A report of my boyfriend’s first experience purchasing a bike, and being without a car for a month. This first report is two weeks in. After the final two weeks, I’ll give another report!
Buying my first bicycle on my own was a proud moment. In Portland at the time, I bought it refurbished from a little store called the Community Cycle Center. Their catch phrase, pedals to the people, is very much illustrative of their idea that bikes empower low income communities. They have bike camps where you could learn to do your own maintenance, and they have programs where adults and children can work to earn their own bicycle. Not only was I recycling and reducing my carbon footprint, but I was supporting a good cause as well! It was at this moment in my life that I decided (yes, even in rainy day Portland) that I never wanted to own a car. Perhaps, if need be, my family would have one car. But after seeing a few of the below get ups parked next to the natural food grocery store, I had visions of a pedaling family of net carbon neutral greatness.
Jesse (the boyfriend) never really shared this vision. A suburbanite, proud of his large and good quality house, a car is pretty necessary for him to get around. Furthermore, he had problems with bikes in the past. To be frank, they made certain parts hurt, which led to him saying “I do not ride bicycles.” It was in that tone of voice that brokers no dispute.
Imagine my surprise then, when I received a text one day stating that Jesse was looking to buy a bicycle. It was a few days into his month long visit, and he was going stir crazy. On his own he had walked out into the city and tried out a bunch of bikes at local bike stores. To his surprise, there were seats that were comfortable for him. Note to all new buyers, more padding does not necessarily equal a more comfortable ride! Soon, Jesse was the proud owner of a brand new hybrid bike. A hybrid bike is a comfort bike, and you can read more about bike types and picking one out for yourself here.
All told, his upfront costs were about $600, $400 for the bike, and $200 for all the gear (helmets, baskets, lights, and locks). He saved a little bit because I already had a good bicycle pump. This was pretty inexpensive for a good bike. If he wanted something of greater quality, he could have gone on craigslist, but we would have needed to recruit a friend with a car in order to have gone around and tried out all the prospects. Furthermore, as a man concerned with comfort, he wanted to make sure he had a bike that fit him. My own bike is actually much too big for me, but I deal with it. At the time of purchase I was going for maximum quality as well as steel (I have a thing for steel), and my own personal comfort was secondary. My start up bike costs were more along the $1200 range. $800 for the bike, and $400 for the gear (helmet, made in usa side bags, lights).
I got my made in USA bags from a woman in Georgia who runs a great etsy store called TinyTankTech. The bags are top notch, and she does free repairs! And trust me, I put these bags through hell. My favorite thing about them is the incredible size capacity if I extend them all the way up.
A few days after purchasing the bike, Jesse was biking all over Sacramento! Averaging about 20 miles every other day, he was running errands for everything from groceries to a hand blender. We recently went out on a breakfast date, and we had our pick of places because Jesse being on his bike made us much more mobile. As I leisurely peddled along (I was pre-coffee after all) he recklessly shoved other cyclists out of the way and barreled down the bike lane. He’d pause every few blocks to look back with a grin that said “hee-hee, I’m going faster than you!” The bike comes first, learning bike lane courtesy later. He is also very defensive of his little black hybrid bike. Every time he rides he looks for new scratches of any sharp debris in the tires. It is rather endearing, and he insists on taking the quick release wheels off to lock them instead of getting a cable lock, since cable locks can be cut. He claims his legs are tired but not that sore, and his butt is doing just fine, thank you. He says that he feels really good about it. Just coming off the referee season, the biking is great cross training for his tired running legs. In terms of getting about the city, he absolutely loves it. For city rides, statistics show that bicycling is faster, or about the same time, as driving a car. And parking is always a breeze!
Going from being on foot here to being on a bike, he laughs and says it feels as if “the world is now his oyster.” He likes the speed and gas savings so much, he’s considering eventually running all of his errands, like I once did, on a bicycle in rainy Portland, OR.
This Week in Updates:
Grocery shopping went great, which is good because I wanted the extra money to by an interesting tasting juice called the green hornet. Cucumbers, wheat grass, and garlic, I was trying to down some vitamins because I am sick. So sick in fact, I’ve been sent home for two days leading into the weekend. Would be kind of great with Jesse here if I wasn’t coughing and wheezing. Apparently their is wheezing in my left lung? My sinuses are not burning anymore, so I am hoping for a recovery. I took homeopathic medicine for the first two days, then gave up on that and I’m downing the free sudafed and mucinex that they gave me at work.
The extra free time is letting me catch up on sleep (much needed) and I finally did some motorcycle research! Because I am trying to be involved in a community outreach program for the Sacramento Natural Food Co-Op, I need to expand my range. My moped simply isn’t doing it. I settled on this one from the same scooter store that helped me put together my scooter. It has much better gas mileage then my scooter, and looks pretty spiffy, eh? Now I just have to figure out how to change gears and all that jazz.
The Recipe: 1 Hour Bread
So this is more of a recipe review, but I just thought that this was so amazing that it deserved it’s own week! So I have made homemade bread before, and I never liked doing it because it took so much time and actually cost about the same as buying a loaf. You had all the different flours, powdered buttermilk, real milk, yadda yadda. I also don’t do that pan of hot water in the oven thing. I refuse. Thus, it was with great surprise I discovered this recipe. And it was tasty! And delicious! I mean, I can make sandwiches now! A whole other area of cuisine has just opened up for me. I think I’ll need a new category for sandwich things. And perhaps some more homemade french toast. Perhaps I can use the same recipe for baguettes? It’s so crusty delicious on the outside!