Transmogrifying into a cyclist


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Okay, so I've fallen into the trap which besets every aspiring "blogger" of not actually writing ever. To address that, I'm going to significantly lower my standards for what deserves to be written about. Instead of waiting to have a real full article to write, I'm just going to write stuff in parts: whatever's going on at the moment. That out of the way, I'll get on the actual topic of this article.

I bought a bike. For whatever reason, I've decided it's a good idea to start riding a bike to work. Actually, it's not whatever reason; it's several legitimate reasons. The first and most important reason is that I really need the exercise. At this point, I'm not even sure I can make the 3.3 mile trip to my workplace, and that's really bad. I'm going to work my way up for probably a week or two and then start with riding to work once a week, then twice a week, then thrice, etc. until I'm up to riding to work every day. The second reason is gas. It's honestly not that much of a deal since the bulk of my gas goes toward my weekly half-hour commute to church, but every little bit helps, I guess. I did the math, and I would save about $400/year at current gas prices if I were to bike to work exclusively. That figure will increase with gas prices.

Ah, and I suppose you might like to know what bike I got. Since bikes are so expensive these days I decided to get a used bike on eBay. I ended up going with a Specialized Crossroads XP from about '94 or '95. It seems to be in pretty good shape, but it will need a tune up. I'm also going to be adding a rear rack for panniers and trigger style shifters. I rode it around a bit, and the grip shifters are just a pain. I might need to get new wheels on account of my bulk, but that might be an expense for a later date. My hope is I'll be able to lose enough weight before the wheels become an issue.

My bicycle research also brought me down a rabbit hole of bike infrastructure and urban planning. That may be a topic for a future article, but I can sum up my feelings on the matter: I hate American cities, I hate suburbs, I hate cars, I hate stroads. I really think the car-dependent infrastructure of American cities is a major component of my disdain for cities in general. Maybe cities wouldn't be so bad if they were actually human oriented and people cared to make them beautiful.

By Michael


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