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.