I would like, if I may, to take you on a strange journey.
I’ve been riding the Urbana Bike almost exclusively for the past three weeks to get to and from work, for my medical appointments and grocery store runs. Urbana is a commuter bicycle that’s really fun to ride.
You might recall the Urbana is “obviously a woman’s bike,” according to the German Redhead, because of the lack of a top tube on this bicycle. I disagree and believe step through bikes like this are not just for the likes of Tim Curry dressed in drag.
It took a while, but I finally got used to mounting and dismounting by demurely moving my leg through the open slot of the bike. It’s easy and quick. I can even do a bikey Time Warp Dance on the Urbana with a little jump to the left and a step to the right as I bring my knees in tight. I stop at the pelvic thrust of insanity because that’s getting just a little more intimate with my bike than I like.
This morning, I rode my go fast road bicycle. It has skinny tires, 30 speeds, a light weight carbon fiber frame and fork, 20 spoke wheels, “Zertz” seat stay inserts, and other gee whiz space age technology for fast, fun en danseuse cycling. When you look carefully at the product image of this bike below, you might notice another important feature of this bike: a top tube.
The top tube of a bicycle adds rigidity to the bike frame. “Girls bikes” without a top tube must be much heavier than a traditional triangle frame because extra tube thickness must be added to keep the frame from flexing unreasonably.
The top tube also necessitates a different style of mounting and dismounting the bike. This crotch height obstruction means a cyclist must swing a leg up and over to mount the bike. This is obvious to even newbie cyclists, but it’s surprising how habit forming a step through frame can become.
When I arrived at the office this morning, I tried to dismount as if the top tube wasn’t there. I released my right shoe cleat from the pedal, moved my right leg to the left and was confused by the obstruction stopping my thigh. My right foot, however, continued through on it’s journey to meet the ground on the left side of my bike, while my left foot was still connected to the left pedal.
As you can imagine, hilarity ensued for the voyeuristic bystander observing my awkward stance. I’m sure I looked as if I was spaced out and under sedation when I pretzled my legs through the front triangle and toppled over with an insane pelvic thrust in my abortive Time Warp dance with the pavement.
Hot patootie, bless my soul, I really love that girls’ bike form. Some people consider it transsexual; I think it’s just practical.
Random Six Degrees of Trivia: My best friend from high school is married to the daughter of Anne Francis.