As I don't own a car, and the public transit system is only so convenient, I needed another bike. I headed down to our local bike co-op and bought the only bike I could afford: Ross the Diamond Cruiser. An early precursor to the mountain bike, it has two inch wide tires, a black frame, and shiny cruiser-style handlebars. Yeah, it's definitely a unique bike. Ross now has a basket and is used for short, errand type trips, except I hardly ever take any, so mostly he sits and collects dust. When I realized I wasn't riding much because my bike wasn't appropriate to the kind of riding I enjoy most, it was time to shop for a new bike.
Still being a poor graduate student, and one with little time, I trolled craigslist for weeks until I found it: a 1981 Peugeot PH8 steel frame touring bike in electric blue. The beautiful color, the chrome fenders and rack, the integrated headlight/taillight with a bottle generator, downtube friction shifters, and the road bike geometry were perfect. So, I reserved a CityWheels car and drove to a local suburb to test drive my future ride. Got there too early, and went to a local park to kill time, where I saw a blue jay. Some kind of fate, clearly, because the bike was perfect for me and I bought it. I named it Jay - a French name for a French bike, a blue bird's name for a blue bike, an elegant character's name (Jay Gatsby) for an elegant bike. Jay is great because it's a nice commuting bike what with having a rack and all, and it is a light and fast enough bike to do double duty as a road bike. He's had a few upgrades: all new cables, new handlebar tape, new saddle, new city tires (fatter than road tires, but hella more durable), rack bag, bento box, all to make it a comfortable ride. So, here's to many more miles with Jay, my steel horse. :)