It was a rough summer for bicycle commuting, between the tires, the trips and the heat. As I mentioned before, I felt like my alternative commuting activism has waned a bit. Then throw in my health issues and you’ve got a perfect recipe for someone who wasn’t all that psyched to get back into the routine of bicycle commuting when I returned to work. September’s totals:
8 days on the bike
5 days driving the car
In preparation for this new school year, I bought a second basket for the bike (third if you count the handlebar basket) so I could have more storage options. However, I’ve been struggling ever since.
I don’t think my cheap, but lovely bicycle was made very well. She never held her balance particularly well even right out of the box, sans baskets. Once I added the front and rear basket, she became a little less stable and far more so when the baskets were full. Madeleine has taken a lot of spills this year – a whole lot. I’ve literally had to reshape the handlebar basket at least three times post tip-over. With this third basket, she really cannot stand on her own any longer unless she is leaning against something – which is okay. But frustrating.
As I’ve been riding to work, I’ve felt that the bike is a lot slower and feels super heavy. Could the addition of just one extra basket have added that much extra weight? I’m not sure. Though my heavy lunchbox probably isn’t helping matters, either. Further, I wonder if all the violent falls she has had have bent her frame out of whack. I don’t know. I could take her in to have her looked at, but I’m at the point now where I don’t see it as a wise investment. She was so cheap (no offense, Madeleine!) that it would make more financial sense to buy a new Madeleine than have the old one fixed.
But that’s not my plan. I’m thinking of where I’m going and what I want to do for the future. Gas prices are insane. I never thought we’d still be at the $4/gallon mark after summer. So it’s time to do some brainstorming and start making wiser investments in my alternative commuting. A better quality cruiser is high on my list (don’t tell M!). And I sure would love a strong cargo bike, but man, the price is prohibitive. I’m even considering a motorized scooter for getting around town when I need a break from pedaling. And I still dream of having a trike…just for fun. I wouldn’t have any more issues with the bike tipping over!
Right now, there really are no options, as far as finances go. But I’m trying to prepare myself for when I do have the money. Until then, I’ll be trudging along on poor, overworked, overloaded Madeleine.