Biking Montreal: Riding My Husband’s Bike

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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:

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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.

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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.

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