoe, something I cannot imagine my life without.
As for the drop bars, the jury is still out; but the posture has been ameliorated with the addition of a stem which brings the bars both up and closer.
If I should want to change them, I can. None of that matters right now. What matters now is to ride. To ride and to explore, to ride and enjoy the wonderful bike that is Lola.
*16.5lbs before addition of pedals, lights etc.
**Confessions of a Cheater