This morning I rode to work with a new set of handle bars wedged between my backpack and shoulders, the plan being to hit up the Bike Church (http://www.santacruzhub.org/bikechurchfrm.html) in the afternoon and replace the old ones. It felt awkward but good, not so much because this was the first piece of new bicycle equipment I've been able to afford in a while but because I'd managed to carry it across town with relative ease.
Next to getting a little sweaty, transporting groceries and other miscellaneous goods is a common excuse I hear from folks who don't ride. I recall how a couple of years ago, a veterinarian friend asked innocently, "But how do you get the kitty litter home?"
"Saddle bags if it's a small box, my bike trailer if it's a large one," I said or something like that.
To be fair, there's always a certain level of improvising that comes with transporting items on a bike, but that's what makes riding so enjoyable. Many a' time I've carried a bag of spinach tied to the shoulder straps of a backpack full of groceries and few pounds more in a saddle bag. Heavy? Yup. Difficult to ride? A little. Worth the hassle? Fuck yeah.
Compare this to everything else in modern life that places comfort and convenience above creativity and resourcefulness. Evidence? Exhibit A: a gourmet S'mores kit http://www.chefsresource.com/goskit.html - I rest my case.
The other thing people forget about riding a bike is that it automatically makes you think twice before bringing something home that you didn't plan to (or don't need). An impulsive purchase of a brand new singing rainbow trout on clearance at the mall is pretty much out of the question. (Of course, most bike punks wouldn't be caught dead in a shopping mall in the first place).
This is all to say it felt real sweet this morning to once again go about life without feeling dependent on a car. And to think, only yesterday I spotted a woman riding with a painting carefully hung from her backpack. Brilliant!