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It was my favorite color of blue, that robin’s egg blue, but it was the basket on the front that got me excited.  I saw myself riding along the boardwalk, stopping for a sandwich and couriering it away in that handy basket. I pictured the blue bike resting against a big rock and me perched on top, my feet dangling over the side, the ocean spritzing my toes, eating my sandwich and watching the big boats glide by.  Or else I’d find a grassy dune, drop my bike in the sand, spread my jacket out like a picnic blanket and lay on my tummy. I’d nibble my sandwich and watch the sun sink like it was movie night in the park – I went to one of those with Eleni and Mel. We brought wine and drank it from coffee mugs! Eleni brought a baguette and cheese and sat there pretending we were French as anything even though the the movie showing was “Jaws.”  

I pictured myself peddling along with a bottle of wine in my basket. A bit of wine by the sea is romantic… but not a whole bottle to one’s self! I’d be likely to wake up face down in the sand, a team of shirtless boys poking me with sticks, hoping they’d found a real dead body. I’d stick to the sandwich and maybe ride back to the rental shop with some found treasure in my basket; a conch shell for my bathroom or a nice piece of drift wood for the bookcase.  

In any case, they wouldn’t rent me the blue one. The kid who worked there told me, “That’s a man’s bike. Take the yellow one.”

“What makes it a man’s bicycle?” I asked.

“Guys have a straight cross bar. Girls ones go down.”

So I took the yellow one without the basket. I didn’t get a sandwich and I didn’t stop along the way. I rode one way for a half hour, got too hot in my jacket and came back. That was that for Newport Beach.

Story by Kathleen Phillips

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