Friday, September 18, 2009

Miami Livin': Automotive Edition

Yesterday was a landshed day for me, here in Miami. A watermark moment. I drove a car! And guess what?!? I drove again today! Crazy, right?

One of my good friends is out of town for a long weekend, and in exchange for my driving him to/from Miami Inte'nati'n'l Airport I have his car! Not that I have big plans for it. I mostly used it for its main purpose already, which was driving my two spoke-busted bicycle wheels to the bike shop for repair (big parenthetical:

back in Rhode Island, Dad and I learned that when bicycle spokes break for no apparent reason--the way one of his bicycle's spokes broke while I was riding it--specifically, when they snap at where two spokes cross each other, rather than at the wheel or at the hub, it is often the case that many of your spokes will also break within a relatively short amount of time, since spokes all get put on the wheel at the same time, so their rates of corrosion-leading-to-failure will be the same. At the time, I had something of an epiphianic moment re: my own bike (handed down to me from an uncle via Dad, a '70s vintage affair, a bicycle worth more in parts on the vintage refurbishing market than as a whole used-but-rideable thing, it being a tall-man's frame of never-futuristic weight, with pretty sweet and totally desirable everything else) was having the exact problem! Here I thought it was ineffable universal bike karma causing my bike problems, but really it's just that my wheels are in need of re-lacing (getting an entirely new set of spokes put into the wheels).

The problem, as you might guess, is that getting one's wheels re-laced ain't cheap, since it costs for a relatively time-heavy labor plus all the spokes multiplied by two, for both wheels. If a person's wheels are nothing special (my wheels aren't special (but more on this...)), then it's oftentimes cheaper just to by another set of not-special wheels rather than bothering to re-lace the busted ones. Which I looked into, since I had a sizable discount coupon with a well-known online bike part shop, but here's how my not-special, unmatched-pair, wheels are special: they are outmoded! Bicycle wheels switched to a different sizing back in the '80s. Dedicated atavist that I am (typewriter, pocket watch, record player, and a never-acted-upon impulse toward wearing some kind of men's hat being the obvious indicators), I actually like rocking out on the vintage tip, but they don't make these kind of wheels anymore, generally. A few companies still make 'em, but they're always a special ticket item. So, buying a new wheelset, which involves special ordering via the aforementioned shop, also isn't cheap.

So in the meantime, I try to get by replacing one spoke at a time (though today at the shop, the guy broke a second spoke while trying to true the wheel after replacing the first one, so they're pretty much tired of my one-spoke-at-a-time methodology -- plus, now, they can't completely true the one wheel, for fear of setting off the finishing-move cascade of spoke snapping, which keeps the wheel slightly wobbly, which is both aesthetically unappealing and also distributing the weight slightly wrong and therefore contributing to the eventual snappage of more spokes), trying to eventually not pay too much money in total. But that bubble of money-spent is getting steadily blown towards the spikes of utter illogic, so I'm not sure what my next will be.

On the one hand, I'll be moving, almost certainly, in May, back away from the city this post bears the name of, which would be good timing for stripping the bike for parts, taking the money, cutting and running from the frame--as attached as I have become to the Special Road Racer (it is special), it may not be worth it to travel with it. On the other hand, it seems foolish to sink more money than I have to into a bike that will never be anything but outmoded (if of sweet vintage-dom). So I could, potentially, spend a fair chunk more money now to buy a new (or new to me) road bike more copacetic to modern times, more or less committing to bringing it with me wherever I move to. Choices, choices, choices...)

And I just now, while writing this blog post, managed to get a ride to where I'm going tonight, so I won't have to drive it any more than I've had to (I would feel hypocritical if I suddenly had a car for a weekend and, like, drove it all over the place).

And, in a totally unrelated field (except that when I get shouted at by strangers, it usually happens when I'm riding my bicycle--well, the shoutings-at that I'm about to unfold both happened at a standstill, so its not really related), I have recently been the victim of strangers in Miami telling me that I look like Napoleon Dynamite. Which sucks. I don't look like Napoleon Dynamite. But, my hair, on its way back to long, is back to looking "big". And being a white guy with big hair and glasses (and I don't wear dork glasses, I wear Costco-middle-aged-man-glasses) in Miami, apparently, is enough to get you mocked. The only glimmer of positivity in this recent ordeal is that Napoleon Dynamite is skinny, so maybe, now (since, full disclosure, I'm not quite as fat as I was, say, 4 months ago) people look at me and see "skinny-ish dork with stupid haircut" rather than "fat fuck with stupid haircut".

Such is life: Miami life (guitar riff).


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why does it take a Dutch delegation to fly across the Atlantic Ocean to get a bike lane installed in Miami Wheels in Miami

8/11/2011 1:42 AM  

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