I had a beach cruiser when I lived at the beach. What a ride! It was a cool black and pink one-speed Schwinn with high, padded handle bars, a wide, soft seat, nobby tires for some traction in the sand, and flat pedals so you could ride barefoot down the boardwalk. Gosh, I loved that bike.
I thought of my old bike today as I pedaled my new bike down a flat seaside road toward the one little market for miles. (The last thing I did before leaving home yesterday was to fasten it to the back of the station wagon-- no way I was going to the beach without my bike.) I'm still the type that prefers to be riding "somewhere," preferably for a purpose, and my goal this morning was to bring the Sunday papers back to my family. A stiff northwesterly breeze made me glad for the 21 gears, but I was sorry that shoes weren't just an option; it's impossible to ride barefoot on the bike I have now.
When we moved north, I brought my beach cruiser with me, but it was totally unsuited for the roads in my new town; they were way too hilly. I had been warned that I wouldn't get a lot of use out of it in the place that I was moving, but I couldn't let it go. Eventually, I bought another bike, and the cruiser decayed away in a leaky outdoor shed. The chain rusted; the tires went flat; the cushy handlebars cracked, and squirrels chewed through the seat cover and made off with the padding for their nests. I'm embarrassed to admit that eventually it ended up in the trash on another moving day, but I was glad when someone took it before the garbage truck came.
It turned out to be another tragic lesson on the difference between what we need and what we want-- my beach cruiser totally deserved better.