I am psyched to call my self a bike punk finally. Even if I am a giant poser. You see, I’ve wanted to be more of a bike rider since I moved out of my parents house. I just happen to keep moving to the suburbs a lot and buying a house, keeping a corporate job, blah blah blah. And though the deep inspiration (read:guilt) I felt the night I saw World/Inferno Friendship Society in the basement of Al Fishway in Washington DC. They introduced their song “Thumb Cinema” with a tale of some punks in San Jose screaming “BIKE PUNK” when they played at a bike collective. I felt left out. I drove to the show in my car. I wanted to be a bike punk.
The freedom of riding a bike is the only freedom I have ever known outside of riding a skateboard. As it stands I can not skateboard any longer due to a bunch of head shots and unending vertigo. So biking is about the only shot I have at finding that freedom. So here I sit, nearly $700 dollars later new bike and more debt. Some punk I know, but sometimes the financial hit is the only thing that makes me commit. I have to earn it. Besides I am a suburbanite all my life. Suburban Punk through and through.
So today was my first real bike day. After a trip to the bike store again to get helmet, pump, lock and gloves I headed home as fast as my car and traffic would allow and rocked it into the basement. I attached the hand pump and slapped on my helmet and headed out to the first and best destination I could think of, the Library. After all, this whole process is about changing my life, getting exercise, readjusting my perspective on the world and finding that calm abiding that my life in front of screens so severely lacks.
Let me tell you what, riding on the streets is scary as fuck. I still don’t have the whole direction of riding down. Some people say you should ride against traffic so you can see ahead of you, but that just seems like certain suicide. I rode with traffic on my short 1.2 mile trek down the road. The cars passing me at top speeds all seemed to veer away from me as they passed, but the sounds of the engines and tires moving behind me honestly made me pedal a bit more then I really wanted to. I have always respected my many friends who live on bikes in DC. And while I have heard terrible and many stories of accidents they have incurred at the hands of motorists, I truly am beginning to understand the danger they put themselves in day in and day out. I think in the suburbs I am probably a lot better, but I am definitely not going to be hitting unknown streets until I feel a little more attentive and alert.
I arrived safely at my destination, a bit winded (did I mention I am an out of shape, pudgey fat ass?) but sweaty and stoked. I hooked up my bike to the bike rack (how awesome are libraries?) outside and headed in to return my borrowed wares. After wandering around and picking up a few items (McMafia by Misha Glenny and Me of Little Faith by Lewis Black) (I really like the paranthesis in this paragraph, don’t I?) and I checked out. The sky outside was ominus, dark, thick gray clouds rumbling quickly above. Oh yes, another challenge for this cherry popped biker. Needless to say that my ride back was a lot quicker then my ride to. But I pulled up to my quaint little townhouse just as the first big drops of rain started to fall. I was victorious.
I have not felt this level of physical exhilerance outside of the bedroom in a long time. I was out of breath and tired and I think I ate like a million bugs, but I totally felt alive, like my body had a purpose. Each momevent of my legs felt like an accomplishment against every day I have lived over the last nine years in a way. I was free to go and do anything, without the rules and expectations that mundane life brings. There is no pathway beaten out for me. I can go anywhere there is land, so long as my lungs take in air and my water bottle still has water.
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This is my Bike Punx Mix Volume One Made off the Top of my head:
1. Bikeage – Descendents
2. Thumb Cinema – The World/Inferno Friendship Society
3. Bike Test 1 2 3 – Bomb the Music Industry
4. Of Chivalry and Romance in a Dumpster – This Bike is a Pipe Bomb
5. Bike and Bridges – Defiance, Ohio
6. Some Sinatra – The Secret Stars
7. Not a Track Bike (Live) – Thorns of Life
8. Pajammin – Good Luck
9. Bike Song – Zegota