The Arrow

There are no answers; only choices.

I’m Getting a Bike Horn

Posted by thearrow on February 17, 2012

Spring time is around the corner and my expanded butt can’t wait to get into the serious biking regimen again. It’s been four very long months of not biking and instead stuffing my face with lots of bread and sweets. And boy, does the scales show it. But besides that, I’m going nuts without biking to work.

So I took my faithful bike to the shop for a tuneup, which she hasn’t had in two years. Or in about 2,000 miles. Yes, two thousand. On average. Given that I bike to work 26 miles/day, two days a week for 6-7 months, that averages out to about 1,250 miles/year. The guy at the bike shop took a look at it and said, “the case is gone, the crank is gone, the chain is gone. I’ll have to replace all of them.” Given that I bike uphill and downhill all the time, starting with four hills as soon as I get out the door, I change gears a lot, which wears out the spikes on which the chain rests. The good news is that it will all cost just as much as a regular tuneup anyway, because the tuneup focuses on exactly those parts. I love the guys in the back of bike shops. They know their stuff.

I was never handy with anything, let alone mechanical stuff, but I’d really like to learn it. One of my friends (a passionate engineer), gave me a bike repair book as a birthday gift, which I thought was really cool. I’d better start reading it.

And, before I hit the road on the bike again, I’ll get a horn. I’m tired of drivers not noticing me, in spite of my flashing light. I was going to the shop this evening and stopped at a pedestrian crossing (I was on the sidewalk), where an SUV driver saw me, and yet proceeded with going slowly ahead, thus blocking my access to the other side. Are you fucking nuts? Helloooo! So I’ve ordered a bike horn that’s supposed to be extremely loud; yes, the guy below. Maybe that will put some fear of God into them.

I did go to an outdoor sports store to see if they had any and had the most hilarious and edifying conversation with one of their salespeople, a guy who’s a hardcore biker. He started by saying that he lives in DC, doesn’t own a car, and bikes everywhere. Dude, same here :). Then he looked at the U-lock I was carrying (I had already dropped my bike at the shop) and said, “THAT’S your horn. I smashed two windows so far. ” He looked dead serious. I said, laughing, “well, I’m not sure I want to go down that path… Did they come after you?” To which he responded, “I’m alive.”

That’s the spirit! So, I’m sick of drivers not seeing me. I will honk the shit out of them. Let’s see if they like it. I also saw a really cool pic at the store, of a woman with a bare back, on which it was written, “you own a car, not the road.” I need to find something fluorescent on which to print that, or sew letters to, and wear it while in traffic. Or WHATEVER, but something to let drivers know that there are others out there who have the right to use the road.

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