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:
- how great of a stress reliever it is to ride to and from work,
- that I actually dress more professionally at work than I did before bike riding (dresses are lightweight to carry, jeans are not!),
- that dropping down to a one car family was easily accomplished,
- and that the savings from all of this bike riding was even higher than some of our initial estimates.
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).
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?
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?