bikeless in ontario

I’ve been thinking about bikes more than usual lately. I haven’t had one in over a year and everywhere I look it seems there are places to cycle or things to gather and bring home in a basket between handlebars. I love my old car and where it takes me that I would never go by pedal power alone but there are just so many places between walkable and driveable that perfectly suit two wheels.

And maybe because I’ve been thinking about them, I happen to see more of them, and not just the usual sort either. The other day I saw a tricycle built for two; this large three-wheeler with two seats and two sets of handle-bars, one behind the other. The couple driving were seniors and it was just the most wonderful thing.

I saw a teen-aged lad on a unicycle a few weeks ago. I wanted so much to stop (my car) and take a picture but I felt it might unsettle him and I didn’t like how that possibility played out in my mind. (How does one even stop a unicycle?)

And there’s a guy, maybe in his fifties, maybe older, who rides/pedals/powers a bike that has steps rather than pedals. Like a step machine in a gym. It’s a standing bike that the rider/pedlar powers by stepping one foot at a time, so that one’s whole body moves up and down. I love this thing. The idea of standing instead of sitting seems vastly more comfortable and, given how much sitting we already do, maybe better for the hip joints.

I think about hip joints more and more every year.

The bikes I’ve had in the past are not the bike I want now. For instance, I do not want the red and white tricycle I loved at age six or seven or eight, which I drove at top speeds, fancying myself the envy of both peers and adults. I’m no longer interested in speed or style.

The one after that was green and huge and originally belonged to my much older and much, much taller sister. I don’t remember ever being able to sit on the seat and pedal at the same time.

Then there was the gift of a brand new golden three speed during my teen years. I rode it but never loved it. I didn’t like the colour and instead of a funky banana seat it had the standard issue kind, seriously uncomfortable. And only three speeds? It served me well though. Spent lots of time riding along country roads looking for places to steal fruit and trees under which to read. It had a utilitarian pack above the rear wheel which I could stuff with peaches and paperbacks.

When I moved to Toronto I bought a rust-coloured bike at Canadian Tire, called it Rusty. When I moved to Edmonton, I took Rusty with me. We had some good times and I wouldn’t have wanted to be there without her. But then I moved to England and left Rusty behind. Sold her, gave her away, I can’t remember and if you don’t mind I’d rather not talk about it… [sniff]

In England I had a big black Oxford bike that I rode through a field to get to Waitrose, and down a cobbled hill to get to the corner shop.

Back in Toronto I had a bike that I can barely remember and when I first moved to the town where I now live I had a ten-speed that was entirely wrong. Ergonomically wrong. For me anyway. For one thing it required me to sit hunched forward, grasping those twisted-under handlebars, which I don’t like. I like normal handlebars and to sit upright like old schoolmarms.

The last bike I had,  a hand-me-down from my mother-in-law, was sky blue and had the right kind of handlebars. I got a wicker basket for it and quite liked it, but the dear old thing was ancient and eventually toast.

All of this to say: I’m in the market for an addition to my list.

Suggestions, anyone?

Makes, models, testimonials welcome…

WikiCommons knows bikes.



6 thoughts on “bikeless in ontario

  1. Not only do you document well when you write about new adventures, but you also have an astounding memory for details. I had bikes as a child but I only remember stupid things I did on them… not wanting to relinquish my trainer wheels… a biking expedition with a new boyfriend where I careened into the ditch.
    The “Chicago Blue” bike I have now–which I love–is a Norco. Good seat, good posture, good angle for handles, room for a basket.

    1. Oh, man. You had training wheels? I so envied kids that did. They seemed invincible to me. I was riding the huge green monster at that time, unable to reach the seat as a I pedaled (the original ‘standing bike’). I have one of my dad’s home movies of me and the neighbourhood bike gang I belonged to, all setting off from our driveway to score some licorice or Double Bubble at the corner store. Brenda and Lori and Debbie pedaling away gracefully and normally, while I brought up the very distant rear, trying to ‘start’ my green monster like a scooter and then positioning myself for the standing pedal. It’s a wonder I didn’t have legs like Schwartzenegger.

      I’m going to look into the Norco. Thank you!

      1. Perhaps I should have added that I had training wheels until I was… ten years old? My brother, five years younger, already had a bike and was scooting around the neighbourhood, and he complained that I was embarrassing him.

  2. I love my bike! It’s a cruiser style which I am really enjoying as it allows me to sit upright. It also features a wide saddle which is comfy on the bottom. One caveat though, I have to brake with the foot pedals which is an adjustment after having a hand brake for a long time. Stopping on a slope is easy enough — staying stopped on a slope is another.

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