A Girl and Her Bike
You see, I just bought a pretty neat bike after five-point-five years of living here and after seven years of not riding a bike. It’s true what they say, you never do forget how to ride a bike. Yet, every day I seem to forget just how awful the hills are here, which is why I waited so long to actually purchase a bike. Bus Nerd, also a regular bike-ist, helped me pick one out, and showed me how to use the bus bike rack. However, I can no longer enjoy reading on my bus rides to work because I’m so intently staring out the windshield, my eyes plastered to the handlebars, waiting for them to disappear from sight so I can begin to panic. (What are the stats on the bike racks failing anyway?) The time there was already a bike on the rack when the bus pulled to my stop made me have a minor heart attack. But I know I’m doing it right. It’s not hard.
My bike weighs approximately one ounce, and I’m able to hoist it over my shoulder and up and down the stairs of train stations while in heels with ease. The biggest problem I have is that my purse slides off my arm while I’m bending and squatting. Last night, my helmet tumbled out of my basket and down the flight of stairs. I ran after it, bike still over my shoulder, in platform shoes. And also, the train was coming. But I made it, because I’m pretty fucking awesome.
Anyway, that’s not the point of all this, just the setup; I’m using the bus and train with my bike now, going to two jobs and all that. One of my jobs is in the beauty industry, which requires that I look like I give a shit, which often means dresses and heels. I went out and bought some bike shorts and everything to accommodate the leg-lift kick-back maneuver I need to do in order to get on the damn thing. (Tangent: WTF is up with gendered bikes? Bike shorts sorta render the crossbar/step-through issue irrelevant.)
Well apparently, my mode of dress, plus bikes and transit, confuses the shit out of some men. Or maybe it doesn’t confuse them, but alters their brains in such a way (braaaaaains) that they end up needing to be heroes or something, as though I look totally fucking helpless hauling ass up the stairs with a bike on my back. Also, I’ve only owned the bike for a week, which means that these things happened pretty much in a row. So I’m still righteously indignant, pissed, and pseudo-feminist about it. (This is totally a feminist-type equality issue, but it’s one of the bitchiest kind.)
When I shared this story at the bar, my friend Hill said he was just being nice. You know what would have actually been nice? Not fucking up my transfer and costing me two dollars.
Public Service Announcement: If you don’t know how it does, then don’t fucking try to help someone who does know how it does, and also, is capable of raising a bike overhead and slamming it down on top of you. Not that I did this, but I wanted to, really badly. I’m pretty sure a bike is not considered a deadly weapon, nor vehicular homicide, but I don’t really want to learn about that on my way to work.
What is going on here? Actually, don’t answer that, because it’s this: Under the guise of “nice,” people are acting as though a woman can’t handle a bicycle, or possibly life. It’s a shitty assumption because it’s not true, but also because the niceness is false as well. Real nice people would ask if one needed assistance before touching things or costing someone money. Real nice people would keep an eye out if something falls over, or if someone is injured and then offer help. Once, I was in Minneapolis with Bus Nerd, and this kid on the train had a coffee and was trying to hook his bike up to the wall rack with one hand. Bus Nerd asked if the kid needed help, and then held the coffee cup while everything else was squared away. That is nice. Notice how Bus Nerd didn’t just grab the bike from him and hook it up himself as if the kid was a total fucking idiot. Also, that kid actually did need assistance. What’s going on here isn’t nice, it’s assumptive and projecting. And I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t happen to a man with a bike. Especially if that man was wearing a skirt.
TL;DR: Fuck off, don’t touch my shit. I got it.
*Okay, fine. Some. These three at least.