Let Me Take Your Bike

There are several ways to keep your bike from being stolen. My favorite is to leave it in the basement. There, it seems a great many spiders have enjoyed it, and since many is more than one, I hate to take it away from them. Other people employ alternate methods that rely on first inflating the tires and purchasing locks.

There are many reasons why I’m envious of these bicyclists, not least of which is the possibility of enjoying thighs a la Lance Armstrong. When I last rode a bike regularly, I was in college, weighed 100 pounds, wore dresses from the 1950s, with combat boots from the 1970s, and smoked cigarettes, all simultaneously.  I’d like to pretend that I was cute at it, but I also don’t have any photographs to prove otherwise. (If you happen to be someone who does, please keep them to yourself.) Hypothetically, riding a bike means freedom from gasoline (and gas prices), exercise, fresh air and some communion with postwar European films. In practice, pedaling a bike up a hill sucks, especially when trying to keep your hair from blowing into a lit cigarette.

All manner of people ride bikes in San Francisco and the Bay Area. Truly impressive feats of physics, getting up and down ridiculously steep hills and hairpin turns overlooking sharp drops. I cannot understand how so many people, of all shapes and sizes, start their day with a 45 degree angle. I tip my well-worn Italian fedora to you, Bay Area cyclists.

In this greenest of green locales, bike culture is generally supported and encouraged. A few Berkeley restaurants and shops even advertise 10%-20% off for patrons arriving via bicycle.

Incidentally,  I wonder how much you could take off the cost of your tempeh burger showing up with your buddies on this:

Physical inabilities aside, I think the worst part about riding a bike is actually parking a bike. Assuming the proposition of balancing your groceries on two wheels through traffic doesn’t bother you, what about the prospect of walking all your groceries home while also dragging a gutted bike carcass?  Bike thieves are fast. I would love to have a beautiful Victoria Classic Velorbis, or any bike advertised being pedaled in heels, but Snell if I’m going to drop $1,795 just to return to the bike rack to find this:

I recently heard about a fantastic solution to this problem. Not expensive locks, not band stickers or duct tape. Ready? Bike Valets.

Hearing those two words together resulted in the same cocked-head, confused, is-this-a-joke look as when I first heard of Ethiopian restaurants in the late 80s.

So…how does that work?

I imagine that in New York, if your bike has been taken by someone, it looks like this when you try to get it back:

But in the Bay Area, it looks like this:

It makes so much sense, but like with anything else in California, I don’t really understand.

Bike valets are increasingly available at large public events, like concerts and green markets. So this weekend, when you ride over to the marina to see the fireworks, you will be able to park your bike away from the crowds and enjoy your Anchor Steam and It’s Its with free hands. But don’t forget, in a town where legalized marijuana can be delivered to your home, you can still get a D.U.I. while riding your bike, so you may need a designated driver.


5 responses to “Let Me Take Your Bike

  1. Great commentary once again! But SNELL if I’m going to let you link to Lance Armstrong’s thighs without a competing photo of my own. Excuse me while I go and get my camera.

  2. Bring it, Annie Leibovitz.

  3. davida brautman

    Does that group actually get that vehicle anywhere? Only in America, bike valets, but it does give you food for thought. Skate board valets, scooter valets, cane valets? And it isn’t just post war films – Jules and Jim – best bicycle scene ever!!!

  4. Hello from biking Lund (3 bikes stolen and counting). Saw a couple of the multibikes last week in Berlin – one was being used as a bachelor party drinking vehicle! Berlin is flat so I guess that works! Bike valet? Who has the time for that? The advantage of a bike is being able to park it wherever you like in speedy abandonment!

    • I used to see the multibikes around Rockefeller Center, usually captained by a very fit, young “people person” and crewed by a doughy gaggle who think that flip flops make for sound biking-walking-shopping-and-dining-in-Manhattan gear.
      Thanks too, JS, for the nod to my 1st cassingle, “Speedy Abandonment”, now being rereleased on Blu-Ray.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s