Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Bike Nut Anniversary

I’ve been a dedicated bicycle commuter and all-around bicycle nut for a little over a year. To mark this one-year anniversary, here’s a rambling list of thoughts and observations.

• I’ve always enjoyed bicycling, but last year I turned it up a notch, or two, or three.

• Everything in McKinleyville is within easy bicycling distance from everything else.

• There are few reasons to use a car to get around town.

• I still use a car to get around town, just not as often as I used to.

• I make excuses as to why I need to use my car, at least half of which are bogus.

• Even though it rains a lot in Humboldt County, most of the time it doesn’t rain, which means that most of the time rain is not a legitimate excuse for not bicycling.

• When I arrive somewhere on my bike, people ask me why I’m using a bike. But when I arrive somewhere in my car, people never ask me why I’m using a car.

• It’s not uncommon to hear people say something like “That’s a good idea. I should ride my bike.”

• Sometimes these folks actually start riding, but usually not.

• I log about 50 miles a week when it’s sunny and about 20 to 25 miles a week during the dead of winter. Sometimes these numbers are higher, sometimes lower.

• On average, I save two to three gallons a week in gasoline compared to before I went bike crazy.

• I used to keep track of every mile I bicycled. Now I don’t. There’s no rhyme or reason behind this.

• In the winter, fenders are a necessity.

• In heavy rain, I get wet no matter what I wear.

• During a drizzle or light rain, I’m very comfortable with my Gortex rain coat.

• My pair of fleece mittens, which was previously useless to me, is now a prized possession.

• Most of the time I wear regular street clothing – like jeans and a T-shirt – when I ride.

• Most of my pants now have grease stains on the cuff.

• I ruined two pairs of jeans this year due to grease.

• For recreational rides, sometimes I wear a lycra bicycle jersey. I like the idea that it has pockets in the back, but I’ve never used them.

• The butt pad in a pair of bicycle shorts is luxurious for the first 10 miles. After that it doesn’t do anything.

• I think most bicyclists look silly in their lycra outfits.

• There are a lot of rude and reckless motorists on the road, but my fellow bicyclists are even worse. A lot of them are reckless and ignore even the most basic traffic rules.

• I consider myself a courteous, law-abiding bicyclist, except when I’m not.

• I have a bunch of bicycles and ride different ones depending on my mood.

• Free and cheap bicycles are plentiful.

• I have to resist the temptation to bring home every bike I find that’s free.

• I take home most of the bikes that are free.

• I need to fix them up and give them away to loving homes before I run out of room in my garage.

• I hate the idea of giving away a bike to someone who won’t ride it.

• I spend about 30 minutes a week wrenching bikes.

• I’d like to spend 90 minutes a week wrenching bikes.

• The most beautiful bike tool I have is my fancy chain remover. It’s a work of art.

• The ugliest, most useless tool I have is a 6” crescent wrench I bought for $1 at a discount store. It was designed not to work.

• There’s never a need to purchase new 26-inch mountain bike tires. There are lots of gently used tires at the Arcata Recycling Center and they only cost a couple bucks, sometimes less.

• It’s much harder to find used 27-inch skinny road tires. So if I see them, I grab them no matter what.

• What the hell is a 700cc tire?

• I'm stuck in the 1980s when it comes to bike technology, not counting my fancy mountain bike.

• In a few months, I'll fix up my Cannondale, which I think as 700cc tires, whatever those are.

• I completed the 100-mile Tour of the Unknown Coast on tires that cost me $1 each.

• I don’t spend much money on bikes or bike parts. I'm cheap.

• You can buy nice T-shirts for $1 each at a thrift store.

• When they wear out, they make nice rags for cleaning bicycles.

• I’d like to free up some cash and spend a little at the local bike stores just to make up for all the times I’ve gone in, asked dumb questions and wasted their time.

• I feel like I owe the guys at Life Cycle a few bucks. Oh, and sorry about leaning that greasy bike frame against your merchandise the other day while I looked at new bikes that I may never buy.

• If I do buy a new bike, I'll shop at Life Cycle first.

• The mechanic (maybe the owner?) at Revolution Bicycles gave me a suggestion for solving a mechanical problem. I ignored his advice because I didn’t think it made sense. Months later I followed his advice. He was right.

• I feel liberated using a form of transportation that I can repair myself.

• I’m a slow rider, even though I feel like I’m going fast.

• I plan on getting into bicycle racing, but I’m going to do it slowly.

• I plan to ride the Tour of the Unknown Coast next year, but I’ll do it a lot faster.

• Faster is not always better. If you’ve got the time, what’s the rush?

• I always wear my helmet when I ride.

• I’ve developed an obnoxious habit of wearing my helmet when I go into stores.

• I have a chronic case of “helmet head.”

• I use my bicycle bell a lot.

• One of these days I plan to make my own bicycle bell.

• I’m intrigued by the idea of manufacturing extremely fancy bicycle bells for the high-end market.

• Four different times in the last 12 months I strapped a milk crate onto my bicycle rack so I could carry stuff.

• I have a bicycle trailer that my parents gave me. I’ve never used it.

• Bicycling and photography go together like peas and mashed potatoes.

• The nicest, most relaxing bicycle ride you can take is from McKinleyville to Patrick’s Point and back.

• The scariest place to ride is the shoulderless portion of U.S. Highway 101 north of Big Lagoon.

• It’s fun to ride at night, but I rarely do it.

• There’s a never-ending list of places I’d like to ride, some near, some far.

• The best reason to ride a bike is because it's good fun.


Blogger Reggae Warrior said...

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Are you a Reggae Warrior?

8:57 PM  
Blogger Jack said...

I'm a lot of things, but a "Reggae Warrior" is not one of them.

2:01 PM  
Blogger Jennifer Savage said...

I enjoyed these very much, Jack.

5:18 PM  

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