NAME: Holly Bass
LOCATION: Washington DC
OCCUPATION: Writer and Performer
Where do you live and what’s it like riding in your city?
I live in Washington DC at the top of a hill. I love riding down and feeling the breeze on my legs and the sun on my face. That’s good living. And riding up the hill back home always makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something, regardless of how the rest of my day went. The streets in DC are decent for riding on, but I’ll get on the sidewalk when the traffic gets nutty. I’m not that dude on a brakeless track bike racing down center lane. My bike is a 1970 AMF Hercules with a Sturmey Archer hub. I’ve got a basket in front so I can carry my groceries and books. I’ve got a big padded seat and I never worry about someone stealing my front tire. I believe in riding in style and riding in comfort!
What was your favorite city to ride in and why?
I can’t really say what’s my favorite city to ride in, but the craziest city I ever rode in was Milan, Italy. I lived there for a year. People drive like they just got their licenses and trolley cars and buses zigzag in all directions. Tons of streets are cobblestone and super uneven. And forget about a bike lane. I had an old three speed there too, but with really thin tires and sometimes the tires would get stuck in between the trolley car rails—scariness. And the smog. Some days they would have driving moratoriums and no cars would be allowed in the city as an anti-pollution measure. A lot of people wore little masks, but in case the photo doesn’t give a full idea, I’m a bit of a fashion plate, i.e. biking in heels and a skirt. I could tell the air was bad, but I was just way too vain to ride around in a Michael Jackson surgical mask. In retrospect it was pretty dangerous. Also, in Italy women don’t really go out at night by themselves—it’s kind of like living in the 1950s that way. But I would ride my bike home at midnight after hanging out with my friends. I had a few incidents, but my attitude is, if I’ve got a bike, why shell out for a cab? Once, some guys on a Vespa came up and slapped me on the behind. Another time, someone tried to “solicit” me and I’m like, can’t you see I’m on a bike?! As if there’s such a thing as a bike hooker or something. You know, those girls who ride around the city until they find a customer, then they lock up their bikes and start servicing dudes. Wha, huh?
Why do you like riding in the city?
I like not worrying about driving and parking, waiting for the bus, paying for taxis, or mucking up the environment. DC is great because everything is so close. I can get to most places in less than 15 minutes. I’m not much for the long trek, but there’s Rock Creek Park and the Tidal Basin. Basically, I ride from home to work to the café or bar and back home. But I get to see the so much of the city. I run into friends all the time. And in DC, old guys are always asking if they can get a ride. “Hey girl, can I ride?” It’s sweet. If you’ve got a bike, people give you a little respect.
And since you asked for poetry, here’s a haiku:
asphalt meets the tire
Check out www.hollybass.com