Hi, I’m Mary, and this is my column no one asked for about things I like!
After the longest winter on record in New York City history (or at least that’s what it felt like), spring has finally arrived, and by spring I mean it was summer last week and hasn’t stopped raining this week. While everyone else is excited about stripping off their chunky sweaters and parading around in short shorts and tank tops, I’m also excited about those things — but I’m more excited that it’s bike season, baby!
Bike season, to be clear, is more a state of mind than an actual season. It’s any day it’s not raining (too hard) and the low is above 40 degrees. As an urban cyclist (not to brag), I hate riding the subway, but as a pussy urban cyclist (to brag), I hate biking in the freezing cold even more. By the end of every winter, however, I’m totally stir crazy and desperate to get back out on those streets on my little blue single-speed (it’s a few shades lighter than this one but the same model).
I’ve been biking in New York for about six years now, and it’s my favorite way to get around the city. The first bike I bought was used, and I purchased it from a middle-aged man in Staten Island who picked me up from the ferry in a white van. Yes, that’s correct: I got in a white van with a stranger to buy a 40-year-old bicycle for $100. The bike I got that day was so fucking cute: it was baby blue and vintage, by which I mean shitty. It was technically a three-speed but only one of the speeds worked. It was OK, if a bit unpleasant, for riding around Brooklyn but nearly impossible to ride up a bridge. After a couple of years, I got rid of it and upgraded to the bike I linked to above, which is the best thing I’ve ever purchased in my whole entire life.
There’s nothing I enjoy more than biking around New York listening to a podcast, but since I’m not confident enough to blast Who? Weekly for all the citizens of Brooklyn to hear (although I’m sure they would love it!), I always use headphones (in one ear only — it’s the law). This time of year, I can just throw my iPhone in my jacket pocket, plug in my headphones and ride around without a care in the world (except cars and pedestrians). In the summer, however, it’s harder to find a place to put my phone while I ride. My sister puts hers in her back pocket, but even though it’s never fallen out, I’m not bold enough to do the same. A few summers ago, I bought a cheap arm band I could stick my phone in, but there were a few problems with that system. First of all, it was hard to change songs or pods in transit. Secondly, my friends teased me relentlessly because I looked ridiculous.
Last summer, I was determined to find a real solution to my problem, so I decided to buy a phone mount. The first one I got was bright orange and clamped onto my handlebars. It got stolen within a month, but the joke’s on the thief because it cost $14. I found another, more discreet one that actually screwed in and only cost $9.99 — and I loved it! I still love it! It hasn’t been stolen, maybe because I accidentally broke off one of the arms and now have to use rubber bands to secure my phone (which I’d recommend doing even if your phone mount is completely intact. Better safe than sorry).
I realize it may seem weird that I’m recommending a cheap little hunk of plastic used only for one very specific purpose, but no product has improved my quality of life more in the past year. Now, I can cruise around the city listening to Bobby and Lindsey talk about Bella Thorne with my phone securely mounted right in front of me. I can look at directions while I ride, change what I’m listening to in transit and even reply to texts (which I only do at stop lights or while going up a bridge, I promise).
When I purchased my iPhone mount, my sister remarked that it seemed like I was trying to turn my bike into my house. She was exactly right — most of the year my bike is my house, and I want to have a nice home. I love my bike/house so much sometimes I think about sleeping in it. Please comment if you have a product that would enable me to do so.
As always, I’d like to clarify that this is NOT a sponsored post. I received nothing for it and am absolutely sure, from experience, that no one cares how much I love listening to podcasts while biking. Still, if anyone is reading and ever wants to give me literally anything for free, whether or not it’s a bike accessory, I WILL TAKE IT!!!!!!
Anyway, I hope this was helpful. I’ll be back with more unsolicited recommendations soon!