Car-Free in 2012

In 2010 I resolved to go car-lite, then car-free if possible. Fast forward two years and without me noticing, I ended up fulfilling that goal!

I wrote about it on my nursing blog, if you’re interested to learn more.

Commuting Stats for January

Here’s how January went in regards to my commuting expenses.


My car started the year with 183,093 miles on it. I didn’t drive it the first three days of the month, driving it for the first time on the 4th, when I started classes. I filled up the tank on the 5th for $45 even, and drove the car only for 148 miles during the whole month, mostly because I got my license suspended and taken away. Car-related costs included $9 in pay-to-park fees before I was able to get my parking decal at the university, and $60 to have my license reinstated after my record was found to be clean and in order. I have an appointment to get a new driver’s license now in mid-February.

Initial Miles – 183,093
Driven Miles – 148
Total Miles – 183,241
Car Expenses – $114

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My Bike Was Stolen

I tried to think of a more “title-y” title for this post, but there isn’t one beyond the pure fact: my bike was stolen.

Last night (Jan 31) I went to Publix (on Alton & Fifth Mall) on the bike then rode back to my apt (on Meridian Ave & 10 St). I took the bike through the back gate, past the rather large scooter parked there, and into the little area in the back of the building where I normally tie it down. I put on the U-lock (a Kryptonite Keeper 12 lock), which was stored in the left pannier, through the front wheel’s spokes and around the frame, [put on the chain lock (an OnGuard Mastiff lock) around the down tube], grabbed the bag with the groceries and went up. It was around 8 PM when I go home, as the Grammys started shortly thereafter.

This morning, when I left the house at around 7:25 AM (according to the text message I sent to Twitter right after), I walked out the back gate as I had to throw away the trash, passed by the scooter, and my bike wasn’t there. The U-lock was nowhere around, cut or otherwise, though the chain lock was still tied around the pipe that I use as anchor. The chain lock did not seem tampered with. I took a quick look around but I was late for my bus so I kept going (sending the aforementioned text message).

I’m not stating all these details just to be wordy, but to retrace each of my steps. And the reason I wrote one step above in between [brackets] is that I can only assume that I did this as is my rote when I park the bike, but I can’t remember 100%. The one thing that makes me doubt is that the chain lock was untampered with, and this is a lock that’s guaranteed to be tamper/cutting-proof. So yeah, it is quite possible that when I got home my mind was in la-la land and I forgot to tie the bike using the chain lock.

Nevertheless, with the U-lock locking the front wheel, unless they cut it, they had to have carried the bike out of the building’s fenced perimeter, and while that’s no impossible, my bike weighs around 50 lbs, so they certainly had their work cut out for them.

Thieves suck. I’m so sad and angry about having Elam stolen. I have already reported the theft to the Miami Beach Police Department, and will give them the frame number (equivalent to the VIN in a car) later today along with photographs. I’m also forwarding this info to all Miami Beach/Downtown Miami bike shops just so they can be aware. There aren’t that many Electra Amsterdam bikes in Miami, let alone in the Beach (there are only two Electra dealers in Miami Beach), and mine is the only one with a pair of Basil canvas panniers (though I expect these would have been removed immediately, as they are the bike’s most distinctive feature, though not the only one).

I don’t know if I’ll see my bike again. I certainly hope so, but I also know how common bike thefts are and I don’t really expect the police will be able to do much (even if it is a $700 bike). I also don’t have money right now to get another one, so it seems my slow bike days are, for the moment, on hiatus.

If you see my bike, think you saw it, have some info, whatever, feel free to leave it in the comments section.

Musing About The Car

I had to drive my car this weekend for a very short distance, but it was enough to remind me of something very important and which I need to keep firmly in mind: my car is slowly dying. It is loosing power steering fluid quite fast, it has a minor but consistent motor oil leak and the left wheel wobbles a bit at the point where it connects to the axle. To repair these would cost far more than I am willing to put into the car, so I basically now have a motorized carriage with a countdown. To add to the thoughts I already had going about the car, I got the tag renewal papers in the mail: $58 to get the new 2011 sticker. And insurance is just around the corner.

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