That bike was ruining our marriage! My wife and I were like ships that pass in the night. She pedaled. I drove. One day I stopped at a light. She pedaled through and waved. I watched her, far up ahead, chain her bike to a palm tree on the beach. She disappeared over the sand. The light turned green. I circled the block looking for a parking space. I passed her bike again, and circled. And again. And again. Each time I passed that bike it seemed to get bigger and bigger, and everything else around it seemed to get smaller and smaller until, finally, my patience ran out. I parked in a no-parking zone.
When I returned to my car at twilight, I found a parking ticket stuck under the windshield wiper. I crumpled the ticket just as she pedaled by. She waved.
I got home an hour after she did because of beach traffic. She had already showered and fixed herself a drink.
"What took you so long?" she said.
"All right! All right! You win. But no bell and no basket." The next day she bought me a beach cruiser like hers.
We rode everywhere together. In the morning we went to our gym while the sun rose pinkish-orange over the water. The cool air in our faces was invigorating, and the three-or four-mile ride warmed us up for our morning bout of weightlifting. In the afternoon we rode to the beach and chained our bikes to the palm tree, while on the street car after car circled the block looking for that elusive parking space. At twilight we pedaled along the beach to a bar on the water. We had a drink under a thatched roof and watched the sun set pinkish-purple. We went home before dark, pleasantly tired.
She was right. The joys of owning a beach cruiser in Fort Lauderdale far outweighed the disadvantages. It is an almost perfect city for a bike. I have yet to discover a rise in the road, much less a hill. Pedaling even our one-speed beach cruisers is almost effortless. There is always a cool breeze in our faces, and if I take my shirt off I can get a tan.
It was great exercise, too. We discovered that our legs were in such great shape we could afford to cut down on our workouts. We no longer pedaled in that leisurely, meandering sort of way, but began to go at it with enthusiasm. Every time we approached our apartment complex, we raced the last 100 yards.
Women began to whistle at me as they drove by in their cars. "Nice legs, honey!" they called out. We rarely drove our car anymore, except when it rained. We saved money on gas and on parking tickets, but most of all we saved time. We enjoyed being the envy of tourists as they stared at us from rented Chevettes.
I have owned my beach cruiser for three months now, and I wouldn't part with it for all the mink oil on the beach. I used to chain it to the gazebo next to my wife's bike, until a week ago when we had another burglary in the complex. My wife tried to reassure me.