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Send My Conscience Home in a Taxi

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Nearly a Year Of The Bike
It's getting close to a year since I got my bike.

It was really interesting the reactions I'd get when I told folks I'd got a bike. Many of my friends couldn't care less, but that (largish) group of my people who are Hardcore Cyclist greeted it as a major lifestyle decision! They welcomed me! These are the kinds of people who will, I kid you not, organise a house move entirely by bike. Fridges on bike trailers etc. Nutbars in other words :-) Keen participants in critical mass.

My friend Geoff had been pestering me to get a bike literally for years. He was miffed when after dating Deb (notoriously keen cyclist, owner of enviable green bike with a vintage Peugeot frame) for only about four months, I went and bought one.

There was more to it than that. I'd been close to getting a bike on several occasions. And almost every time I was about to get one, my sister would injure herself in some way on a bike. Put her head through a car window on Brunswick street or something.

Small piece of history: my sister, as a volunteer at Friends of the Earth back in the early nineties helped organise the first Critical Mass in Melbourne. Although she never actually ridden on one.

I would often go on CM on a borrowed bicycle. And... I only realised this recently, but I don't really enjoy it. I get nervous riding slowly, especially in a large mass of other cyclist. I also try and ride in a way that doesn't antagonise car drivers - which is the exact opposite of Critical Mass.

So my experiences of cycling were not particularly good. Although I have realised my sister is clumsy and accident prone, so probably not a good yard stick by which to measure cycling :-)

So in about May of last year, I kinda ran out of excuses. I didn't need to drive to work like I did when I was working in Fisherman's Bend. So when I got the job I have now, I said to Deb and Geoff when I get my first paycheck, I will go buy bike. So I did!

This is what Ninja Bike looked like when I got it (from the catalogue):

A Felt Racing QX70 Hybrid (I don't think they make them any more).

Felt's have actually proved to be quite rare. I've seen maybe five since I got mine, and I've never seen one of my model. They seem to specialise in racing bikes, I've seen extremely exotic racing Felts, made from carbon fibre, retailing for over $7,000!

Interesting thing about bikes - there are hundreds of companies making them, and no two end up alike. They're much more diverse than cars.

And this is what he looks like now (note background details like my cat's bowl :-):
(Click on the pictures for much, much bigger view.)

Here we can see in detail the bar ends, bike computer, front reflector, mud guard, drink bottle and holder, and two spoke cards I have added:

And here we have the kick stand (added last week), rear mud guard, second drink bottle holder, rack and big fuck-off bike lock:

It also has two front lights, two rear lights and two panniers.

I started regularly riding to work back in mid-January. My office building has at least three showers and a large carpark where one can park a bike. So since roughly Australia day, I've ridden about 940 kilometres!

One thing I never realised about bikes - they need constant maintenance. Luckily Deb's housemate is a made-keen bike fixer, a bit like I am with computers! For example, riding in the rain once can make one's chain rusty. I suspect they are made light and only as strong as possible - lets face it, if they were more robust they would weight more.