Question: at what age is it socially acceptable to have a mid-life crisis?
I ask because that seems like the only reasonable explanation for what I did last weekend.
I feel that I can share with you, the loyal readers of Victoria Buzz, my deepest shames. So it is with great humility that I offer this, my come to Jesus moment, my Kanye West overshare, my sudden, Daniel Radcliffe turn to onstage nudity at an artsy theatre show. My confession.
I bought a bicycle on Sunday.
There is, I admit, a functional aspect to this, and it’s not just the perk of feeling eco-morally superior (though I absolutely DO, you Captain Planet villain knockoffs; taste the power of HEART). I have needed a more flexible, affordable form of transportation for a while, and vehicle insurance being what it is, a car was not in the cards. This bicycle will get me around town far better than a fleet of busses running on “Island Time” ever could.
But that being said, I really don’t have an excuse for buying the bike that I did.
This gloriously retro-looking beast of impracticality is a Velo Glide Ultra, from Harley-Davidson. I am told, based solely on two articles published in the late 90s from motorcycle magazines, that these beauties were designed in partnership between the famous motorcycle manufacturer and GT Bicycles.
By their powers combined, they produced a limited run of these Velo Glides, with the Ultra going for $2,499. American. In 1999 dollars.
Now I want to make a few things clear, especially as we live in a city where leaving your bike outside is basically like leaving a pile of non-sequential $20s on the floor of a mobster convention: this bicycle is not worth upwards of $2,500.
I did not pay anywhere close to that. If I one day sell it again, I expect to get even less. So please put away the bolt cutters and the lockpicks, and step away from the Victoria Buzz office, I am not here to swing my wealth dick around. Remember the part about my lack of car affordability?
No, I share the history of the Velo Glide just to drive home how utterly, ridiculously impractical this monster is, aside from looking cool and getting me to and from my job. And maybe the beach. But not if there’s sand on the path.
But dammit I WANTED IT.
Maybe it’s an effect of the Doom Plague, that drove me to just need to have something pretty in my life for 10 effing minutes. A desperate need for sheer, stupid materialism and just a taste of adventure and normalcy.
The journey to retrieve the bike was part of that; the seller was in Sooke and let me tell you, folks, taking transit out that way is a freaking PILGRIMAGE. I felt like I should have packed a lunch, or maybe a team of Sherpas.
And having retrieved and immediately fallen in love with my Velo Glide, the journey back was all the more arduous, despite the encouragement I got from an actual Harley Biker (I swear I am not making this up; he passed me at the bus stop and raised a fist in salute and I grew three inches taller right then and there).
Have you ever used the bike rack on a BC Transit bus? If so, how did you not have a panic attack?
Look, I am sure there are smart, intelligent people behind the engineering of these racks. All the same, a single retractable fork thingie being all that stands between my precioussss and the open road is a little unnerving.
So there I sat, on the upper deck of the #50 back into town, white knuckles clenched around the bar below the front window, staring down at my extravagant bicycle as though it were only kept in place by my sheer willpower.
As we hit unfinished portions of roadwork, gravel spitting up into the frame, I had to fight the urge to scream “SOOKE POTHOLES IS A PROVINCIAL PARK, NOT A METHOD OF DRIVING.”
And yet that absurd, anxiety-fuelled drive back to Victoria was probably the most fun I’ve had in months.
Maybe it’s not a mid-life crisis then, so much as a global crisis and a reactive spirit craving any kind of change.
In that regard, perhaps it’s not crazy at all to buy a vanity bicycle that will only get used for short-haul rides downtown.
And so, as I set out on my first trip, I yielded the pathway leading up to my bike racks, riding onto the grass to allow free passage to a gentleman who snarled “ride on the street, asshole,” and felt my heart swell with pride.
Truly, I have joined Victoria’s bicycle culture.
Welcome to Ford on Fridays: a weekly column where Victoria Buzz staff writer Tim Ford offers his thoughts on life, love, and the pursuit of the perfect joke.
This column is for comedic purposes only. Please feel free to send feedback, thoughts, and [constructive] criticisms to email@example.com.