Cheers to 3 years (and new gears)

 

For my anniversary marking 3 years of living car free, I went full middle aged hipster and celebrated with craft beer and a new 1×10 groupset on my commuter (halfway to a fixed gear, which is as close as I’m ever going to get). I have the tendency to put off replacing parts until it’s absolutely necessary (mostly out of laziness), so it feels like a whole new bike now that I have new gears and recently new brakes.

 

 

I changed out my brakes myself this time, and I did a fairly mediocre job if I do say so myself. In the course of planning my summer bike trip somewhere around the Great Lakes, I’ve realized my mechanic/maintenance skills really need to exist be kicked up a notch. You would think that living by bike would have taught me some basic functional skills by default by now, such as changing a flat or derailleur adjusting, but I’ve been pretty lucky over the last 3 years in terms of mechanical issues.

Well, except for the other day when of all things, I went to lock up my bike and found that the whole barrel of my combination lock had randomly broken off:

 

 

Thankfully there’s usually a bike shop nearby when riding around in Greenville, but for a 1,000+ mile trip like the one I’m planning, I’m going to need to be a bit more self-reliant.

At any rate, considering all the worries I had 3 years ago about what life would be like without a car, I wish I could go back a bit further and tell myself to just go for it. I haven’t missed car ownership once, not even through hurricanes, snow, or even moving last summer. It’s not always convenient or comfortable to ride a bike for transportation, but ultimately having 24/7 convenience and comfort aren’t what I’m after. If I’m lucky, there will be many more car free anniversaries to celebrate in my future.

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Cheers to 3 years (and new gears)

March Madness

A funny thing about bike commuting, as is also often the case with bike touring, is that random inconveniences often tend to work out perfectly. For example, today I ended up with a free hour to spend downtown since it wasn’t worth riding home between work and going to dinner. In a car, I would have rushed home for just a few minutes or found an errand to run along a busy, traffic clogged road, since there’s no inherent need to drive downtown and find parking at this hour. Instead, I took a quiet bike route through neighborhoods into Greenville and have wound up sitting and relaxing by the waterfall in our beautiful downtown park.The parking is free and easy, the view is gorgeous, and it’s a perfect opportunity to vote for my town in the elite 8 of the Strong Towns bracket and unwind in the sunshine.

March Madness