On my way home from school or work, I often pick up lunch or dinner. Next to Larry’s Giant Subs at 13th Street and 16th Avenue, I often see a custom motorized bicycle with ridiculously tall handlebars, banana seat, and multiple baskets. It reminds me of the glory days of my motorized bicycle, The Green Monster, which I rode daily early last year.
I had learned about motorized bicycles when I stumbled upon an eBay auction for an engine kit. Since I go to school or work–and usually both–every day, and sometimes make multiple trips, the prospect of shaving several minutes off my commute was appealing. Moreover, the cold winter mornings and blazing hot summer afternoons are unpleasant on a regular bicycle. But I rationalized that they would be more tolerable on a motorized bicycle, since I’d move quickly, and, thus, spend less time in the winter cold, and expend little energy, and, thus, get less sweaty in the summer heat. I bought one of those motor kits on eBay and made my machine using a bicycle given to me by Sarah Jean Russell. When I began riding my Green Monster, I learned that, indeed, riding fast in the cold beat riding slowly in the cold, and I appreciated that my commute took half the usual time. But I didn’t get a chance to learn about beating the summer heat: I only rode my motorized bicycle until mid-April, when concerns for my safety, and annoyance at the myriad problems associated with motorized bicycles ultimately exceeded my passion for speed.
That all came back to me this afternoon when I finally met the owner of the custom motorized bicycle outside Larry’s Giant Subs. He was an older fellow, and in incredibly profane language he told me how much he loved his bike, but how much trouble he got into with the police, who don’t seem to agree on whether motorized bicycles are motorcycles that require special licenses and registration, or bicycles that don’t. And he alluded to the fact that his wife took out an insurance policy on him. I can do without all that.