Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Bikes are going to save the world.

Shortly after graduation this past may, my friend Ross and I boarded a plane to Frankfurt, Germany. For one month, we backpacked around Central Europe (Brussels, Brugge, Amsterdam, Hamburg, Berlin, Prague, Munich, Stuttgart, Bern, Interlaken, back to Frankfurt - in that order) having the time of our lives. One of the things we noticed on this trip was the cost of gas, which was close to ten USD per gallon! That's not a typo folks, while we're complaining about the prospect of paying over four bills a gallon, they're paying through the keyster for the stuff.
The next interesting thing of note was the way a lot of people dealt with this. It's actually a fairly incredible concept. Some people just don't drive that much. Amazing concept, right? Propane costs a ton, so people consume less of it. This was especially true in a few cities, and none more so than Amsterdam, where it seemed everyone got around via bicycle. So I was fairly inspired by these people's willingness to use an alternative form of transportation, and when I got back to the states I went to my garage and pulled my old Gary Fisher Gitche Gumee out from the cobwebs that had engulfed it over the past few years, and cleaned it off, lubed the chain, pumped the tires and took her for a spin. I have to tell you, it's an addicting activity. In terms of the impact that riding a bike has on an individual's lifestyle, I enjoyed this little shpeel from the Godfather himself.
So now that the Gitche has proven a useful enough means of getting around, I'm feeling like I need to up my high. I need something that can get me around more effectively. Riding from Needham to Belmont takes me around 45 minutes on a mountain bike, but it's all on roads, so why not cut down that time and get a road bike? I did a little research, and let's just say that for someone who still hasn't landed his first professional job, this is about as unrealistic as being AD at UCLA by 25. Okay, not that unrealistic, but I can't afford a new road bike.
The alternative routes are somewhat interesting. The specialty store in Belmont has a little annex that sells refurbished old bikes, although those still cost a pretty penny (the last time I was in, everything was still north of $500 with the exception of a few fix gear fellas, which aren't really what I'm looking into). Then of course there's Craigslist, which certainly can yield some winners at the right time. Then there's the option of finding my dad's old road bike from when he was in grad school and trying to refurbish it, which is something I lack the competence to do, but therefore really want to give a shot.
Anyway, the point I was going to make before going on that tangent is that restoring an old beater of a bike is fairly badass. And since Mr. Fisher himself would be proud of it, I think I'll give it a shot. If that falls through, I'll wait until I get a job and then invest in this quasi-reasonably-priced beauty.
And on an unrelated note, my alma mater is apparently in the middle of a bit of controversy. No, it isn't because US News ranked us about thirty spots too low for the nth consecutive year: It's about the name of the school. It's such a dumb argument that I'm not even going to explain it, I'm just going to offer the link: UMass Amherst moniker downplays the school's status, critics say.
Sox looking to take the second of three with the Yankees tonight. Let's go Jed Lowrie.

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