Thursday, October 30, 2008

Brigitte's new vehicle

The new bike

The parking lot in front of our building

The sweet owners of the bike shop
The Azabu Cycle shop

I was really excited, but anxious to purchase my new bike. Many people told me about this tiny little bike shop near our apt. Jack tried it on a Saturday, but it was closed and he couldn't figure out why. I went the following week and fortunately they were open. There was a very sweet woman and a man (maybe husband and wife? forgot to ask) running the shop. She spoke litttle English and the man translated quite well. I pointed to a bike and she said, no - and pointed to a different one. I said okay, that one. They showed me a catalog because I couldn't take one off the floor - and we agreed on silver. Fifteen minutes later the man tells me no silver in Tokyo, so I said any color, really it doesn't matter. He smiled and nodded but still waited for me to pick a color. I pointed to white. I was in luck. She asked if I wanted a motor - which are very popular, but I said no. I ride bikes, I can handle this - I don't need a motor. I had no idea. How about speed? no speed? 3 speed? 6 speed? I picked 3. My new bike doesn't have a chain, it has a rubber thing in the chain's place - she told me, No oil, good. Okay, fine. I requested a child seat on the back, no problem. Bonus, the child seat converts into a second basket when he is not in it. It also came with a light, built in lock and one serious kickstand in the back. So before they ordered it for me I took the floor model out to try it on for size. Watch out! I was outta control. These bikes are insane to steer. How do these women do this with a kid on the front, a kid on the back, some with bags dangling off the sides and to top it off, they wear heels? I am sure the shop owners were having a mighty good laugh at my expense.
The woman filled out the receipt and pointed out this cost and that cost - seat, kickstand, registration, etc...and I just went along - fine, fine. I could pick up my new bike in the next couple of days. That was excellent. When I returned to pick it up I handed them my credit card, but it didn't work. I handed them my other credit card and then she was on the phone saying who knows what for a good 10 minutes and finally conveyed to me I had to call my card company. Unfortunately with the credit card fraud software my cards often get blocked given that we are making a gazillion purchases in Asia even though we have called them and noted we are living here. Jack was out of town that week and left me with a wad of cash, so I able to give them about 50,000 Yen. They let me take the bike and I could return with the difference. It rained for two days straight, so I didn't go back until that Saturday, but it didn't seem to mind.

So now I learn to ride...again. I put Connor on the back and I was terrified. People ride mostly on the sidewalks which are narrow and crowded, so you stop a lot and I drag my feet and when I start up again I am weaving all over just waiting to crash into something or someone. I know it will get easier, but right now it's a little stressful. Connor seems to enjoy it, he wants me to go down the big hill from his school. In time little buddy, in time. Keep that helmet strapped on tight.

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