My Beach Bike

I just read Dr. Hallock’s post below, and I have to say… YES! OK, not so much on the Copenhagen, because Denmark stole my friends and it gets cold there, but everything else, YES!

A move across the bridge offered me almost complete escape from the Men in Tights (OK, they aren’t tights; they’re silly looking spandex bike shorts, but that doesn’t trip off the tongue as easily, does it?), and I have to say, I love St. Pete Bike Club-free living. No offense to those who love to ride, but how are you enjoying yourself?

Sunday morning El Cap and I rode our bikes down to the beach, went for a swim, had breakfast at the Paradise Grill, and rode back home. On our way, we passed two Very Serious Bicyclists. You all know the type: Men in Tights. Stretchy shirts with colorful logos splashed everywhere, expensive water bottles, bikes that push their bums practically past their shoulders as they hunch over their carbon-lithium-titanium-shark’s blood-whatever-framed bicycle. They wear helmets and zip along just fast enough to make sidewalk riding a bad idea but not quite fast enough to avoid pissing off motorists (if you want to hear more about my strong feelings, read the column I wrote a couple years ago)

Now, my bike is not expensive. I mean, it was for me, but I write for a living. I consider water-packed albacore tuna expensive. I paid about $150 for it at Wal-Mart (here’s what it looks like) and I love it. It has a bottle opener on the frame, cup holder, and leather ditty bag. It also has a heavy frame, fat tires, and no gears.

I love my bike. I love living somewhere where I can roll out of bed on a Sunday morning, ride my bike to the beach, have a swim and some eggs, and pedal back home. I don’t give a rat’s red ass how much the frame weighs. I couldn’t tell you a damn thing about the front sprocket. Hell, I doubt I could even identify a sprocket.

The St. Pete Bike Club would laugh at me. But you know what? That’s OK, because I pity them. You see, while they’re racing around town, making excellent time, I’m cruising around, taking it all in, having an excellent time.

Published by


I write. I take pictures. I love my dog. I love Florida. My 2016 book, 'Backroads of Paradise' did really well for the publisher and now I feel a ridiculous amount of pressure to finish the second book.

4 thoughts on “My Beach Bike”

  1. You know, all of these posts about bikes being great for “slowing down, taking it all in” are super for boosting bike tourism. But, just maybe not so much for boosting bike commuting. I don’t really have an opinion on bike shorts (although butt padding is certainly nice on a long ride), but I do have an opinion about heavy-framed bikes with few or (gah!) no gears.

    When I moved to Copenhagen two years ago, I wanted one thing: a beautiful city bike with a basket, the kind that all the beautiful city girls ride. I imagined baguettes and wine and a flowing, flower print dress. (I know: what?) But I was going to be so Euro. So stylish!

    Anyway, fast forward to our first real bike commute, and my first real hint of a hill and a stiff breeze on my Viva Juliet: I actually cried. Why? Not because it was hard, although it was. Not because I didn’t want to; I did. But because my girlfriend, on her red, zippy Centurion city-road hybrid was kicking my ass like I was in pre-school.

    “Do you want to try switching bikes?” she asked. Damnit, I did not. There’s nothing pretty about her bike. It looks like robot puke with a shoe-horn for a seat. But I tried it.

    Currently I ride a red, zippy Centurion city-road hybrid. I made my girlfriend get a new one.

    The point of this long, silly story is that if you’re going to really commute on your bike (as I do, every day) you might want to consider something built for a little more speed. Not necessarily so you can’t see the roses… but just so you don’t feel like hurtling yourself into them when the wind picks up.

  2. Oh, Shelly. I love your writing and I miss sitting in coffee shops and pretending to write. What did you do with the Viva Juliet? ‘Cause that would be fun back here. Clearly I don’t care if my bike has zip.

    Also, I don’t consider an eight-mile ride to the Gabber and back bicycle tourism.

  3. Four miles one way is really not that crazy on a bike. That’s about how far away my office is. No, it’s not tourism; it’s commuting. But think, if you absolutely had to ride a bike that distance for the rest of your life, wouldn’t maybe something a little more efficient be preferable? (Ride something more efficient before you answer that question.)

    Totally not judging your bike. At all. It’s super cool, and suits you and your normal biking needs. You know, when you normally use a car to travel four miles.

    (Admission: I wouldn’t bike everywhere if Denmark had Florida weather. That, I think, is the great accomplishment. Do you think they make bikes with A/C?)

  4. In years of owning cheap, heavy bikes, I have found that I get used to them pretty quick. Remember, I rode the entirety of the Pinellas Trail last year on my POS $90 Wal-Mart bike, and I didn’t feel any worse for the wear.
    My complaint is my lack of fitness, not the bike.

Comments are closed.