jazzfish: Jazz Fish: beret, sunglasses, saxophone (Default)
[personal profile] jazzfish
So, um, yesterday I bought a bike.

This was not something I'd ever intended to do.

I used to bike-commute when I worked at A&W and lived at Apartment Six, a distance of about three-quarters of a mile. I never really got into cycling, though: the buses were free and pretty good for getting where one needed to go, and Emily had a car for the times when they weren't. Eventually the bike got stolen, and I didn't much miss it.

Back in 2009 I went out once with a neat woman in DC. A second date was postponed for several months on account of her getting a concussion and breaking her arm in several places in a bike accident. As near as she could reconstruct it, she got stung by a yellowjacket and fell over, at speed. That was enough to put me off the prospect of city biking altogether, if I'd even been considering it.

I spent a decent amount of the past six months driving around with Erin, who used to bike-commute daily to the middle of the next town over. She'd frequently point out the dedicated bike lanes next to the cars. Mostly this was in terms of "And here's where the cyclists have to cross three lanes of traffic to keep going straight" or "Oh, this one requires you to make a left into oncoming traffic." This did not increase my desire to try bike commuting.



The new (current) apartment's about five kilometres from work, and it's mostly pretty flat going. And they have showers at work. I'd started thinking "you know, once I get up to speed, I could run to work a couple days a week." This has foundered on a couple of points. First, getting up to speed is gonna take awhile. I've been trying to get out a couple of mornings a week since late January, and I'm up to ... running a mile (ten minutes) at a stretch. Second, it turns out I don't actually like running all that much.

I didn't realise that until recently because I didn't really have anything else to compare it to. But now that I've started doing yoga on the regular... I can tell the difference between something I want to do and something I push myself to do. Yoga flows through me. It pulls me. It's nice to be pulled. Running doesn't, running is something I do because I want to improve my lungs & general stamina. Even after a few months, I feel wrung out and beat after a run. I hate that.

In addition, yoga is sort of on the way to work, and sort of not. It's several blocks from the main bus route in the opposite direction from home. Be convenient if I had some sort of easy way to get from home to yoga to work in the mornings.



So yesterday I went into MEC (Canadian for "REI") and said "I'm interested in possibly getting a bike for commuting." Twenty minutes later I was test-riding, on a bicycle for the first time in at least fifteen years.

It was pretty great. Exhilarating. A combination of the sense of presence one gets from walking, and of the distance falling away from driving. The wind around me, and the /control/ and precision.

I gave the bike back for them to tune it up and proceeded to spend half the cost of the bike on various accessories (helmet, lock, lights, etc etc). Later today I'll go pick it up, and then tomorrow I get to ride it to yoga in the morning.

Assuming I manage to get some sleep, that is. Been sleeping poorly the last few nights. Too warm, or something.

Date: 2017-05-10 10:19 pm (UTC)
sartorias: (Default)
From: [personal profile] sartorias
I hope you enjoy biking as much as I do! (Not that I can do it around here--too hot, too much traffic, too few bike lanes, and too many coyotes.)

My solution to the bike theft problem was solved by the pocketbook: I could only afford a crap bike with brake on the pedal and one speed, which no self respecting thief ever wanted. My spouse used his bike to get to the fire department when he was a volunteer--but he went through four bikes.

(We even caught a bike thief once. She was about eighteen, wearing a teeny tiny bikini. The spouse and I were dating at that time. He came down into the closed patio, where she was in the process of wheeling out his bike, and she had just begun her droopy look, toe-dragging, baby-voiced, "Ooops, I thought this was my bike, I got so confoozed," when I came downstairs. She saw me, and my extreme skepticism, and took off running.)

Date: 2017-05-11 09:07 am (UTC)
green_knight: (Bike)
From: [personal profile] green_knight
Paint it any colour you like, but don't count on it not being stolen - I've had any number of bikes stolen, some of them so crappy you would not believe the thief didn't abandon them five yards later.

That said, if you get a decent lock and don't leave it overnight in dodgy places, you'll probably be fine.

Enjoy biking. I love it, though I am not a fan of city biking, either.

Date: 2017-05-14 12:40 am (UTC)
greenstorm: (Default)
From: [personal profile] greenstorm
Decent locks come with a theft guarantee: http://www.kryptonitelock.com/en/customer-service/register-for-anti-theft.html

Note it's rarely the lock that fails; I had a bike stolen by the bike rack being cut in two places (shiny bright new Canadian Tire special bike worth $100 or so) and a different bike stolen by sawing through the porch support (vintage Gary Fisher, near-irreplacable as it was) and friends' bikes stolen by cutting down a street tree one was locked to (SO MUCH ANGER) and unscrewing the bolt at the bottom of a street sign (they can be easily lifted out, DO NOT lock your bike to a street sign please.

Also always put your lock through your front wheel too.

Oh, and have fun. :)

Date: 2017-05-11 01:29 pm (UTC)
sartorias: (Default)
From: [personal profile] sartorias
If it's a good bike they steal it anyway and spray paint it.

Date: 2017-05-11 04:02 pm (UTC)
sartorias: (Default)
From: [personal profile] sartorias
That is actually your best protection. (Nobody has ever touched my battered one speed, which has never been locked. Even thieves have some self respect, I guess!)

Date: 2017-05-14 12:41 am (UTC)
greenstorm: (Default)
From: [personal profile] greenstorm
It's... not, sorry. A low end bike in this context is 50 bucks on craigslist. :/

Date: 2017-05-11 01:49 pm (UTC)
kailing: self portrait of me in front of my bedroom door, with purpled [and blued] hair, being very heart shaped (Default)
From: [personal profile] kailing
hoping it works out well for you! baltimore has a bike sharing program [with assists for hills, which i hear are great] and hopefully it will come to my area in a few months. i used to bike in nyc some, and miss it, but am still scared of city traffic without protections :P

Date: 2017-05-11 07:15 pm (UTC)
shanaqui: My Habitican mod avatar, featuring me and a pile of books bigger than me. (Default)
From: [personal profile] shanaqui
You're making me miss my bike!

Date: 2017-05-12 02:29 pm (UTC)
beable: (on the aurora with philias fogg)
From: [personal profile] beable

I'm strongly contemplating getting a bike again. I haven't used a bike in probably 20 years, and I weigh somewhat more than I did the last time I had a bike (although I was still overweight then too), so I may be making assumptions about how naturally the balance will come back to me (LOL). I'm mostly interested in a city cruising/commuting bike and I gave up biking because I used to have difficulties with the hand brakes on my previous bike, so I'd probably be fine with a single speed/coaster brake option, but I'll see what my options are. I'd assume that their are probably also bikes with handbrakes that are a better fit for me than what I had on my "Canadian Tire/Zellers/police auctrion/it was on sale somewhere" bike from high school/university.

Now that I'm being deliberately car-free (at least until September when I re-assess if I have adapted well to life without car ownership), it seems like having a bike would fill the gap for trips that are further than I want to walk but where I don't want to reserve an hourly-rate car in the car co-op.

Date: 2017-05-12 05:17 pm (UTC)
beable: (Default)
From: [personal profile] beable

Close, Ottawa :-)

We have vrtucar here.

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"Jazz Fish, a saxophone playing wanderer, finds himself in Mamboland at a critical phase in his life." --Howie Green, on his book Jazz Fish Zen

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