Frontier Psychiatrist

Frontier Cyclist, vol. 17 – The General Rutherford

Posted on: August 24, 2010

Dana Perry and The General Rutherford in Prospect Park

I have a new bike. Her name is The General Rutherford, she’s (almost) baby blue and she was a surprise gift from my man partner for completing a year of AmeriCorps service. Our first night together, I sat on the floor and inspected every inch, trying to get a feel for the mechanics, how each of her delicate pieces fit together. Then I realized I don’t really know anything about bikes.

Luckily, I live a few blocks from the haven of Prospect Park, where The General and I had our first date: a single loop. I obsessively cataloged the tonality of each click, each imperfection, and gleefully shifted from one gear to the next.

Like any new relationship, I’m twitterpated. I’m completely enamored by The General, but absolutely terrified about what she could do to me. I jog. Its close proximity to the ground and predictably slow speed render it relatively risk-less form of exercise. If I trip, there’s not far to fall.

I spent much of my first week with The General riding around the park, where it’s safe. Our second week together I integrated her into my workout routine and officially completed my first triathlon, or at least my version of such: a 3.35 mi. jog around the park, followed by a 5ish mi. bike ride, and topped with a decadently long shower.

Up Close and Personal with The General

By the third week I found my mind drifting toward The General, lustful for more time together. I started making mental notes of which streets had bike lanes. Bikers who previously would’ve blended into the city landscape like buzzing flies became notable: the NYU student carrying Two Buck Chuck in her basket, the hipster pompously riding past with no hands on the handlebars like a middle-school bully. But I still couldn’t make it out of the park.

It was at the end of this week my man partner and I were invited to meet some folks in Ft. Greene. “Should we ride bikes?” he asked. “OK, yeah,” I said, gaining gumption, “I think I’m ready to do this.”

We entered at the base of Prospect Park and slowly worked our way to the top of that heinous hill. We went around the bikes-only loop at Grand Army Plaza continued heading up Vanderbilt, left at Bergen, Carlton, Pacific, then as if by magic, a mere 4 miles and 20 minutes later, we were right in front of Habana Outpost, our promised land of milk and honey (or frozen mojitos and Mexican-style sweet corn).

“Oh,” said one of the folks we met. “You ride too?”

“Uh, yeah,” I said, struggling to unfasten my unused U-Lock. “I really love biking.”

As the night went on, I anticipated the ride home, a far cry from how I typically feel about train to train to train inter-Brooklyn travel. We rode through almost empty streets, the normally bustling area around the Atlantic mall quiet and ominous as an elephant graveyard.

As we looped around the opposite side of Grand Army Plaza, he hollered, ‘You wanna take the lead?” I burst ahead, my legs on fire from the Flatbush incline. “This is the best part,” he said “Breathe in deep; you smell that?”

We slithered swiftly down East Drive, the crisp night air slapping against my heated thighs. The freshness of the trees transporting me all the way back to rural Idaho and the glory of making it all the way up a steep hill.

So this is why people do it, I realized. With the risk there is payback. My bike isn’t just a part of my work-out regimen, or an alternative form of transportation. The General, she reciprocates my love.

Dana Perry regularly takes on large-scale projects without fully contemplating the consequences. Last week she brewed her own kombucha. This weekend she’s considering homemade soap. She writes because it’s more fun than anything anybody will actually pay her to do.


8 Responses to "Frontier Cyclist, vol. 17 – The General Rutherford"

Really enjoyed the article about you and General Rutherford…she is almost as cute as you!

Your article inspired my own kind of triathlon today of a 7 mile round trip to my favorite pho restaurant, an extra large bowl of pho, followed by a 2 hour nap.

Also, has your obsession with your bike had any consequences? My girlfriend doesn’t like being in the same room with my bike “Vesper”. Sometimes while she’s talking she catches me eyeing the bike, and surreptitiously caressing Vesper’s smooth carbon fiber handlebars in passing.

great article, keep writing and riding!

This is a wonderful love story! It makes me wonder if she was thinking of her grandma k and her lusty books that the covers were removed when she mentioned her “heated thighs”. This is really a wonderful story! Keep up that wonderful talent you have for writing. One never knows where that could take you and maybe even get a paycheck!!!

Love the article. Who would have known such a relationship with a bike could have existed. I obviously need to get one.

[…] Dana Perry regularly takes on large-scale projects without fully contemplating the consequences.  Her last piece for Frontier Psychiatrist was about her bike, The General Rutherford. […]

[…] Perry has written for Frontier Psychiastrist about roaches, bikes, and musical seduction. She is now officially unemployed. Anybody […]

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