The Next Three Days – Episode 3

Day Last

Hopefully, this is the last of it. We’ll see if the repair shop is the bearer of good news. Studies have shown that it takes 19 days for a new routine to take hold and I’m well short of that mark nor do i wish to cross that threshold. Caltrain is pretty bare today though. I like that.

Maybe I’m anti-social. I get looks from the train as if their eyes are asking me to start a conversation. NO. I don’t want to do that. As I was typing this some random young guy takes a seat next to me and peers over onto my screen. He takes consistent glances and I find myself opening up CS6 Photoshop to do some unnecessary editing. I don’t know why but I decided to play the role of hippie Greenpeace web developer. I’m pulling out all the photoshop tricks I know, using all the short cut keys I know, and using as much CS6 specific filters I know. Man, this is unhealthy. For all I know he’s just glancing over to keep tabs on what time it is.

There is one thing I didn’t take into consideration. I finally received a call from the repair shop from Charlie and Don (who look more like Chinh and Duong) telling me the Ranger is ready for duty. When I arrived they immediately told me of other things that need attention. If I had to estimate, Id say I spent about $1500 on auto repairs in the past year and considering I drive a F.O.R.D. (Fix Or Repair Daily) that’s the best I could have hoped for. (NOTE: SKIP AHEAD IF YOU DON’T LIKE NUMBERS) So that turns out to be another $4.10 a day across the calendar year. Maintenance on my bicycle turns out to be about $150 a year or $0.41 a day. Add that to the cost of Caltrain ($4.75 one way across two zones) and in essence were looking at $9.91 per trip. Effective cost of driving for me is roughly $14.10. The difference between the two is looking like $1,529.35 a year with the health benefits of biking being a huge variable on future medical costs. If I had a gym membership I’d consider biking as a viable replacement because my body is feeling ACHING-ly good. Isn’t it also fitting that as soon as I get my truck back I’m greeted on 101 with traffic! What’s the cost-analysis on traffic/stress/anti-psychotic meds?

Are you back? Good, your reward is this opinion. If your willing to put forth a little extra effort, the rewards of alternative commuting are well worth the convenience of an automobile. Health, fiscal savings, and the environmental good are undeniable benefits. Much like life, you’ll get what you put into it. Though I need a truck for work, I figure on adding biking and Caltrain to my new routine whenever I can. For the next 19 days huh?

The Next Three Days – Episode 2

Day 2

Oh what a struggle. I woke up 30 minutes late. The way the train is scheduled, it works out that Ill be 45 minutes late to work. That’s the convenience part of owning a car. 30 minutes late means 30 minutes late when driving. Departure time is when the key is inserted and the ignition turned. As a bike fan though, its great to match the bike with the person. Chucks, skinny jeans, and an emo haircut….well hell be riding a fixie converted from a vintage frame. Older gentleman with slacks or khakis equates to a commuter hybrid. Folding bikes belong to East Asians. If you see spandex or gloves this dude is pretty serious about biking. We’re talking a couple grand for his road bike. I see women and Stanford students on cruisers or surprisingly mountain bikes.

Oh, you want to know about me. Well my bike’s a high end road, probably $1500 on the used market. Its 15 pounds (pretty light), carbon fiber parts (mucho expensive), high-end Ultegra 6700 drivetrain, and built piece by piece from Craigslist. After constructing and selling 10 or so fixies (not on purpose), I’d say I put this bike together for a couple hundred bucks. I’m very proud of that. Especially since its probably worth more than my truck. I’m not proud of that. I also don’t want to get rid of the no-longer-scented chili pepper air freshener I hang from the rear of my seat. I’m not entirely sure what this bike says about me.

An added bonus to taking the train is it forces you to get your schedule straight. I know I was late today but when this was my mode of transportation this was never the case. 30 minutes early was the norm and I certainly was more productive when I knew I had to be at the station at a certain time.

This has certainly been an adventure. I hope by day three I can make some “Springer Final Thought” sense of this mini series. Stay tuned