Bats & Her Bikes
by That's Bats
Hello people of the internet. Thanks for clicking over and welcome to wherethegirlsgo’s new column “Bikes with Dykes.” As a dyke who rides a bike, I’ve noticed you. Your bike has blue rims that catch the sun and look really rad against the yellow you’ve coated your frame in. Did you paint that yourself? Is the entire bike a DIY custom piece?! Did you notice how your shoelaces match your grips? I bet you did. It’s working; I’m intrigued.
My bike isn’t fancy. Yours might be, or it could be a relic like mine. Either way, I want to know the story of your bike. Why do you cast a long look back after affixing your u-lock Friday night when you know you’ll need luck and karma for your rear wheel to still be there when you next lay eyes on your sweet ride?
I’m on Bike 3.3. Bike 1.0 was a baby blue Raleigh mountain bike, repeatedly sabotaged by neighborhood kids before being stolen out of the back of my truck one night. We had some good times together. She was my coaster when I was a beach bum in Florida and my commuter during the lean grad school years. We were hit by cars three times and she saw me through my first and only rage fit where I chucked her into a tree after alcohol and women broke my mind, the first time.
A Craigslist rant brought me Bike 2.0 (interjection, I know some people name their bikes. I’m a nerd so it amuses me to have a bike version history). Bike 2.0 was a Langston Specialized fixed gear/single speed reversible rear wheel in cherry red with track tires. She was too sophisticated for a gutter rider like me and I rode her too hard on DC’s pockmarked streets. Both tires went flat right around the time a relationship went flat, so I read too much into it and sold her to someone who would appreciate her more and obtained Bike 3.0.
Bikey 3.0 is a 1980 something Univega in aquamarine. She became Bikey 3.1 when I replaced the tires whose whitewalls had gone to rot and became Bikey 3.2 when the rear wheel was stolen (while she was locked to the front porch - the audacity!). I filled the gaping maw with a wheel from an 18 speed, which my 21 speed gear set-up isn’t keen on so I don’t shift and ride her in high gear, standing while I pump the hills.
I’ve come into possession of another bike (Project 1.0), also in aquamarine, with horizontal drop-outs that I want to convert into a proper single speed this winter. So if you’re out, I’ll be the bemused dyke with scraped knuckles who wants to borrow a chain breaking tool and all your knowledge, ‘cause I’m kind of a noob.
I need your help to tell the stories of the bikes beloved (or be-hated!) by their dykes. Leave me a comment below and I’ll be in contact. We can talk dykes, bikes, and everything in between.