Wednesday, October 7, 2015

A fish without a bicycle

Our rental house comes with two bicycles. Two rather old, clunky, and beat-up bicycles, but they are bicycles, nonetheless.

I finally got around to asking our landlady the combination for the locks. I had to pump up the tires, and clean off the dusty seat, but now here's a bicycle to ride!

New Orleans is a good town for bicycles, because it's so flat. There's hardly a rise in level - only man-made bridges to span railroad tracks. You see lots of people riding bikes in the Bywater, Marigny and the French Quarter, because bikes can move more nimbly through the narrow streets than cars can. Even so, it's a little tricky, since the streets are in such poor condition, with wheel-warping potholes everywhere. Also, New Orleans drivers are terrible, so you have to be careful.

I'm a little rusty on the bike. No, I'm a LOT rusty on the bike. I last rode a bike maybe twenty years ago (Yes, now I remember, because the bike I owned in Seattle got moved to Los Angeles and I didn't ride it ONCE the whole time I was there.)

And the bike I had in Seattle was brand new, sleek and in great shape (then!), not a heavy, fat-tired old clunker.

So I'm taking it easy at first. I rode up and down my block a few times. Then I ventured out on Chartres Street to ride the half block to the ramp up to the park. I faltered on the ramp - hmmm, a HILL! - but then I got up to the smooth new pavement of Crescent Park.

I rode down to the Piety Street bridge - that's seven blocks! Then I turned around and went back. By the time I was home, I was red-faced and huffing a bit.

But it sure felt good! I just need to practice. Pretty soon I can ride down to the French Quarter!


smalltownme said...

Good for you! I have not been on my bike since my youngest started out-riding me. You give me inspiration. That's just delightful that your house came with bikes.

Karen (formerly kcinnova) said...

Hooray for bikes! I live in a city with pot-holed streets and can vouch for the importance of fat tires. Now if only I had a bike where I could sit up straight instead of hunch over handlebars... that one looks rather good to me!

PS: This reminds me that I probably forgot to tell you that I finished reading Chris Rose's book, 1 Dead in Attic. I'm really glad I read it and wonder how he is doing now. (The connection here is riding a bicycle through NOLA.)

David Duff said...

But, er, does it actually have any brakes? I couldn't see any.

Glennis said...

The red bike has coaster brakes, David.

David Duff said...

"Coaster brakes"?

Sorry but it's over 60 years since I last rode a bike. Please don't bother to explain, I have just looked them up and my brain is aching already. My advice is wear stout shoes so that as a last resort you can always stick your feet down on the ground. Mind you, given that NO seems to be as 'flat as a witch's tit' there's not much chance of you achieving high speed.

Anonymous said...

Topanga is certainly no place for a duffer to ride bikes. Maybe one of those athlete types.
I'm enjoying seeing NO through your writing.