Yet Another Reason To Love Bicycling

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Bikes FTW!

I recently crossed my two-year anniversary of “bringing back the bike” to my life as one of my favorite modes of transportation. Since then I discovered:

But recent events have me adding one more tally mark in the bike’s column – There’s simply less to break on a bike than there is on a car.

A Car Curse

On a recent Friday, we were trying to coordinate an inspection on our house, important meetings at work that precluded any work-from-home for the day, and returning Mr PoP’s parents’ car to their garage since Papa PoP had left at our house when departing on a road trip while Mama PoP was out of town. It was enough moving parts that I asked Papa PoP if he would mind if I drove his car to work for the day and we would drop it off at their place after work. “Sure! No problem!”

But what should happen when I make a quick stop at the grocery store at lunch during that day? A hit and run.

The white SUV I parked next to in the parking lot at the grocery store must have swiped the passenger side of the car when they were pulling out and I didn’t even notice until my colleague at work showed it to me (since he parked on that side of the car).

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When I showed Mr PoP at home, he wiped at it a few times and some of the paint rubbed off. “We need to go to the car wash to get the oil [in our car] changed tomorrow, so we’ll get this one washed well tomorrow, too, and see how bad it is then.”

The next morning, off to the car wash we went. In all the craziness of telling Mr PoP about the hit and run, I forgot to tell him about the odd “whirring” noise I heard in his parents’ car when I got into it the day before. He heard that same noise when driving it to the car wash, and as Mr PoP was waiting in line for the wash, the car was struggling. It actually completely shut off when going through the car wash and had to be pushed out of the wash and started with a jump. (I tipped the car wash guys VERY well after that…) But the car was acting so strangely that Mr PoP was worried about being able to get it back to his parents’ house just a few miles away. Mr PoP, being a car guy, had a pretty good inkling of what it was – the alternator was dying.

We managed the car back to their house, and were able to assess the damage of the hit and run. While it was not as bad as we originally thought, we both looked at it and knew we had to tell his folks and pay for it when they get it fixed*, but we now we also had to tell them their car needed another (probably) expensive repair. Fun, right?

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Since Mama PoP was expected back into town in a few days, we wanted to try and get her car drivable by the time she got back. So Papa PoP had us do the car juggle again to get their car from their house to the car repair shop they use the following Monday night. We’re driving there in two separate cars to do the car juggle, and I’m driving our car, so do what I do every time I’m alone in our car. Turn off the A/C and roll the windows down. Only when I stop at the repair shop to let Mr PoP in, the passenger side window won’t roll up. At all. Nothing. No movement. Uggh! I felt so car cursed!

When we got home that night, we trouble-shooted the window as much as we could in the dark, and Mr PoP got the center console of the car taken apart and managed to get the window back up (important because it was supposed to rain overnight and our garage is currently filled with construction materials). But now we’re looking at $100-300 + a few more hours of Mr PoP’s time to fix the window. Ugh.

Less To Break On A Bike

When I hopped on my bike the next morning to head to work, I just kept thinking about how glad I was that:

  • I wouldn’t care (heck, probably wouldn’t notice it’s so dirty!) if someone chipped the paint on my bike’s frame
  • My bike doesn’t have an alternator. As long as I keep extra batteries on hand for my LED head and tail lights, all of my electrical systems are good to go!
  • My bike doesn’t have any windows. This means I don’t have to roll them down every time I hop on the bike to feel the wind running past me, and it’s really just one less thing to break.

So while I doubt we’ll ever become a no-car family, times like these just make me appreciate the mechanical simplicity of my bicycle and how it really is my low-stress transportation option.

 

Have you ever felt cursed like this and really savored something low maintenance as a result?

16 comments to Yet Another Reason To Love Bicycling

  • Heidi

    I feel your pain for the hit and run. I live in the city, pay for a parking spot and my car got hit there by a tow truck this week. When I sent pictures and went to the tow truck company, the manager called me back and cursed me out for trying to have him pay for damages…..

    • The manager cursed you out! How terrible! You were right to call and ask for them to cover the damage – for a business this is simply a cost of doing business! Mr PoP’s Jeep was dinged by a delivery driver before we were married and the company just paid the estimate without a fuss. Is there someone else you can talk to at the tow company? Another manager or an owner?

  • My car that got me through high school and college had its list of problems. Some of which no one could figure out how to fix (electrical). Much less moving parts on a bike and basically no electronics (some lights). I definitely agree that the bike is the way to go when possible!
    Fervent Finance recently posted..Anything is NegotiableMy Profile

  • Wow! That haunted car makes the thought of bicycling to work sound GOOD!

    Infuriating about the jerk scratching your car. Too bad cars don’t come equipped with 360-degree cameras that run all the time. Or laser torpedoes that are triggered by the friction of a car (or a key) scratching along the paint…
    Funny about Money recently posted..Is Costco Shopping an Addiction?My Profile

    • I was so ticked off about the hit and run, but Mr PoP is convinced the driver might not have even known they did it because a lot of bumpers nowadays have a little give in the plastic and it didn’t dent the side at all. The crazy part is the number of people this happens to. Once I started telling people about it, they all had stories about how it happened to someone else they knew recently too! Are people just getting worse at pulling in/out of parking spaces without hitting other cars?

  • Ugh, I hate parking lot hit and runs :-( I’ve been a victim of that too. And when we tried to point out it to the person, who we think may have hit our car while getting into the spot, tensions really escalated. I finally told my husband to let it go because we weren’t getting anywhere with the person.

    At least you were able to get the car to the repair shop for Papa PoP. That’s so nice of you guys! Hopefully, the repairs all go smoothly.

    I will say that I don’t always fix cosmetic damage to my car, but I do fix it if there’s a chance of rust. Also, I fix damage if I’m taking the car in anyway. I took the car in to repaint the hood (the paint was peeling something fierce somehow), and I got a bunch of stuff fixed then that I’d put off. Arranging to take the car in is the worst.
    Leah recently posted..Boarding School MomentMy Profile

    • So sorry that you were also a victim of the hit and run, too. It really does suck, even without the parking lot arguments about it.

      The alternator got fixed in time for Mama PoP to pick it up when she got back from her trip, so all was well in the end on that matter at least. =) It really can be a pain in the butt to arrange dropping off and picking up cars for service. The “free” drop offs or loaner cars were one of the nice parts about going to the dealer years ago (the not nice part being how much they charged and how smarmy they were).

      • I will say that drop off for maintenance is even harder with just one car. At least, winter drop-off is. We went way too long without changing our oil because we can’t go without our car due to day-care drop off. It’s also hard to drop off the car to get the oil changed unless we’re willing to wait or walk home in sub-zero. We’re going to start biking with our little one this summer, but I’m not sure if that would be a sustainable drop-off solution when school starts. Our daycare is 8-10 minutes by car but a bit longer using the bike trails.

        But we are excited to use the bike this summer to potentially bike for groceries, so that’s fun.
        Leah recently posted..Boarding School MomentMy Profile

  • I’ve been a fairweather bike commuter for the past five years or so. I have a post about the two bikes I’ve used to commute coming up sometime.

    And yeah, I have to agree, for me when it comes to benefits of a bike over a car, this is number 1 with a bullet! Ever since I got my drivers license, I’ve hated cars for many reasons, but the biggest reason is that I have to take care of it like a little baby. I have to feed it gas and change its diaper (oil) and make sure the temperature gauge doesn’t get too hot or so cold that the battery doesn’t work and all this other bullshit. On a macro level, it’s totally inefficient to have 200 million people separately taking care of 200 million cars. There’s so much that can go wrong, and so much time devoted to fixing those things. Public transit and biking would save us all untold hours, money, and mental headspace for more important things. Bicycles are so easy to understand, anyone can become an expert with a class or two or a day’s worth of studying.

    Right now, a door lock is broke on my Honda Civic. Once I get that fixed, I’m selling the car and we’re going to share one Toyota.
    Norm recently posted..I Went On Vacation And You Didn’t!: Peru, Part 1My Profile

  • Sorry to hear about your hit and run. That sucks.

    My car battery died sometime between 2/2 and 2/28 (I didn’t try to use my car from 2/2 until 2/28). I didn’t get it repaired until 3/25 because I just didn’t care. I got around on my bike. This let me buy a advance auto parts gift card online for 18% off face value, saving me a nice $19. Yay for bikes!

    “There’s simply less to break on a bike than there is on a car.” That, and the fact that a bike just costs less than a car, so the repairs cost less too =)

  • Yikes! This is why I hope go back down to one car ASAP–less to break.

    I drove my car to the urban Sprouts when we first moved to our new house. I had to circle the parking lot several times to get a space. Then, when I was leaving, there was a fender-bender between two cars waiting for my space!

    Now I bike whenever it’s remotely possible. Even though it’s three-mile slightly uphill return trip, and the kids aren’t getting any lighter.
    Frugal Paragon recently posted..Friends, I Spent $180 on LightbulbsMy Profile

  • We have similar bad luck with cars. One accident (not our fault) killed our otherwise serviceable car. One three years later (definitely our fault) hurt the frame enough that it made more sense to trade it in while there was still any value left and just get a new-to-us one.

    I pray this sucker lasts.
    Abigail @ipickuppennies recently posted..I’m alright (and that’s not okay)My Profile

  • EL

    The car gods have cursed you. I would love to bike to work, but being 25 miles away by highway makes it impossible. IF my commute changes one day, I will get a bike asap. Good story.
    EL recently posted..Saver or SpenderMy Profile

  • Man, when it rains it pours, right?

    Bikes are possibly the most elegant transportation technology ever created. More simple and far more efficient than anything else on wheels or in the air.
    Done by Forty recently posted..Side Stepping the HustleMy Profile