New bike time

Written by erik


I should have bought a used bike. I know that, I do. There’s no reason to go out and buy something new when something used would have worked just fine. Other than the fact that my old ride was stolen week before last, and has probably been sold since. How’s that for a dilemma – add to the demand for stolen bikes, or add to the demand for newly manufactured ones, with all the corresponding environmental impact?

But I bought the new one, a Specialized Tricross that’s a reasonable facsimile of the one that got swiped, and I’m in love already. It’s not the bike so much as it is the familiar feeling of it down in the garage, ready for the ride in to work on Monday morning.

I’ve been a solid bike commuter to the San Francisco TerraPass office since moving here in 2007. In my previous work life up in Seattle, my drive was long enough, and the winter icy enough, that I was never able to commit to the bike commute. Here it’s a different story, with the geography and climate cooperating to enable a year-round habit.

Bike To Work Day is coming up May 13 (check out plans in San Francisco and everywhere else), but why wait? It hit 92 degrees in New York City last week after all. So pull your ride out of the garage, head down to the local bike shop for a tune up, and hit it this coming week. The earlier you get your bike out, the earlier you’ll wish you did it even sooner!

Oh, but buy a good U-lock. I’ve finally learned my lesson about even the very strongest of cable locks. They just don’t get the job done, apparently because they can all be snipped, whereas the U-locks have to be ground down, with all the attendant noise and sparks. For more on bike security, here’s a solid overview.

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  1. David Belden

    It always makes me shutter to hear about bikes being stolen! My bikes are my main source of fun and when it comes to commuting, also my main source of transportation.
    Although a good U-Lock is hard to cut, I think more and more companies should allow bikes to be stored inside, if not in the individual’s office (if they have one). Even a well locked bike can be vandalized or have parts stolen. I’m fortunate enough to work in the residential solar energy industry, so we just bring our bikes right into the office since bike commuting is very in line with our green mission. But I’d like to see that be a more widespread practice.
    I wonder what the rate of theft / break-ins / vandalization is for cars compared with bikes? Which is safer if left parked or locked on the street for 8 hours? A car or a bike?

  2. 2wheels

    Not only be able to bring your bike in to your work but what about restaurants and businesses coffee houses? Make a area for bikes? That would awesome!

  3. Eli Meyer

    Two words: “Bike Valet”
    This is the hip new thing at events who are promoting healthy, sustainable transportation. It’s great being treated as a VIP when you roll up to on your cruiser while the people in cars need to drive around looking for an overpriced parking spot.

  4. Marj

    I just want to give a shout-out to the Seattle police. Last fall my bike was stolen out of a storage locker in our apartment building (the thieves took the door off the hinges – we’ve since moved), and I found it advertised a week later on Craigslist: “Must move, must part with lovely bike…” blah, blah. To my amazement, the police took the information and the serial number, followed up with the seller and brought my bike back to me!

  5. Dave

    I’m very glad for indoor bike parking at my building. I think it gave them some LEED bonus points when they did their renovation a few years back. No way am I parking my bike on the street all day. I’d ride a folding bike first, and sneak it into my cubicle if I had to.
    Serial number off the frame needs to be recorded. I know it’s a pain to do this but it can aid the recovery of any stolen bike, from pawn shop or other source.
    There is also a National Bike Registry for those who are inclined to pay someone else to maintain and provide ownership info to law enforcement in the event a bike is recovered anywhere by police.