In the past couple days, I’ve been delighted to receive some mighty kind praise for my sweet bicycle. She’s a Bianchi Milano that I call Cool Breeze. I truly heart her.
For three years, she took me smoothly to work down one long San Francisco hill and then, at the end of the day, she coaxed me gently back home in her lower gears. All day long, she would sit in my office and in those moments when clients and phone calls and bosses wouldn’t stop bothering me, I would stare at her minty-fresh goodness and count the hours until we’d hit the road. At six or seven, I’d hop on and we were off. I loved the moment, halfway home, when we reached the chilly evening fog that rolled down the hill to meet us. Really, she’s been my best mechanical friend.
When we decided to move to Wellington, I contemplated a sale. I’d been told that NZ customs would never let her in. I even listed her on a classified site but when the inquiries started, I immediately retracted my ad. I even found myself slightly offended: “Why would I sell her to you? Go find your own bike to love.” As it happened, Customs cared more about my box of Christmas decorations than they did about my Cool Breeze.
The cold winter day when she finally arrived, I wiped her down, checked her brakes, gave her a little air and we were off again. Reunited, and it was so good. On that first ride, around Lyall Bay, into Rongotai, back through Kilbirnie with a stop at the market, and home against a blistering Southerly, I was dizzy with excitement. I had a new home; I had my bicycle; I had icy wind; I had to ride on the left side of the road! I happily rang my bell to the honk of a car horn who, I’m sure, was enthusiastically rejoicing with me in my first southern hemisphere ride and not simply impatient with my pace against the headwind.
In the months since, my bicycle and I have acclimated. I don’t often look over my left shoulder for traffic anymore and I’m a bit more cautious about the ferocity of speeding cars (and a lot more grateful to those who give me space). You might see us riding around the Eastern and Southern suburbs pretty frequently, as Lisa did the other day, when I caught her snapping shots of Cool Breeze. After a quick realization that our bicycles were picked from the same family tree, I offered to contribute to Cycling in Wellington. Maybe it was a bit of bicycle nepotism, but Lisa accepted and I’m happy to introduce myself but mostly my bike to you.
I’m not a total bike nut; for example, I can tell you that I have an 8-speed Shimano internal hub and wicked Shimano Nexxus brakes, Nitto handlebars and a basket, but I can’t tell you much about other 8-speed options or brakes or handlebars. I could, however, hunt down a good wicker basket or an awesome bell, if you’re in the market. That said, I’m super excited to explore and share my ramblings around Wellington, say hi to other folks with bikes, and ring my bell at others who might be looking for a more playful way to woosh around town. Because, really, that’s what me and Cool Breeze do together; we’re just playing en route.