sunday life: in which a girl falls in love with a single-speed bike

This week I go streamlined on a single-speed bike

possibly the prettiest thing a girl can have between her legs
quite possibly the prettiest thing a girl can have between her legs

You might’ve noticed everyone’s into “simplifying”. It’s very recessional chic right now. People from all walks are chucking stuff out and packing up what’s left to go live in Bali. Or on a goat farm. Luxury car manufacturers and banks are flogging simplicity in their advertising slogans and a new self-help genre has spawned showing us how to consolidate our remote controls and live without a waffle-maker.

Admittedly, I’ve previously ridden this altruistic bandwagon myself, decluttering my books and hosing out my email inbox. But I’m now wondering if “streamlining” isn’t a better way to go. “Simplifying” tends to have a certain The Good Life vibe to it, don’t you think – a bit grubby, earnest and requiring a fulltime commitment to composting. When, let’s face it, most of us could relate to Penelope Keith when she’d look over the fence in despair at her neighbours’ muddy mess.

Simplifying is about reversing our erroneous ways, uprooting our lives and ridding ourselves of things. Which is kind of sad and harsh and really hard to achieve. Streamlining, however, is gentle. It’s about shaving off excess, and perhaps steering the boat a little to the left, for a more flow-y ride. It’s a smooth, glide-y ethos for life, and an elegant aesthetic. No gumboots required. Yes, streamlining makes life better. Of that I’m sure.

This thinking started a month ago when I looked over at my dual-suspension, knobbly-tyred mountain bike in the hall and thought, what a cluttery, clumpy contraption you are!

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