A note from a bikeable newbie

I have the pleasure of working with Alison and on learning about our bikeable passions, I encouraged her to write for Bikeable Jo. Thank you Alison and RIP Danger.

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This past (glorious) summer, I made good on a promise long since made by me to me. I got a bike. Secondhand, which means that it was pre-loved, and now re-loved by me.

Pink, with a slightly rusty chain and quite a few rust marks on the frame, I was delighted. But there was a bit of anxiety lurking underneath all the giddiness. You can’t walk around this gorgeous city and not be a little worried about taking from two legs to two wheels. Edinburgh is a town full of cobble-stones, hills, angry taxi drivers (and lovely ones), risk-taking pedestrians, buses, tram-works, rain, hail, sleet, and snow. But I was determined to persevere.

I de-rusted the chain, after some advice from a friendly cyclist friend. I bought a permanent marker, and covered the rust spots with girly doodles of flowers and such which were impressive in their enthusiasm if not their execution. And then I took to the streets of Edinburgh, and re-discovered the sheer joy of cycling.

I mean, on my re-loved bike I re-found my flipping childhood. Wind in my hair, white knuckles as I gripped the handle speeding down a particularly adventurous hill (dreading having to cycle up it later), and that swooping feeling in my stomach, the will to say ‘Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee’. It was fabulous.

I briefly left Edinburgh (and my bike, newly named ‘Danger’ as an ironic nod to the complete safety of a pink bike covered in drawn-on flowers) to head on holidays to San Francisco. My newfound biking enjoyment encouraged me to cycle over the Golden Gate Bridge, something I previously would have been to chicken to try. I do not hesitate in saying that this day, spent laughing and two-wheeling my way over an iconic landmark, getting sunburnt, and tired, and sore, and dirty, was the very best of the entire fortnight.

Unfortunately (gut-wrenchingly, heart-breakingly), upon my return I found that Danger had been taken from my stairwell, where he was locked up securely. Someone (I curse him or her or them) had noticed my bike, and no doubt realised it hadn’t moved in a week. Along they came with an angle grinder, and left only two halves of my beaten lock behind them…

Despite this set-back, I remain determined. I will find another pre-loved bicycle that desires a new owner, and I am saving my shekels so that day comes sooner rather than later.

To anyone contemplating the same step – yes, it’s scary. Yes, cars and buses can slide their eyes right over you without seeing you. Yes, you need to be careful. Yes, your chain will fall off at inconvenient moments.

Worth it. So worth it.

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