Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Another Reason Why People Should Invest in Bikes

Most of you know how much of a bicycle and public transit advocate I am. However, there are times that I feel like a hypocrite or an impostor: I drive my car (more often than not) and while I work in a bicycle shop, I hardly get to ride my bikes!

But today confirmed everything that I have ever argued against cars. There are many costs, both perceived and unperceived, associated with the car. Fuel, maintenance, insurance. The list is endless. Today, I was reminded of another cost.

The cost of having your tires slashed.

Yes. My tires have been slashed. Who, when, and why: I have no idea. But if I find out what little shithead is responsible for this, I hope karma comes back to them and HARD.

I drove my car to and from school yesterday and parked in front of my neighbor's house with no consequence. I had lunch, hopped on my bike, and left for class at Cal. This morning, I tried to drive to school but quickly decided my car was in no shape and drove Stephen's car to class instead. Initially, I thought my car was being slow and creaky because I was low on gas. My gas light lit up Monday night, but I figured I still had miles to go before it was completely empty. I decided I didn't have time to stop at the gas station on my way to school, so I went back to the house to ask Stephen if I could borrow his car. I went back outside to grab my parking permit off my windshield to put on Stephen's car.

THAT'S when I realized my tires were flat and it wasn't the low gas levels that was making my car creep along.

I didn't have time to deal with it; I couldn't miss any more class. I dealt with it after I got home from school. I called AAA, they came and inflated my tires. Then, we found the cuts. As we were inflating, we could hear and feel air whooshing out of the tire. We found several small cuts on the sidewall of each tire. So we called CostCo. They were still open and told us to tow it on down. Except...wait...we don't have the tires you need. Wait, hold on. We might have two. No, nevermind. They're being held for another customer. We'll go ahead and order them for you.

So I'm out a car (which isn't a bad thing) for an undisclosed amount of time. The plus side to this is that I'm going to be bussing and biking more, something that I am looking forward to. What I'm not exactly thrilled about it is the cost of the new tires. Even though two of them are dead, I have to replace all four, for equal wear and so I don't spin out on the highway in some bizarre freak accident.

This instance (along with so many others) reinforces what I've known all along: that I can and should live a car-free life. I love this car and have many good (and bad) times in it. And I'm going to miss it when it goes. But when it bites the dust, I know I won't be scrambling to a dealership to get a replacement.

Folks! Ride your bike! It's significantly cheaper, healthier, WAY more fun, and people who ride bikes are generally happier than your average car driver.

And to the asshole who slashed my tire (and maybe you were the one who also broke into my neighbor's car or their house): life is out to get you. Watch your ass.

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