In Honor of Ugly Rental Bikes

I owe a lot to an atrociously ugly (even, dare I say, fugly) beach cruiser. In the spring of 2007, I went on vacation in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida. The whole place is basically a huge retirement community with some of the coolest older folks. They were up with the sunrise to play bridge by the pool and stayed up for the sunset to play dominoes by the pool – sign me up! Anyway, in this bucolic place a natural activity, after tennis and shuffleboard, was to rent a couple of beach cruisers and explore the nice bike path down the beach to the park.

might want to raise the seat a bit...

might want to raise the seat a bit...

The bikes were god awful ugly, but I don’t think I was fully aware of the severity of their aesthetic failures at the time. Besides having been beaten by the proverbial ugly stick, they were also not so comfortable. BUT. They were fun in the sun. And they planted a seed, so that after that vacation we casually talked about buying bikes of our own one day to cruise around on.

like my bike?  No?  :(

like my bike? No? :(

That was almost exactly a year before we actually bought our bikes. And somehow, instead of simply cruising around on them, we ended up living on them. So, thank you old folks and ugly rental bikes. You served me well.

(Yes, this was a phase when I was dying my hair dark red.  Why not?  It’s behind me now.)

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8 thoughts on “In Honor of Ugly Rental Bikes

  1. Lynn says:

    Hey, it’s Belinda Carlisle in her prime! (Did you know she used to call herself Dottie Danger? I just Wikipedia’d her.)
    Yeah, I’m not too fond of the giant black handlebar look. I was disappointed when I saw the rental bikes at our resort in Disney last week, and even less impressed when I heard the crunchy chain on one as it passed. But it’s still a bike, and I wish I had taken the opportunity when I had the chance.
    I doubt you’ll have to worry about beach cruisers in London and Russia! (I’d check for crunchy chains, though.)

  2. Trisha says:

    I forgot that you had done that! Cool pictures. I need to dig some up of me in earlier bike-riding days.

  3. Hey, it’s got a basket on it!

  4. anna says:

    You think that bike is ugly? Ok, the handlebar really is ugly. But you haven’t yet seen the Viennese Citybikes..

  5. Dean Peddle says:

    LOL…that is funny. I just came back from a vacation in Sandestin, FL where they had free bike rentals to the resort. Our bikes looked identical to yours (maybe they are a Florida model :) ). I could never get comfortable on it…no matter what I did….especially with that huge ridiculous saddle it had. I’m just glad it pushed you into riding cause when I rode the bike it made me think it would turn off people from riding back home cause it was so uncomfortable.

  6. E A says:

    Hey… I rented a similar bike when I visited Vancouver a few years back and hauled up the hill in Stanley Park (I think that’s what it was called…)… No more beach combers on inclines for me! Especially not going upward…

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