Introducing …

… my pal Carlotta! She’s a buttercup yellow Schwinn Sportabout, circa 1978 or so.Isn’t she gorgeous?

(shirt – Out of Print tees, my favorite book; jeans – Maurices; shoes – Toms)

Finding her was quite serendipitous. I actually had not ridden a bicycle since I was about 13, so it had been quite some time. Ryan bought a bike a few years ago (I pitched in too, for his birthday) and uses it frequently to get around town. I immediately saw the appeal of hopping back on a bike — but I was a little intimidated because it had been 11 years or so since I had ridden one at all. Plus, the bikes that really appealed to me — cruisers like the Electra bikes — were ex-pen-sive. I didn’t want to spend $500+ on something that I wasn’t even sure I would end up riding.

A while later, just days before my 25th birthday, I saw this beautiful specimen in the window of the thrift store downtown and I fell in love! I went home and thought about it. Then when Ryan and I drove by, I pointed it out. I went home and thought some more. Then I found myself walking downtown in the middle of the day and I went inside and asked about it. TEN DOLLARS. Sure, she had a few rusty spots and needed new tires. Ok, so there was an old non-working generator still attached. And she was a bit dirty. But she was beautiful! My decision was made and I walked her home.

She sat in the shed for months before I got the courage to get on and ride.

But once I did …

… what a joy!

I’ve finally put in a few miles here and there, and I just don’t know what took me so long. Ryan changed the tires, Mom got me a basket (I added the flowers!), and I cleaned her up. She may be a little heavy, and she may be a little bit slower than some of those new-fangled machines. She has a few age spots. But she’s beautiful, and she’s mine.

If you are wondering about the name, Carlotta was a character in the Hitchcock film Vertigo, which took place in my favorite city ever, and the Harvey Danger song Carlotta Valdez is named for that character.

I credit the wonderful bike-blogging ladies out there for inspiring me: Simply Bike, Velo Vogue, and City Girl Rides. There are many more out there, but those are the ones I’ve added to my Google Reader, so you know they’re fantastic.

There are a few additions I’d still like to make: fenders, a chain guard, a rear rack, a cute bell, a not-so-sporty helmet. But for right now, I love being able to toss the few things I need in my basket and go, using my own power and being able to feel the breeze and take in the sights.

Do you bike? Tell me about your ride!

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