Thursday, 12 January 2017

Bikes, Burglary and Budget Blowouts

Before I start I need to address my improper use of 'burglary' which is defined as "illegal entry of a building with intent to commit a crime, especially theft". My bike was stolen from the street, so it's not technically burglary. But alliteration makes for a good title, so let's roll with it. Or not, as my wheel deprived situation would have it.

We're now twelve days into the month and I can unhappily guarantee that I will be going over budget. January is normally a pricey month for me because a lot of quarterly bills hit in January, and a couple of annual ones but this month sucks in every possible way because.... some jerk stole my bike.

This is every kind of unacceptable. I don't own a car. I deplore catching busses. I cruise past traffic with a smug grin on my face thinking about how I'm out in the fresh (city) air, getting exercise, moving faster than you suckers in your cars, and I'm doing it all for free. My favourite 'game' on my ride home is to race busses. It's a 2 km stretch, with one set of traffic lights and about 6 bus stops. I win most days. I only shower at home once a week because I shower at work every day. My workplace actually provides bottles of body wash. Which means a bottle of body wash at home lasts me forever.

I'm also that annoying guy who gives you a cheeky sideways grin whenever you complain about traffic or busses and points out you wouldn't have this problem on a bike. And now my bike is gone. The reclaim rate on bikes in South Australia is something stupidly low, apparently around 10%. With my bike being stock, with no distinctive markings I have almost no hope of seeing it again. I also lost the paperwork with the serial number when I moved house, so I have no way of proving it's mine even if I do find it somewhere. I can only hope that whoever stole it parks it near my work/house, has left all my accessories on, and that they didn't remove the half broken reflector. Those are my 'identifying features'.

 In a nutshell, I'm stuffed. So, four days after the theft, say hello to my new bike!

Okay so this photo obviously isn't my bike, but it's what I'm getting. My old bike was a Myka 2013 bought almost exactly three years ago (three years and a dayto be precise!) and my new bike will be a Myka 2016. Looks like it's going to be the last one of this model with disc breaks, and it has 3 less gears than the last one. It's all kinds of weird that the bike has less features, but to be honest, when you commute you tend to use three or four gears, and when I (rarely) ride trails, I use three or four different ones. So I'm sure I won't miss the extra three gears.

Financially, I wouldn't normally do this. Lose something and buy a new one in less than a week. But It's not like a luxury buy of a new mp3 player. Or a big ticket item like replacing a car. So far in just three days I've burned through half a tank of petrol, ripped up my ankles skating 3kms because I was too stubborn to drive, and probably doubled my water bill. And the gas bill since I like my showers warm. And I've been completely non-functional at work. If not for my morning work-outs I'd probably be catatonic.

The numbers though -
New bike: $550
Accessories: Approx $150 for a rack and three new lights. I haven't bought them yet, so that's a guess.
1/4 tank of petrol: $15ish
7-8 days of catching a bus: $53.70

So financially, losing the bike has stung, but going without stings more. In just one week I've already spent 10% of the replacement cost of the bike in getting around. That's ignoring the gas / water that I'm using showering at home. And the inconvenience / annoyance of losing my freedom. And grocery shopping has been appalling. I can't just stop by the cheap shops for the good milk on the way home, I need walk to the expensive shops after work, buy a bag full of groceries and lug it home on the bus. A bike fitted with decent panniers can hold double what I can carry, and I don't even blink.

So the budget for this month is completely blown out, bike thieves are among the lowest scum on the earth, and I now know every pawn broker within a 15km radius of my workplace. Harumph, harumph, harumph. How frustrating.

Oh, and now that I'm done sulking about my bike. I need to get fillings on Tuesday. Wish me (and my wallet) luck!

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