Wednesday, July 27, 2011

I love my bike

I get so many compliments on it.  I think my favorite was a hipster girl in the Ralphs parking lot who told me, "that's my dream bike."
My bike: Surly Pacer
I've been effectively car-less for three months now.  I wish I had more to say about it, but the truth of the matter was my ten year old car blew a head gasket and it was too expensive to fix, and I didn't feel I could afford a new car.  Instead I'm biking, riding the bus, (or a combination of both), and if I'm really desperate, bumming rides from friends.  It's works.  And I do get to feel smug about never having to sit in traffic again.

Still, not having a car is not easy.  I think the hardest part is feeling less independent.  With a car, you don't have to think how you're getting anywhere, you just go.  With a bike, you really have to strategize.  (Is there an easy bike route?  Do I need to bring a change of clothes?  How long will it take me to get there?)  Simple things like grocery shopping becomes challenging.  Most of these things get easier with time and I just need to harden the fuck up (HTFU).

For the most part I think I'm really lucky.  The weather here in SB is always great and my bike is rad, and riding it all the time is actually pretty awesome.  Besides, a little fresh air and exercise never hurt anyone!  And luckily no one cares if I'm an hour late to work, ha.  In the past few months I've upgraded to rear-rack panniers (instead of riding with an old backpack), clip-in pedals and shoes, larger lights, and most recently a U-lock.  The right equipment makes a big difference.

By the way, I can't believe it took me this long to get the U-lock.  Check out this video of a bike thief in San Fran who fortunately got thwarted by a good samaritan.  (Fast forward to 0:22 mark.) It took him one second to cut the cable!  Damn!

One thing that sucks about using U-locks is that some bike racks won't let you lock through your frame and your front wheel, so you still need a cable lock anyway.  But I will gladly take the extra few seconds to lock my bike properly, even if it takes two locks.  Sidenote: I want to start a blog just showing different pictures of bike racks and rating them, but in the meantime I started a Flickr set.

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