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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