When I first bought the bakfiets, a.k.a. the cargo bike, I thought I would get five, maybe six months of the year out of it for massage transportation. But this week—after riding through a minor snowstorm to get to the Dutch Bike store (http://www.dutchbikeco.com/), some seven miles from my home—I had studded tires put on the bakfiets. And now, I’m a two-wheeling massage therapist for all seasons.
No one is more surprised about this than I am. When I left my tomboy childhood, I also left behind any semblance of daring. The thought of riding a bike on snowy, icy streets has always horrified me. What if I slipped on the ice and fell into traffic? This is not the kind of attitude that has gotten Mount Everest climbed or Antartica discovered, that has sent snowboarders hurtling over cliffs or motorcycles sailing across ravines. Of course, I’m not trying to conquer great forces of nature—just Elston Avenue. And now, when I need an intact body to earn my living, risking life and limb for fresh air and a greener form of transportation seemed downright foolhardy.
But then some sort of weird confluence occurred where it seemed like everyone I knew was talking about studded tires for bikes. Okay, so it was Alex at Roscoe Village Bikes (http://www.roscoevillagebikes.com/) and Vince at Dutch Bike. But they were very convincing. And Vince said the bakfiets was great in snow. Because of its weight, it could just plow right through. And then I was thinking about how much I enjoy riding the bakfiets and how much I was missing riding my bike, and the next thing I knew, I was trundling through snow clogged streets to get studded tires. Several guys on road bikes zipped by me, as though the snow was hardly an inconvenience for their skinny tires, but I hardly gave them a thought, amazed as I was that I—scaredy cat me—was riding a bike through the slushy, slippery streets. New flakes pelted my face and eyes, making the trip even slower going, but speed was not the point of this excursion anyway.
Today, I go pick up the bakfiets, with its new studded tires. With these tires and with my new goggles—those flakes felt like little darts zinging my eyes—I am hoping I will become even more intrepid. There may be days yet when the weather interferes with my bringing massage to clients by bike. But there will be far fewer of those than I ever imagined.