Adventures in Frenemies

Meet Esmeralda. She’s been in my life for 3 days now. I’d like to say that we hit it off right away, but I can’t. I can’t even say that we have a love/hate relationship. Instead, it seems as though we’ve settled into some sort of twisted Junior High rendition of “You’re nice an’ all, but I hate you anyway” relationship.

Esmeralda: She’s nice an’ all, but I hate her anyway.

You see, she is really nice. She’s lightweight, smooths out the bumps in the roads, and is very shiny. Sources (i.e. a Google search for ‘what the heck should I look for when buying a bike?’) tell me that she has good brakes, and other fine qualities. I’m sure if we had met under other circumstances, (like if she was someone else’s bike) we would have gotten along famously. In fact, I really liked her when we met – as long as she still belonged to the bike shop. However, just minutes after making the purchase, she reminded me that she was, in fact, a mountain bike.

I hate mountain bikes.

Mountain bikes and I have had our moments. I’ve explored the volcanic Korean island of Jeju on a mountain bike (making up many new curse words along the way). I’ve seen the Cambodian countryside and the splendors of Angkor Wat on a mountain bike (what a delightfully flat country!) More recently (yesterday, in fact) I discovered a  friendly northern Thai sausage vendor because I was on my mountain bike. It hasn’t been all bad. 

In fact, coming home today, with a bag of recently purchased sour-pork sausages dangling from my handlebars, I came close to reconciling my relationship with Esmeralda. As I glided smoothly along my lane, a super decked-out uber-cyclist came from the opposite direction. He looked completely at home on his mountain bike, while I was still feeling like a bit of a cycling fraud. Apparently, he didn’t realize I wasn’t really a mountain biker, because he rang his little bell and smiled at me, as though we really were fellow travelers in a mountain bike world.  A warm glow enveloped me, and I smiled broadly, thinking maybe I really did belong…then I nearly ran myself into a bush.

The trouble is, no matter how much I’d like to think I’m all mountain bike-y and awesome, my dorky little heart belongs to bikes like these:

I wonder what’s become of this sweet ride. Seriously, look at the chain guard. It says ‘sweet’.

So, if anyone wants to take Esmeralda off my hands, and save her from a litany of imaginary curse words in the coming weeks, give me a call. She’s for sale.