10 June, 2009

The bike arrives and my problems begin

The bike finally arrived Thursday morning. When I went out to greet the UPS man, he greeted me with a cheery, "hey, I've got your bike for you." Bike boxes are pretty easy to recognize but he could tell with certainty that there was a bike in it since the top of the box was completely open. The whole package was pretty banged up.
"Uh... yeah, but is everything still in there?" I asked him.
"I think it just ripped open as it was being moved to the truck. I'll mark the package as open though, just in case," he told me.

A quick glance inside showed that everything seemed to be there except the pump. I dragged the box inside and started putting it together in the living room. I had put together a bike once or twice before with my dad, but that was at least 5 years ago and I had just done whatever he instructed. It wasn't too bad though, and I was able to get it together in about an hour while watching the Red Sox game on TV.

The first thing I noticed after it was put together was that both tires were rubbing up against the brakes. You need a wrench to adjust the brakes and of course I didn't have one, so I walked the bike over to Kevin and Katy's apartment to use a wrench. The front brakes moved easily enough but I couldn't get the back brakes fixed. Kevin and I realized that the back wheel was bent. I had ridden this bike when I was in California in April and it had been fine so the damage had to have occurred during shipping. I walked it over to Back Bay Bicycles and one hour and $28 later they told me they had fixed it. I'm hoping that UPS will reimburse me for the repairs.

I started riding it back home and my first thought was, "damn, I never realized how bumpy Boston streets are." This is true but I then noticed that the bumpyness was coming at a regular interval from the back wheel. I turned around and road it back to the shop where they actually fixed it this time at no additional charge. It was about 5:30PM by this point and I road it home but didn't want to go for a long ride in rush hour. I decided to save my first real ride for the next day.

Naturally, I woke up sick on Friday and didn't feel up to riding. I spent most of the day in bed and hoped I'd feel well enough to ride on Saturday. After Dan heard about all the problems I had gone through with the bike and how I got sick upon its arrival, he asked, "did you consider that maye you're just not meant to ride a bike in Boston?" I did feel a little better Saturday, although I still had a sore throat but I wasn't going to wait around forever to ride the damn thing after having waited for so long to get it. I took a nice ride out through Jamaica Plain to the Arnold Arboretum and back. I also rode the bike to the movie theater by the Boston Common that afternoon and left it locked up outside for a couple of hours. I was half convinced that when I came back out it would have been stolen, just because practically everything else had already gone wrong at that point, but the bike was still there. I realized that anytime I ride the bike instead of taking the T I'll end up getting to my destination quicker but quite sweaty. To my Boston friends: you're going to have to deal with it.

Monday was my first day back at work after the bike arrived. Finally I'd be able to give up the T once and for all. The MBTA will have to do without my $3.40 per day. The ride to Coolidge Corner only took 20 minutes riding at a leisurely pace. I still got to work a little sweaty but it was so nice not to have to depend on the T. I biked home that evening with groceries from Trader Joe's in my backpack and without having to endure the headache of taking the T around rush hour.

Upon waking up Tuesday I discovered rain and a forecast for steady rain all day long. It stopped early in the morning though and by the time I was ready to leave for work the roads were almost dry. Still, I decided to take the T since I assumed that the weather forecast was correct and that the rain would resume. It didn't rain all afternoon and a light drizzle started right as I left work. I was pissed that I hadn't ridden to work and it didn't even rain. Just to spite me, the T took close to half an hour to arrive and was then packed full of people. I'll be riding to work every day from now on, barring a heavy downpour.

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