There's something beautiful about a girl, her bike, and a new basket. Am I right?
I better back up a bit. For those who don't know me well, I like to ride my bike, especially when I can commute from my apartment to campus. This past year I've had the chance to bike in all sorts of weather conditions, from a downpour, to below freezing, to sweltering hot and everything in between those extremes. For me, there's something exhilarating about being able to move yourself from point A to point B. Plus, it gives me the chance to explore parts of Champaign-Urbana I normally wouldn't explore via a car.
However, my problem was that I always carry too much stuff (trying to rid myself of the small liberal arts campus where I can take everything everywhere if I wanted because nothing is not close). Bike rides were becoming unfun with even just thinking about putting my backpack on and going someplace. I knew I needed a back rack and basket STAT, but hadn't quite gotten around to making that commitment.
The turning point was definitely my seat (which came with the original bike that I'm pretty sure I got as a birthday present in middle school. Goes to show I have not grown since then). It was falling apart. So it didn't look good and it didn't feel good when I was riding. I had also gotten some great recommendations for the bike shop in downtown Urbana, so I decided to go in and buy stuff.
Champaign Cycle is THE BOMB. I came in, explained what I wanted, and the man helped me get exactly what I needed. My favorite moment was when one of the men working and I went outside to make sure my bike could have a back rack. He took one look at my seat and said, "Yes. You definitely need a new saddle."
Whoops, not seat. Saddle. [Learning that biking lingo!]
So I biked home, with a new saddle and back rack in hand. Now it was time to see if I could put everything together.
My first problem came when I needed to use an Allen wrench to take off my old saddle. Years of use and created some nice rust around the screw, along with the fact my one and only Allen wrench was too small. Lucky for me, I knew that a place like Menards might be able to help me out. Plus, I knew I was going to buy a plastic crate basket and some zip ties to attach the basket to the back rack.
To Menards! For me, this trip was hilarious because as a small child, Menards was my nightmare. Our family would spend far too much time walking through those aisles. As a small child, I vowed to never go back.
But there I was, confidently strolling through the aisles, knowing exactly what I needed.
With Allen wrenches (it was a buy one get one deal), a basket, and some zip ties in hand, it was back to the apartment to assemble the bike. And assemble I did. Smooth sailing once you have a proper Allen wrench.
As I excitedly texted a picture of my "new" bike to all my friends, I felt like an adult. Not that we ever reach a point in our lives where we are totally confident that we are adults and doing all the right adult things, but in that moment, I felt self-sufficient, resourceful, accomplished, and...like an adult.
Of course this is then how the world rewarded me for the self-sufficiently and feelings of pride the next day.
Regardless, as I said before: there's something beautiful about a girl, her bike, and her basket.