Tag Archives: not owning a car

Revenge of the Bicycle Theft Victim or Vengeance on a Bicycle Thief

There are many things I wonder about my life. Like what would have happened if my family hadn’t moved back to Florida in 1994? Where would I be now if I had studied something different in college? What would have happened if I had not moved back to California in 2002? What would have happened if I had gone into work earlier on September 4, 2008 (and hence not been in a car accident that ended the life of my car)? Where would I be now if these things hadn’t happened, if I hadn’t made the decisions that I made, and been at certain places at certain times?

When my car was totaled, I took some small bit of pleasure in that now it was final. I would never have to fix the motors on the two windows that had blown out. I would never have to get another oil change again. (Although I was never that good at car maintenance; in fact, I can probably count on one hand how many oil changes my poor little Hyandai had in its 8 year life.) I would never have to worry about the radiator blowing up again. This was a good thing, right?

Of course, I took a huge portion of grief in that I had just replaced the radiator, and the car was now driving with very little complaint. I took a little more pleasure in knowing I would never have to clean it out and take all the trash out of it, since I practically LIVED in the thing. All in all, I tried to look at this setback as an opportunity.

So what I’m wondering today is if our bicycle thief is dead yet.

That sounds harsh. I know.

So, when my bike was stolen, I also said I wanted to look at this situation (me truly being without ANY wheels) as an opportunity, not a setback. So I thought about the things I wouldn’t have to do like fix the gears on my bike.

Let me back up a little bit.

When I purchased my long lost blue Huffy, I had just lost another bike to…you guessed it, bicycle theft. Anyhow, after a few weeks without a bike, I figured the easiest way to replace my bicycle (which was actually my sister-in-law’s bicycle that I had outfitted with lights and beautiful side saddle baskets) by purchasing a bike from Target online. I didn’t really know what I was looking for or even enough about bikes to attempt to buy one off of Craigslist, and trying to identify then go look at a bike (via public transit) scared the shit out of me.

So I bought this bike from Target online. And for some reason, in all my naivety, I didn’t realize that it would come in pieces. I finally finished putting the bike together—screwing on the wheels, attaching the stem and handlebars, adjusting the chain, attaching the plastic pedals, adjusting the brakes—and now I was ready to go hunting on Craigslist! Once you put together a bike, forgetaboutit!

One thing that I never quite got working in A+ or even A- fashion was the brakes. They would be just right, nice and tight and responsive, then they’d completely slip. I had talked to my local bike repairman about fixing them. He was very obliging, and said he could do it in about 20 minutes if I would remove my rear baskets then come back. (My local bike repairman is always very obliging.) I never did. At one point I thought that I would get my ass over to a Monday night at the Bicycle Kitchen and learn how to adjust the brakes myself. (And then I could go back on other nights when all the attractive and fit bicycling men are there.) I never did. Or at least haven’t yet.

So, back to our bicycle thief. I do wonder if he’s still alive. When he stole my Huffy, the brakes were pretty much gone. Because I was used to the bike, and its for-crap brakes, I knew how to manipulate it and ride in such a way as to be able to stop the bicycle effectively. My fellow cyclists are cringing right now, but…The thief didn’t know this. He couldn’t have known this. So he speeds off on my bike, at some point he has to stop, and WTF happened is what I want to know?!

I will be scouring the recent traffic/accident reports to see if there are any bicycle accidents that could have plausibly involved a brake-less bicycle. If you see or hear of anything that might involve our “hero,” please pass it along.

I’ll keep you posted.



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No Car and Laundry Do Not Mix

I’ve been playing the “here-are-some-awesome-links” game for the past day and a half, so I thought it’s time to get back to some real content. So here’s some REAL content:

I’m not proud of these pictures.

The story they tell is sad. But there is a story here…

These are pics of laundry, MY laundry, covering my bedroom floor. I have intended to do laundry every night after work since Monday, and to-date have not even attempted to step outdoors after the bike ride home.

Therefore, no laundry has been done. And I have no clean undies. Or over-the-shoulder-boulder-holders. All dirty. Washing a couple in the sink as we speak. It’s sad.

How did it come to this, you ask? Well, I’m going to take you on…you guessed it! A rollercoaster journey of overwhelming emotion and physical exhaustion. Because this is one of the “toughies” of living without a car. Of LIFE WITHOUT WHEELS.

Now first of all, please recognize that my apartment building does not have a laundry room; therefore, I must travel off-site to Lucy’s (about 4 blocks away) to do my laundry. No big deal, right? Wrong.

Trying to do laundry after work, or a few loads before work, is impossible. Here’s why: I get up at 5am to ride to yoga then work. In the middle of the day I sneak out to ballet class, then I ride my bike home, arriving sometime between 6 and 7pm. When I get home, all I want to do is change clothes, chat online with some friends, and vegg out entirely. No brain functioning or physical activity allowed.

But it’s not just physical exhaustion. After you’ve gone a certain amount of time without a vehicle, a sort of malaise and lack-of-transportation depression takes hold. You don’t want to run any errands because they commandeer such a huge chunk of your day. If you run errands after work, you have no time to do anything else, which would be fine if you didn’t have anything else to do. Then you decide that you will wait for the weekend and do all your errands and chores then. BUT then all your errands and chores pile up; Saturday rolls around, and the last thing you want to do is spend your entire day off running errands and sitting at the Laundromat. What you really want to do is go to ballet class, ride to YogaWorks and get some clarity, work on your solo for Max 10 on November 2nd, and watch some goddamn TV or catch up on your DVR. You remember how nice it was to have a car, when it took  5 minutes to get to Target and get laundry detergent and not 3o minutes to an hour. You remember what it was like to walk out to your garage and get in your car, turn on the engine, and feel the A/C as you drive 2 miles away to the grocery store, instead of pulling out your hand cart and walking the mile uphill to the Ralphs on Vermont in the Southern California heat.

And (prior to quitting smoking) you think about how hard you’ve worked all week, and all you really want to do is sit in front of the TV with a bottle of wine, a pack of cigarettes, and some cubed cheese, because who the F*** cares about doing laundry, going to the grocery store, or doing any other kind of chore/errand that relates to actually maintaining your life?!?

So you start putting things off. You decide that you can buy your lunch every day, thereby canceling out any savings you might be accruing because you’ve chosen not to own a car, maintain it, buy gas, and pay car insurance. You decide that you can do laundry every three weeks; you certainly have enough leotards and tights to get through three weeks. Those last couple of days when you start to run out of clean undies/bras you can wash a few in the sink. Hey, it worked when you were in drum corps, didn’t it?

I feel like the above just sounds like one big whine, but I just want to impress on you the effect of the situational depression that can occur.

But for the next month, I’m going to try and instill in myself the belief that my lack of vehicular transportation does not hinder my mobility. I mean, I’m always telling people it doesn’t affect my life at all, but then I don’t think I really believe that, even though I try to convince everyone else of it. They say it takes 21 days to make a habit. So hopefully by the end of October I’ll see and truly believe that my lifestyle is maintainable. (You wouldn’t believe that I’ve been without wheels for over a year already, would you?) Coming up…pics from my trip to the Laundromat.

Here are my clothes, separated into loads. This took a while, considering the amount of laundry I had to do.

Here are my clothes, separated into loads. This took a while, considering the amount of laundry I had to do.

When the basket got full...

When the basket got full...

...I still had ALL these clothes to somehow transport to Lucys.

...I still had ALL these clothes to somehow transport to Lucy's.

Thank goodness my mom bought be this mesh bag when I went to college.

Thank goodness my mom bought me this mesh bag when I went to college.

Then you have to fit both the laundry basket and the big mesh bag into your hand cart.

Then you have to fit both the laundry basket and the big mesh bag into your hand cart.

I was ecstatic to see that on an early Saturday evening, Lucys was practically empty, and I didnt have to wait for a washer.

I was ecstatic to see that on an early Saturday evening, Lucy's was practically empty, and I didn't have to wait for a washer.

Almost done folding clothes! Yay!

Almost done folding clothes! Yay!

And thus at approximately 9pm on Saturday evening, my laundry expedition ended. Clothes clean, folded, and smelling of Downey fabric softener. Seems like I made a whole lot of drama about nothing…guess you had to be there.


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