Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Roll On Black Beast

Two years ago when I came to Japan I weighed around 190 lbs. (86 kg), but thanks to healthy Japanese food and lots of exercise, I now weigh 156 lbs (71 kg):that's less than I weighed in high school. While practicing karate for 3 hours on a hot and humid summer day will shed the pounds quickly, I owe most of my new found health to the ugliest bicycle in the world.

I don't drive in Japan because there is really no need for me too. Washimiya is only 13 km (8 miles) wide and is serviced by two trains, both of which take me to Tokyo in less than an hour. Having a car would be a huge waste of money, especially since gas runs 180 yen a liter: 3.78 liters to a gallon @ 108 yen to the dollar = $4.10 a gallon. Ouch! I haven't filled up a tank or put my foot on the gas since last summer when I went back home for vacation.

My feet do push the pedals though. They push them a lot. One of my schools is about a 2 mile ride from my apartment one way, the nice train station is about a mile and half out, and the cheap supermarket is about 2 1/2 miles out. I'd say on an average day I ride at least 2 miles, some days it's upward to 4 or 5 miles, and that's just getting around. Shit, every now and then I'll put on some ZZ Top on the iPod and drag main on my black, fire-breathing stallion from Hell!

And so without further ado, here's the bad som' bitch I've been shedding the pounds and shredding the pavement with. Don't look at it too long or it might bite ya.

This monster boast only the bare essentials: what it lacks in gears it makes up for in tote baskets- perfect for the 2 mile return trip from the grocery store. The dim headlight is friction powered off the tire and doesn't illuminate anything; I use it so cars will see me at night, that's its only job, and it's an important one.

You've probably already noticed the custom reflector work. That's all me baby; from the double striped detailing on the frame post to the French-inspired design on the chain guard. Not to mention the single wraps on the ape-hanger handle bars with the long, smoothly curved brake lines crossing in the front. And don't miss how stealthly the umbrella hooks around the seat post and rests on the rear basket support assembly. Like silk bitch!

Bikes don't come off the lot like this in Japan. Nope, I've got blood, sweat, and tears invested in this mofo (not to mention routine maintenance, like putting a new chain on her and changing flats every 3 months).

I think my bike kicks-ass, though most Japanese people mock and ridicule it, calling it a "mama chari," or an "old woman bike" used for fetching groceries. I don't listen their chides though, after all, I need those baskets damn it. Besides, I've grown close to my bike. After riding it for 2 years straight it's gonna be hard going home to my restored Peugot 12 speed and V6 Dodge Ram. I've gotta keep riding though. I like saving money and I enjoy living healthy, both for me, and for mother earth, whose back my 26" rims roll on.

1 comment:

  1. I love the bike. That would be nice to live somewhere were I do not have to pay $4 a gallon for gas. Looks like you are having an amazing time. Great pics!!