Tuesday, July 19, 2011
Salt Air and Seagulls
On beach vacations I am enamored by the beach cruisers everyone seems to own. People ride lazily by me with their towel/water/book in the front wicker basket, on bikes of every color. Many have flowers painted on the frames, or they have baskets lined with colorful fabric, or they have old-fashioned bike bells that chirp happily at me as they pass.
Mostly, I wonder about these people who own these bikes. To me, if you own a beach cruiser, it says a lot about your life. And I want that life! Let me explain.
A beach cruiser is not built for speed. It is clunky and has only one gear. It is meant for strolling – cruising - on the boardwalk while you watch the waves. Or it takes you on back streets toward the outdoor café where you park and sip a latte. Owning a beach cruiser means you have time to appreciate the small stuff.
Beach cruisers almost always have a basket on the front, which means when you ride one, you might be away from home for several hours. These baskets can hold your beach items or your picnic lunch or your dog, or can include your groceries when you have errands to run. A basket on your bike means you have things to do, but they’re enjoyable things. You won’t see a briefcase in a beach cruiser’s basket.
The owners of beach cruisers love their bikes and bedeck them to show their personalities. Local bike stores will carry every possibly color and style of basket, basket liner, helmet, bell, drink holder, and streamers – I have seen drink holders covered in plastic flowers, helmets painted with polka dots, and even small colorful flowers you can clip to your handlebars. Beach cruiser owners like embellishments, but they are simple ones, not flashy. Their focus is on fun.
This weekend we were in Coronado and I jealously watched these bike owners and almost bought a colorful bell to attach to my bike back in Vegas. But it wouldn’t be the same. A beach cruiser in the desert doesn’t make sense. It needs salt air and the sound of seagulls. And I guess, so do I.