The Bicycle Diaries by Jess K. '10
Like the motorcycle ones, except far less artsy and with a serious lack of Gael Garc√≠a Bernal.
1. So my sister bought me a bike. It’s a used bike, but it’s still red and shiny, and it works, and I need one because I live as far away from campus as you can possibly get. She rode it over last night and locked it up for me, after which we took the bus to Harvard to see a comedy show. We spent quality sister time together for a bit before I rode the bus back.
2. I am back at the student center, conveniently without my sister, and I find my bike. I take the key out, stick it in the lock, and yank. No luck. I brace myself against the bike rack and jerk the lock upwards, almost pulling the plastic part off the metal (it is a U-Lock, even though it’s chaining up a bike that was only $20). It is after midnight. A few people walk by and I wonder vaguely how much it looks like I am stealing this bike. I decide probably a lot, because even though I look like (and am) a fairly non-threatening awkward Asian girl I am yanking at a valuable chained object with a half-ripped “HARVARD POLICE DEPARTMENT” sticker on it. I continue to yank.
3. Victory! The lock comes off!
4. There’s a little black plastic part on the main bar of the bike where I assume the lock is supposed to go while you are riding the bike. Again, another good ten minutes (during which I probably could have made it home on foot) are spent trying to jam the lock into the holder.
“Hey Unni, how are you supposed to put the lock in the holder?”
“You slide it in.”
“I am sliding it in.”
“Hold it so it looks like a U, not a horseshoe, and slide it in. There’s a notch.”
“It’s not sliding in.”
“You’re probably trying to jam it in. Slide it in.”
“I AM sliding it!”
“Do you see the notch? Slide the notch in.”
“I’M SLIDING THE NOTCH IN.”
“Hold it like a-”
“I AM SLI- oh, there’s a NOTCH. Thanks, Unni. Good night.”
6. I am riding hands-free. Literally. My hands have literally fallen off because I’ve forgotten that it is very cold in New England, especially in November, especially when you are riding at high speeds (read: < 5 mph, because I am having horrifying thoughts of smashing into sidewalks, cars, and New House since I haven’t ridden a bike in a few years)(Whoever invented the phrase “like riding a bicycle” has clearly never ridden a bike at one in the morning in East Coast weather after having spent twenty minutes wrestling with the lock), and I don’t have gloves yet because I come from a place where gloves are like a weird, unnecessary type of sock.
7. Remember when you drove (or when I drove, because you might still, but I no longer drive in college), and you parked your car, and all you had to do was press a button to lock your car and you were good to go? Parking a car was never my favorite part of driving, but parking a bicycle is an exponentially horrifying experience. So as I attempt to lock it up outside, another good ten minutes are spent simply releasing the lock (you press the notch and THEN slide this time), and then on opening the lock (I look less like I am stealing, since I’m only unlocking a lock that is locked to nothing, yet I still feel like the Harvard Police Department is going to spring out of a bush and detain me for stealing a bike lock). Then I realize that there is absolutely nowhere to lock it up, unless I lock it to another bike, with which I imagine the other owner would not be too pleased, or to a tree, which could probably be cut down if someone was really that insistent on stealing my $20 already-sketchy-looking bicycle. I resolve my issues for the night by taking it up to my room, effectively waking a disgruntled Mr. Neha, and going to sleep. I dream of a time where bicycles never need to be locked up, everyone got into MIT, and celestial bodies never got their planetary statuses revoked.
You know what would be cool? If you guys wrote me postcards. I would take pictures of them and post them in the blog, and it’d be like PostSecret, except it’d be PostQuestion, or just PostCard.. I was getting my mail today and almost fell to my knees in anguish because every time we ever get mail, it is always, ALWAYS for Mr. Neha. She is just so much more popular with the postal service. (I personally like Death Cab for Cutie better, but shh, they’re my guilty pleasure music.)(You don’t actually have to send me postcards, it’d just cheer me up after having lost my hands to severe wind chill.)
I promise the next post will be college essay-related, and I know you guys have already sent in your early action applications (GO YOU!), but I really just wanted to bring you a post dedicated to the fact that I am, indeed, the most ridiculous person alive.