Thursday, April 24, 2008

One more parked car

Date: April 24
Mileage: 35.5
April mileage: 604.6
Temperature: 47

Today was errand day. I had time to squeeze in a decent ride while my car was at the shop, but for the most part I spent a beautiful warm day knocking mundane things off a list that I had let build for a little too long. It made me miss Geoff that much more. I really took for granted all the little things he was always the one to do ... grocery shopping, recycling, repairs, cleaning. Now that I need to do all of this stuff for myself, I won't be able to just let my life revolve around working, eating, and biking anymore. I actually have to be self-sufficient again.

Much of my day revolved around my car. I had the summer tires put back on (only nine days past the legal deadline. Better than last year.) I had the oil changed. I vacuumed up a winter's worth of dirt from the upholstery, scrubbed all the panels, cleaned out the trunk and sprayed down the exterior. I took it on all the errands I need a car to do ... haul multiple boxes of trash to the recycle center, and buy calories in bulk at Costco. Then I put some gas in it ($3.75 a gallon), drove it home and parked it in my designated parking spot, where I plan to let it sit for quite a while.

My summer of bike commuting has officially begun. I nearly have my road bike ready for on-demand transportation (lights, trunk bag, bike lock mount, rack with optional waterproof panniers and new tires.) It still has clipless pedals, which I think are bad for commuting because they require use of cleat-bottomed shoes that are unpleasant to walk in. I can't mount my platforms yet because Geoff took the pedal wrench, so I need to buy a new tool first.

I plan to use my bike to commute to work every day, as well as evening outings, the library, and other miscellaneous errands. I will probably still use my car to go grocery shopping, since I dislike grocery shopping so much I usually only go once every two weeks and pile up $126 worth of food at Costco. (It is possible for a single person to shop at Costco, as long as you don't mind eating a big spinach salad and a chicken breast for dinner every day for a week.) And I have never been good at quitting anything cold turkey, so the car will probably still come out on rainy days when I am really grumpy. But for the most part, I want it to sit.

It struck me today as funny that I was doing all this work on my car only to not use it for most of a season. Some of the work was necessary (getting my illegal studded tires removed.) But the rest struck me as a form of winterizing - similar to the way people clean and tune up their bikes before stowing them in a basement for the winter. It just seems that if you are going to neglect something, you might as well do it with dignity.

And so my car sits. Let the commute begin.