By: Shanna Nguyen
Issue date: 10/31/07 Section: Features
They say you never forget how to ride a bicycle. I know in my experience I still ride with the same ferocious, precocious attitude I had when I first received my first bike at age 7. It was a lavender two-wheeler with streamers on the handlebars and a plate on the front that had a picture of the Ewoks, those cuddly critters.
Recently I relocated to Connecticut and was not able to bring my bicycle. The first few weeks here without one were torture. I was delighted to receive my new folding bike in the early fall. At just under $200, I got a nice bike that meets all of my needs. It was made by Citizen Bikes and has 20-inch wheels, six speeds, a suspension frame, and folds up for convenient storage in the corner of my room. This feature makes it virtually theft-proof, as I can tuck it away at night far from the greedy sight of bike thieves. There are plenty of ideal spots in Bridgeport where one can enjoy a pleasurable afternoon ride.
Soon after my sleek and shiny new black bike was delivered to me, I took it downtown to the bank to see how it performed. I was elated to jump right on it instead of waiting for the UB shuttle. A few blocks down Broad St., however, I started wondering if this bike could keep up with me. It’s much different from the 18 or 21 speed mountain bike I’m used to. It just doesn’t go as fast as I normally do. It tends to take a little more work from me at intersections. I see I’m going to have to wait for a much bigger space in traffic. This is probably good for my speed racer problem, and I really liked how the angle of the frame of this bike allowed me to sit upright and check everyone out. Also, the bike rack on back, which was included with the bike, allowed me to store my bag.
I took a wonderful ride to the lighthouse at Seaside Park. The best part about the park is that it is virtually without hills, so you can ride the entire two miles without stopping or downshifting. The bike was perfect for a ride like this. Any doubts I had about my bike’s speed were quickly eliminated, as I sped up to a steady clip and cruised past joggers and people playing volleyball next to the bike path. The whole time I was surrounded by nature’s beauty. I took in the waves, the seagulls, and the rays of the sun on a flawless day. It was incredible.
Deciding to ride a bike instead of driving is obviously good for the environment and reduces traffic. It has its other perks. Riding a bike will make you look cool. Riding a bike will make you more popular with your peers. I already made a couple of new friends in my dorm who also have bikes, and we have plans to go out soon and check out the east half of Bridgeport soon. Most importantly, riding a bike lends you absolute freedom, allowing you to get out there and see the world.