Biking Montreal: Riding My Husband’s Bike
Once a week my husband meets us at Arlo’s school and takes the kids on an afternoon adventure. Since the winter’s thaw, this usually means we swap bikes for a couple of hours.
Kris’s bike is different. For reference:
My bike comes with two kids and 70 extra pounds, his bike comes with a lock so complicated and a fear of theft so deeply instilled that I have to send him a photo of engaged lock to ensure its correct application. His bike also comes with spiky clip-pedals, an imbalanced saddle-bag, no rear-view mirror and general discomfort. But who cares, the bike is his and it is perfect for him and I will ride the hell out of it once a week because I ride alone. What is more remarkable than riding a bike alone however is the experience of riding a bike alone; absolutely no one gives a crap about The Single Adult Bicyclist.
As I mentioned in Evolution of a Risk-Adverse Mother, my kids and I bike around with everyone smiling at us. People point and say things like “Vous êtes courageux!” We get a wide berth coming and going and while I never fall lax on safety, neither have I felt threatened by another driver or cyclist.
I have the opposite experience riding my husband’s bike. I suddenly am one of thousands in the Great Bike Blur down Any Street, Montreal. I turn aggressive, having to “Hey! Hey! HEY!” both pedestrians and drivers by the time I’ve reached my first red light. “I’m riding here!” This is the kind of city cycling I was afraid of – defensive cycling. It’s like the smaller I am, the bigger the target — or the more invisible I should say. The kids and I are highly visible what with our adorable balloon flags and our 20-foot-biking-system. But if you blink after checking your blind spot, I, Single Adult Cyclist, am in real danger. I’ve seen more near-misses than I care to think about while riding my husband’s bike and now that’s all I think about.
My husband is a full-time bike commuter, even in the winter.
He is a bolder and more confident biker than I will ever be. His bike is perfect for him but please, watch out for him. Look out for him. Notice him. He refuses to bike with adorable balloon flags attached.