Becky Jo’s Carfree Life

Becky Jo’s Carfree Life: Deep Dive 1 – Gears and Tires

Becky Jo (Columnist) by on January 14th, 2020 at 10:52 am

dirty road bike

My bike as it’s currently ridden with new tires and fenders.
(Photos: Becky Jo)

I’ve posted some questions related to gear, but mostly it’s been how to carry groceries and how to feel more chill. If you don’t mind, I’d also like to ask you, the more experienced collective, more nuts-and-bolts type stuff as I go along on this journey.

I am fairly mechanically inclined. I realize that requires some spatial reasoning ability and we are all at different points on that spectrum. I certainly don’t judge anyone who cannot, but for the purposes of today’s asks and answers, I do pretty well. I’m user-manual friendly and I even create technical illustrations on occasion, which in my lifetime has included a range from freight trains to sewing. All of that is to say, I am capable of learning how to take care of my bike…but how far do I really need to go? As I get older, the amount of brain capacity I want to commit to things that aren’t necessary diminishes.[Read more…]

Becky Jo’s Carfree Life: We Have Hourly Rates

Becky Jo (Columnist) by on January 7th, 2020 at 6:35 am

TFW you’re carfree but you need a car.
(Photo: Becky Jo)

Here’s the thing: I’m new to cycling as my main mode of transportation; but like each of you, there are things I am proficient at, and the sewing world is one of those things. So, when two weeks after getting rid of my car, I had to go to Tualatin to transport 54 bolts of fabric back to North Portland (about 20 miles, with hills), this presented a conundrum.

No worries, I said. We have a contingency plan for this, I said.

Our budget is set up to handle a Zipcar rental every now and again, and if used efficiently we figured should only be needed one or two times a month, tops. I researched it and set it up after the CarMax/Lyft revelation in the first post. I live by University of Portland, so I have three or four close Zipcars as easy options. This time around, I figured I’d get it for a full 24 hours, that way I could pick up the 54 bolts, drop off 54 bolts, drop off college kid’s really heavy dumbbell set at PSU, go to IKEA (because the standing desk I’ve been wanting is on sale), and get cat food/cat litter. No problem.[Read more…]

Becky Jo’s Carfree Life: Gear Me Up

Becky Jo (Columnist) by on January 1st, 2020 at 8:16 am

female cyclist standing in wet weather gear with bike

All set for a grocery run.

We’ve established my Ready, Fire, Aim personality and the caveats that may entail. Don’t worry. We are just getting started.

For this one, we have to go back in time. Back when I commuted a very long time to work in a sea of cubicles and wanted a bike for weekend fun. This is five or six years ago, and I got a “road bike.” At the time I didn’t have any beef with REI and didn’t really know what “road bike” meant; it was a previous year’s clearance so price was nice, it would fit my frame, and it was aesthetically pleasing to me. That was truly the extent of my needs at the time.[Read more…]

Becky Jo’s Carfree Life: Ode to Zen Bike Guy

Becky Jo (Columnist) by on December 26th, 2019 at 9:59 am

group of cyclists riding at night in an urban setting, wearing casual gear and lots of lights on the bikes

Foster Night Ride photo by Krishna Muirhead

Now that we’re acquainted, my first and biggest question is:

“How are you not constantly having a heart attack?”

I know some of you are totally chill. I see you. I have this amalgamation of chill cyclists in my head, based heavily on a few in particular. One looks more like he’s hovering along, and there just happens to be a bike under him. You know the guy. No helmet, no hands on the handlebars, not even aware of the potholes, wearing all black sometimes with a plaid flannel variation, and certainly unconcerned with vehicles. He’s glorious. Sometimes he’s female. She has the cutest little basket in front of a big heavy cruiser, wearing a dress and sandals, and without any effort whatsoever is passing me up a hill. Sometimes it seems like folks of all kinds are passing me and not at all having the same level of stroke-inducing-crazy-car-magnet-luck I’m having.

Be honest with me, okay? Is there some law of diminished returns on wearing reflectors, all the lights, Day-Glo green and pink, and two rolls of reflective tape? Is there a point at which it starts being more like a flame-to-a-moth scenario? I know it happens with emergency vehicle lights and traffic, so you can tell me. I’ll believe you.[Read more…]

Introducing our new column: Becky Jo’s Carfree Life

Becky Jo (Columnist) by on December 17th, 2019 at 2:52 pm

My 2nd grander and I when first trying out our new SUV. (Photos: Becky Jo)

(Publisher’s Note: I’m excited to introduce our new Family Biking columnist Becky Jo. You can expect her posts every Tuesday. Enjoy! – Jonathan)

Hi, I’m new here.

Funny story, or at least I hope I’m able to laugh at it someday. My family has gone completely carfree. It seemed like a logical plan at the time. See, our family consists of two parental units, one kid down at PSU in the dorms, one kid in high school, one kid in middle school, and one kid in elementary. (Don’t worry, that factory is closed.)

We had one car for all of us, and if you didn’t have access to said one car, you either waited, took the bus, walked, or biked.
[Read more…]