Fitting In, or, Cycle Cliques

When I was riding home in the rain this evening, I had a total high school moment – there I was, wearing my big blue poncho with rain drops speckling my clear glasses, when a trio of young, well-dressed, fashionable women waltzed past under their equally fancy umbrellas. I felt about as uncool as I felt in junior high and high school, when the cool girls would breeze right past me.

You know you are jealous of my big blue poncho....

You know you are jealous of my big blue poncho….


Memories of awkwardness in 1000 pages…

I guess I’m feeling sensitive this week because my parents just shipped my junior high and high school yearbooks to me, and flipping through the pages reminds me of how dorky I was, and how many cliques there were in my high school  – the cheerleader girls, the arts department girls, the Goth girls, and so on, the “in” crowds I never fit into.

And there I was, on the sidelines, doing my own, unique brand of unusual…

1985, 1986, and Senior Year, 1990 (with bonus baby picture!)

1985, 1986, and Senior Year, 1990 (with bonus baby picture!)

I spent the rest of my ride home reminding myself of the fact that it’s far more important to me to be my own self, than to fit in.

Oh you know, just another day at the office... (okay, theater...)

Oh you know, just another day at the office… (okay, theater…)

However…. it also made me think about the Bike World, and how there are just as many cliques in cycling – roadies, mountain bikers, urban/messenger cyclists, lady cyclists, commuters, etc. Lady Fleur talks about “bicycle tribes” in a recent post on her blog, “One Woman. Many Bicycles.” She points out that she belongs to many tribes, and I must as well, since I have more than one style of bike. But is it important to belong to a tribe, or clique?

Well, no, obviously. But, as much as I enjoy my uniqueness, there is still a degree of wanting to be around others like me. It’s human nature, whether I like it or not. I don’t really want to belong to a “women who bike” clique but I love that shops like Pedal Chic exist, sell products I love, host cycling weekly cycling events, etc. (I would probably hang out there often, if I lived in Greenville!) They have categories as well, one for each cycling type/tribe/clique. It’s hard to get away from classification.

CAD Costume Design Workshop, early 1990s. Going my own way...

CAD Costume Design Workshop, early 1990s. Going my own way…

In Arlington, there are fewer women on bikes to begin with. I saw two women today, both in gym clothes with long blonde ponytails, riding hybrid-type “city” bikes. Nope, don’t fit into that clique. I wish there were more women like me, on funkier bikes, in everyday clothes, with fashionable panniers and baskets. I have only seen one other woman with Basil panniers, a mom with her husband and three kids, all on bikes – I don’t fit that clique either, although I quizzed them about their bakfiets. I certainly see more women on bikes when I’m in DC, so I guess the trick is, bike more often in DC! Then I’ll fit in better with the “in” crowd – until I need to be ME again and come home to Arlington!

Now THIS is my clique!

Now THIS is my clique!

And I have to add, my high school angst dissipated when I flew past the gridlocked cars on my way home. Being unique had its advantages once again!



Money Buys Me Happiness

We all know the saying – “Money can’t buy happiness.” And maybe for some people, that is true. But it’s not for me!

I recently purchased a new bike pannier/tote bag from Basil, and I couldn’t be happier! The zipper on my regular big pannier broke, so I used the opportunity to get the Basil Jada Shopper I’ve been eyeing for ages, but couldn’t justify buying. But with the busted zipper, well…. Perfect opportunity!IMG_4582

I was a bit worried that the bag wouldn’t be big enough, so I was impressed when it arrived, and it is actually bigger than I expected! Thank goodness, because I had to haul alot of stuff in the last two days.

The first day I used the bag to take sewing stuff to work

The first day I used the bag to take sewing stuff to work

Today I had to bring home a ton of files

Today I had to bring home a ton of files

It has really long shoulder straps, which is the best part, because now I actually can take the bag off my bike and throw it over my shoulder and go. My others had super short handles that were not the best for that. The pannier clips have a nicely fitted cover that zips over them, with an additional Velcro security strap. BVasil Side ViewClose Velcro

The outside pockets are numerous and handy, especially the gusseted zip-and-velcro one in the front. Basil Zipper Pocket

“But how does it work on the bike?!”

Cropped BikeAction BikeGreat! I’ve only used it two days so far, but I love it! (how do you like my beloved Cole Haan reflective oxfords? Totally my new go-to shoes!)

So money has bought me happiness in the form of a functional yet fashionable bike bag I can take anywhere! It’s also bought me those red shoes, my spearmint cords (love them too!), and these cute owl sandwich bags from Target: IMG_4643

See how easy it is to make me happy?

What have you bought recently that makes you totally happy and is worth the price? Bike-related or otherwise?