Wednesday, November 16, 2005


I'm trying to wean myself off of driving my car. So I picked up an abandoned bicycle which was lying next to a construction site up the street from my house. The bike was in pretty bad shape. The front wheel was facing a different direction from the handlebars, the chain had fallen off the sprocket, both tires were flat, and there was rust here and there all over the bike. But I figured I could fix it up and use it to commute to work.

Well, I went about buying tires, inner tubes, reflectors and other items I would need to get this poor bicycle out on the road again. A can of spray paint, some chain oil, a little elbow grease, and two days later I was ready to take her on her maiden voyage. I picked up a bus schedule and a backpack and headed off for the bus stop. The bus stop is about a ten-minute ride from my house with a couple of steep hills but nothing too severe for this bicycle/public transportation rookie.

I have to admit, it's nice to get out in the fresh air and take a ride to the bus stop. But, after the first couple of days of doing this, my legs were KILLING me. I also started walking short distances from the house. I felt really good about all the exercise I was getting, thinking back to the times when I would actually get in the car to drive three blocks to the ATM to take money out. It's amazing how lazy I had become regarding the car. It was as if I couldn't go anywhere without the car.

The bike seems to be holding up well, and so does the weather. I haven't quite figured out what I'm going to do when it starts raining. I got caught riding on a couple of soggy days so far and I learned two important things:
#1. A fender for the rear tire would be REALLY nice.
#2. My brakes don't work very good at all in the rain.

As I write this today, I've been avoiding use of the car and taking advantage of foot/pedal/bus power for about a month now. My legs still hurt occasionally but I do a lot of stretching and that seems to be helping a lot.

Well, I hope I haven't bored you to tears. I hope to be back to write more soon. Take care 'til then.


At November 18, 2005 9:08 PM, Blogger spocko said...

Keep it up! You might want to go to the SFBC website. they have some great ideas for how to deal with riding in the rain. Plus if you join them you get a 10-15 percent discount on bike gear.

I'm a member and they are responsible for the bike lanes in SF and keeping bike tolls off the GG bridge. I took a class they gave on riding in traffic. Very helpful.

The best thing to know about riding in the rain are 1)a fender(you are right) and 2)waterproof clothes that breath -- like goretex). I don't like to ride in the rain myself, but if you are going to remember to wipe your chain off and relube.

Good luck!

At November 19, 2005 10:56 PM, Blogger PTCruiser said...

Thanks for the tips, Spocko. And happy riding.

At May 30, 2007 11:47 PM, Blogger Freewayblogger said...

Hey PT... I applaud your idea and the elegance of using found materials, but have to say that a hundred bucks and change will buy you a damn fine brand new bicycle courtesy of exploited Chinese labor. (Okay, maybe that doesn't sound so hot...)

I remember getting my first decent mountain bike back in the 90's: bottom of the line Nishiki, maybe $250. Rode it over 8,000 miles before I finally had to get a new one.

Great quote from my old Psyche prof, Frank Barron: "I don't know what Utopia will be like exactly, but it will have bicycles."


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