Saturday, February 04, 2006

It's a sign...

...of what, I'm not quite sure. But, ironically, the week I started commuting by bicycle to work, my car got tagged with graffiti. It happened Wednesday night, and a number of other surfaces in the neighborhood were tagged, too. As far as I know, mine was the only car.

I didn't notice it until I left work on Thursday evening. Thursday morning there was a heavy dew (as in the picture I took this morning), and I was in such a rush, I didn't see it. My neighbor, however, who was leaving at the same time I did, saw it. We waved, and he assumed I had noticed it.

I had the security people at work check it out, but it seemed unlikely to have happened there, as the parking lot is gated and patrolled. So I called the police when I got home and knocked on neighbors' doors to warn them of what had happened.

Because it wasn't an emergency, the police weren't able to arrive until after 11:00 p.m. I had already gone to bed. They wrote up a report and said that this definitely looked like the work of taggers, not gang graffiti.

Now my car is at the shop having the graffiti removed. I love my new-found independence because of my bicycle. Instead of having to wait around all morning at the shop while my the car was being fixed, I loaded my bike on the bike rack, drove the car to the shop, put the rack in the back seat, and rode to the farmer's market to get my produce for the week.

On the ride home, I had an interesting conversation with another bike rider who had made an ingenious trailer for his bike. He had taken a welding class and wanted a project to work on. The trailer carried a Rubbermaid bin, and he stopped along the route to pick up recyclable cans and plastic bottles.

He gave me a tip for riding up hills, called stair-stepping. Instead of riding straight up one street, zig-zag up and across a number of streets. So I will try that on my next ride home for the last, steepest miles.

Now, I'm writing here, and will ride back to the body shop to pick up my car around 1:00. I thought I would have to have the entire car repainted (which it could use), but they are able just to remove the spray paint and buff up the regular paint, for a cost of around $30. So I guess I didn't come out too badly.

(P.S. I commuted to work again on Friday. It went well, although the ride home is long, especially at the end. It's about half a mile longer than the commute to work, and, as I've mentioned, uphill.)

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