I've mentioned before that I feel Houston unfairly gets a bad rap, but one criticism that I believe is well-deserved is the city's really abysmal lack of decent public transportation. As a result, the city is also incredibly difficult to navigate on foot: unless you're in a manicured residential and planned community, there are few safe sidewalks to that will take you from home to business, and often, not even then. So, for these reasons, Houstonians love their cars.
(I've heard tell that the reason that there is no public transportation to speak of is because this oil industry town loves its people to keep buying gasoline for their cars. This seems a bit cynical, but I admit that it's not completely out of the realm of possibility.)
There are some large shopping centres and commercial businesses very close to our home, and every time i get in my car to run a few errands, I feel somewhat silly. Perhaps it's because of my years living in London, but it seems ridiculous to be driving to locations a mere half-mile away; still, walking there really isn't particularly safe, or the routes convenient. And so, a few months ago, I mentioned to Marcus that I wanted a bike.
Marcus, the triathlete, practically screamed with excitement.
"Calm down, Hoss," I immediately clarified. "I have absolutely no inclination to start riding a bike for exercise. I want a touring bike. One that can easily and leisurely get me from A to B. One that is cute, and doesn't require me to break a sweat to use."
If Marcus was disappointed that I wasn't planning on going on his epic 50-mile weekend rides with him, he didn't show it: I think he was just happy I was showing any interest in bicycles at all. And so, when I returned from Dayton, I found this:
"Happy early Mother's Day!" exclaimed Marcus and Alex in unison.
I immediately tried it out, riding the bike around our street that night in stockinged feet, with Marcus making adjustments to the seat height. The next day, we found my old bike helmet and a bell (because, by God, there had to be a bell). Alex christened the bike "Blue Velvet" (I have no clue how she came up with that, but hey, it works), and I was officially ready to go.
Yesterday morning, after dropping Alex off to school, I came home, put on my flow-y-est dress, grabbed my helmet, packed my computer, my camera and my journal into Blue Velvet's panniers, and headed off to my local coffeeshop. The sun was shining, the air was crisp, the sky was completely clear, and there was a song in my heart. I turned my face up toward the breeze, and smiled as I pedaled.
And then the wind took the skirt of my dress and blew it right up over my head.
Note to self: pants.