There is nothing quite as nice as getting up early and taking your bike for a spin on the boardwalk. Up the ramp, hear the clicky clack of the rubber wheels hitting each board, breath deep, ahh the scent of morning at the beach. A mixture of sand, ocean and boardwalk foods. This is the perfect time to be on the boards. There is little noise just the sound of the waves pounding against the sand. The shops for the most part are not opened, and the restaurants which are sprinkled along the boardwalk are just waking up and getting ready for their day. Seagulls hang mid air in anticipation for a boardwalk food treat, usually an item dropped by a child. Seagulls have gotten bold and brazen as my 7th grade nun (Sr. Patricia) would have said. Actually she would have pulled you by the ear and said; “Miss Ranoia, you’re a bold and brazen article.” I never really understood what she was saying, but knew that whatever I did, it wasn’t good. I digress, back to the bike and the boards.
It is important to note that the earlier you get onto the boardwalk the better (less biker traffic). Today the boardwalk is packed with parents and kids on every sort of bike imaginable. One father even sported a funny shirt that read; “back seat driver,” which referred to his child sitting comfortably in a child’s bike seat. That looks like fun, I think to myself.
This is bike riding nirvana – the pure love and joy of traveling through town, exploring and experiencing the world, nature, and even meeting people. It’s invigorating and healthy while being economically and environmentally friendly.
My house has 4 bikes. All different but my favorite by far is my Schwinn Beach Cruiser that I recently purchased. I attribute this love of bike to my childhood friend Caroline Mangan. As a little girl, I’d spend time with her at her parent’s home in Longport. There, in their garage was a plethora of bikes – every kind of bike, cruisers, 10 speeds, fat wheels, skinny wheels, but my favorite to ride at her house was the Schwinn Beach Cruiser. It had a big wicker basket on the front, and a large cushy and comfy seat. I loved that bike it was like comfort food to me. We’d ride all over Longport all the way down to Margate for ice cream at the Dairy Queen. And get this, it was at night, alone and we were fine. Today, that would never happen – to many weirdoes in the world.
What is a beach cruiser you might ask? A beach cruiser is a type of bicycle that has wide, low handles an upright seat and wide tires. Though they tend to have only one speed, my beach cruiser has 7. They are comfortable to ride, particularly at the beach, hence the name beach cruiser.
Modeled after traditional bikes manufactured in America from 1930s up to the 1950s, in recent years this bike has been brought back to life. The first beach cruiser was made by Schwinn, who still manufactures the style currently. There are others out there but Schwinn is the beach bike of choice for me. Why? It’s the nostalgic value from a Baby Boomer just looking for the comfort; ease and the merit of transporting me to a simpler time.