Tööstuse 43, Tallinn, Estonia
Store: +372 508 3309
Workshop: +372 5301 8568
Tähesaju tee 31, Tallinn Estonia
Store: +372 5885 7752
Workshop: +372 5301 6938
Info: +372 508 3309
Men choose a bike as a tool, based on arguments – to be fast and powerful, to be able to race past others like a hero. I, on the other hand, look at a two-wheeler as a companion, it’s the emotions that decide. Clearly, I could not resist. She was sooo beautiful!
To be honest, I have to start by saying that I don’t really know how to ride a bike. They say you never forget cycling once you’ve mastered it. Well, I wasn’t so sure anymore, because I hadn’t tried it for a couple of decades. I was in a bit of a hurry, but I didn’t have a bike and I didn’t feel any joy.
I got my fear of wheels the way it usually happens – I had an accident. I was fourteen years old at the time and still considered myself a tough cyclist. Once again, I was going as fast as the poor wheels of the time could push me when I flew out of a steep bend. All this happened at the edge of the swamp, I got stuck in the trees and the skin came off from wrist to shoulder on both hands. But I was already very lucky! With worse luck, I could have drowned in the mud on my bike. Some unreasonable anxiety arose from this trauma. I never got back in the saddle again. I lied that I was a big fan of walking and where was I in such a hurry…
The fateful meeting took place this spring. We went for an evening walk to Kalamaja Park with my sweetheart and she accidentally got in the way. There, in the corner of the park, he seduced me in the display case of the Velomarket. Light blue Excelsior vintage cruiser with a beautiful streamlined frame. I never imagined a bike could be so beautiful! As low, stylish and sleek as Harley Davidson’s more feminine and lighter bike-shaped girlfriend – absolutely irresistible! All at once, thirty years of my life without a bike were swept away. Never mind that I was used to avoiding cycling, that was the bike I wanted! Of course, the adventure sports enthusiast tried to make sense of the fact that first and foremost you have to test the bike and pay attention to the technical characteristics. Carbon frame, 29-inch tyres and so on. So you can’t go by colour and appearance! “Yes-yes, of course. Tomorrow we’ll come and try,” I said, nodding in agreement. It was late at night. In fact, of course, I knew that it was colour and looks that counted more for me. If somebody were to do a comedy sketch called “Blonde in a bike shop” I could star in it.
The very next day after the poached eggs we walked to the Velomarket. The unexpected traffic jam had grown even bigger during the night. I was already imagining all the fun things I would do with my new friend…. As we have a policy of buying everything we can from our local shop in Kalamaja, the argument was that the beautiful bike was right on the window of the local family shop. I hadn’t thought about exploring all the options on the market, why?
Kallim came with me and gave me expert advice. Only that… I didn’t have much use for his wisdom with my emotion-based decision-making. But you have to try, I agreed. Maybe I don’t like the wheel? Shakes me down or makes me angry?
The light blue dream I chose exceeded all expectations in terms of comfort! As I have done my few previous crunches on an expensive sportbike – meaning a tiny hard saddle, high frame, leaning position and such speed that I was slightly panicked all the time, the contrast was striking. First of all, the saddle was white and soft, like an armchair. Today, having spent four or more hours in the saddle some days, I know that this comfort is not deceptive, but permanent. No need for cycling pants, any outfit is a cinch to go with this companion.
Appi, pink rival! I had my wheels turning towards a particular character, but what the hell, I’m still a woman. That means – I have the first degree of doubt. So I was stumped, because there was another beauty in the row of bikes to confuse me – pink! Unfortunately, it was also a retro model, with a soft saddle, unashamedly comfortable. As a godsend, the young man who worked in the shop was able to tell me straight away which arguments would work in my case. “This blue one is much more stylish!” What a relief. Once again, I was sure of my decision. Sorry, pink hussy – you were a hair’s breadth too plain.
My darling of course laughed at me. His logic doesn’t match my thinking, but then, no one expects men to understand women. The ride started the moment I rode home on my new vintage beach cruiser. It’s a particularly nice and human way of doing business – you find a friend, jump on and crank away! And so now I drive – every day, and much more than I could ever have imagined. It’s not a new beautiful thing in my world, it’s a completely different lifestyle!
A life of complete ignorance started from day one. Swimming in the morning – five minutes of wiggling and I got myself in the water. Just for those of you who are not my friends, I swim in all weathers and all seasons, I do it all year round. Only if it’s really windy or lazy will you miss it.
I soon realised that there are countless roads in Tallinn that have been built with cyclists in mind. The whole seafront route connecting Noblessner, Lennusadama, and Kalaranda, leading on to the Reid road, Pirita, and Merivälja mule. The beautiful views, the sunsets, the steep cliffs – just sit back and whistle with delight.
An extremely atmospheric ring of light traffic routes also runs along the outskirts of Tallinn. I’ve been living in Tallinn for 40 years and only now, on a bike, have I really got to know the city. Of course, you can make a variety of choices – if you don’t know any better boulevards, sometimes you’ll be hopping around on pedestrians, one on top of the other, which can be quite annoying. But fortunately, there is always a much better way, a detour here or there. And when you’re on a bike, every metre doesn’t count.
Going to work by bike made the procedure of going to the office suddenly more attractive to me. Cranking to work is a therapeutic start to the day! You can move around in the open air, clear your head and new thoughts will come flying in waves.
A surprisingly large number of people have opted for shuttle transport in the last few years. Green thinking, which is increasingly influencing choices, but also the desire to stay mentally balanced and physically fit, is probably also playing a role. Quite a lot of colleagues come to work by bike, we have to see where we can fit all our horses so that the horns don’t get in a knot.
So far, the blue girlfriend has never let you down, she’s ready to roll with you wherever you go. The frame above the front wheel felt unfamiliar at first, but proved its worth on the first day. After all, every woman has a bag with a bunch of essentials inside, of which the owner has no precise idea. But it doesn’t count. It’s a must! As most of the items in my personal bag gallery do not fit in a backpack, it is very convenient to put them on the front frame. And there’s room for everything else! A box of biscuits and a limps when you’re out with the kids, or with friends for a picnic and anything else that comes to mind. I’ve already mastered the tricks of how to roll them up, so that nothing even rattles when cruising. For these vivid experiences alone, becoming a bike owner has paid off in spades!
However, I was surprised at how unpredictable pedestrians can behave, sometimes sharing the road with them. People who are otherwise in a daze are capable of very agile manoeuvres – whoops, right in front of the wheel! In narrower places, it is safer to give the bell before overtaking. Fortunately, Chillax has a very mild and gentle retro-looking watch that no walker will get a rash or fist bump.
The practical side has never played first fiddle in my world, but out of curiosity I still figured out how living with a bike has affected my life in numbers. The first stark difference came on the wine front. Don’t get me wrong, I still love wine. But the little bottle that used to accompany previous meetings with friends has become a little glass. Otherwise, I wouldn’t even be able to walk home gracefully with my bike in my hand. And often I just drive, without taking a sip.
The second measurable change concerns how I perceive distances. While some friends used to seem to live far away, now the whole of Tallinn is a party. In about half an hour, you’re lazily cranking everywhere. I’ve wasted enough nerves in the car at rush hour when I can’t get through the most obscure junctions straight away. In a small town, the bicycle is often the faster mode of transport. I’ve already mapped out the most enjoyable routes, as well as the shameless shortcuts. Depending on how busy I am at the moment, I decide smoothly while in the saddle. My riding style is far from sporty, I cruised elegantly in my beautiful dress so that even the seong didn’t get mixed up. I’ll park my shimmering light blue horse somewhere and I’ll be able to start communicating straight away.
The third measurable difference was in taxi cheques. It’s the end of the road – my entire bike investment is equivalent to two months of taxi rides. Why on earth didn’t I make this life-changing decision earlier?
Author: Kristina Herodes