My bike's name is Valencia. She is blue with a yellow front tire. She has some rust on the her head set and when her back rim was replaced, the person who replaced it did not noticed that the cassette had the wrong gear ratio. Oh and her front derailleur only works if you know how to caress it into place. In fact, one of the main reasons my friend sold her to me was because he could not get the derailleur to work at all. At first I couldn't get it to work either, but now I've learned to caress it into place every time.
I decided to buy a bike because my car kept getting tickets and I hated driving in the city anyways. The friend I bought her from said that he hadn't biked anywhere for about 2 years and she was mine for 160 bucks. I never imaged the love affair I was riding into the first time I sat down on Valencia’s saddle.
See Valencia makes me a little insane. When I ride too fast through traffic, cut through gaps in the gridlocked cars, or fly down San Francisco's rolling hills, I’ve never felt so alive--even though my death could be one wrong turn away.
But more than the rush I get from riding Valencia, she’s given me a whole new point of view. When I'm riding her, I'm on the outside I can see and I’m part of the whole world. It’s calming to feel the wind in my hair and see the ground quickly moving under me. Sometimes I even long for the burn in my legs when climbing up steep hills. I feel a connection with the earthy beauty and simplicity of Valencia’s machinery.
Even though Valencia is fast, she has helped me see the slow life. Notice how there are no bike lanes in fast food restaurants. Because in the slow life we bike to the open air produce stands where a grandma smiles and talks to us in Spanish. We smile back and nod like we understand. In the slow life we ride through the park to smell the pungent eucalyptus trees. In the slow life we’ve escaped out our little boxes and we’re never going back because your dead once you reach your destination, it's the journey that counts.