Sunday, June 20, 2010

Bike Money: Unexpected Maintenance Fees

I feel like I have been bleeding money this month. This is not a surprise, since it is summer and I have recently escaped from my studying spot ("the nook"). This weekend my supposedly low-maintenance fixed-gear bicycle ended up costing me $47.50 in repairs. What?! This should not upset me, as I'm more than willing to spend money on my bicycle for upgrades (handlebars, seat, stem, etc.) but $47.50 is a lot, especially when you're waiting for your parents to cash the money-that-you-owe-them check and you're not sure when that's going to happen, but it may leave you with a considerably small amount of money in the bank.

On Saturday morning I woke up early and couldn't go back to sleep. I debated staying in Brooklyn and having a relaxing day but I decided to hoof it to Manhattan to see if I could find some cheap and cute earrings (I'm so femme). And by earrings I mean I went to this wholesale piercing/tattoo place on Canal Street called UNIMAX where you can get wholesale plugs for less money. This would have worked out well, but my ears aren't really stretched and most of the earrings they had there were for BIG stretchers like my friend Asher (see Asher and Morgan here at

As I rode over the Brooklyn Bridge, they were repainting it with a wide, thick white line to separate the tourists from the cyclists. I find this comical, and while helpful, it probably won't keep the wondering tourists from coming into "our lane." It was funny to see them rolling the paint over though - creating a veritable highway on the famous Brooklyn structure. As I was riding over the bridge I heard a lot of clinking, but I chalked it up to the planks below me, or I thought maybe I had lost some change out of my pocket. When I reached the other side of the bridge and nearly collided with a cyclist headed straight towards me (YO! YOU'RE GOING THE WRONG WAY!) I stopped and examined my ride. I thought the chain was too loose, but it turns out all but one of the bolts that was holding on my chainring had fallen off! That explained the clinking noises. I sighed and started my early-morning walk through Chinatown.

I went to NYC Velo because the guys are nice in there and I thought they might not even charge me. How much could it cost for 5 new screws + refitting the chainring + refitting the chain? I happily washed my greasy hands in their little bathroom and headed towards to the register, expecting at most, $15 charge. It was $29. Twenty-nine dollars?! In retrospect, this charge isn't that insane, but at the time I was somewhat certain that they had seen me, greasy-handed and sweating profusely with the explanation "Um..the bolts fell out" and thought - OK charge this girl whatever we want. This, of course, is not true. I asked another bike shop today and they said they would have charged $25, so NYC Velo is still on my list of stupid-girl-friendly shops. I was still annoyed so I ate a chicken kabob sandwich and rode back to Brooklyn.

THEN when I was visiting my old neighborhood (I have serious nostalgia for South Slope), I heard my tire roll over something and go PSSSSSssssssssstttttttttt. I freaked out and dismounted my bike in the middle of the street but I couldn't hear or see what was happening. I was able to ride home but this morning my tire was flat. UGH.

K. and I checked out Ride Brooklyn because they have been really nice to Dykes on Bike-Cycles and we thought they might not charge us as much to fix a flat. After all was said and done, they charged $18.50. $18.50?! I assume that is $7.00 for the tube and $10 maintenance fee plus tax. They may even charge a flat rate $10 maintenance fee on small jobs there because he said the cost to put in a new cog would be $10.

The lesson learned: either fix your tire yourself ($7-$8.00) or go to Brooklyn Bike & Board because they only charge $13 (probably $8.00 for tube and $5 maintenance).

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

DOBC's Amazing Pride Season

My beloved Dykes on Bike-Cycles are in the midst of a wildly successful pre-Pride and Pride season, no thanks to me and my incessant "I have to study for the LSATs" excuse. I can't boast that I took amazing pictures at all the events - at our DOBC benefit party at Bar 4 I was running around collecting raffle tickets and simultaneously trying to take full advantage of the free PBR (hey, a girl has got to multitask), but here are a few highlights:

Our raffle table was incredible - I was pleasantly surprised that DOBC received donations from Outlier, Sigg, Ride Brooklyn, Taliah Lempert, Vaya Bags, Transportation Alternatives, Beast, Velo Brooklyn, Autostraddle and Babeland (well...Babeland doesn't really surprise me). We had a whole bunch of REALLY nice stuff and I was sad I wasn't able to enter the raffle myself (ahem, I'll take the Outlier hat). Ride Brooklyn - you might know it as bike shop right next to Babeland - was generous enough to donate a sweet Kona bike, which I "tagged" with my spoke card. A nice lady from the Brooklyn Community Pride Center slipped me her ticket (the raffle was at midnight...two nights before the LSATs - woohooo) but I didn't win. There were mostly gays at the party, which explains why my ex girlfriend's friend's ex girlfriend DID win but hey: that's another story (all true). We're all friends here.

Sunday was Queens Pride but none of us made it because we were too sleepy and I was freaking out about the LSATs. I missed BUM BUM BAR, so hopefully we can go again next year.

Last Saturday was Brooklyn Pride. DOBC was looking sharp in their handmade screenprinted t-shirts, black with pink logos. I attempted to help with this but I was sent out for mojito mixings. Here is an embarassing photo of me wearing the cool t-shirt:

That night we attended Brooklyn Community Pride Center's party at BAMCafe. BAMCafe is sweet - it kind of reminded me of a movie set with all the pinball lightbulbs on the wall, but we had fun dancing in all the open space. I would definitely consider going there for all the free music they host. Thanks to everyone who rode in the Parade - be sure to come to DOBC rides too!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Dykes on Bike-Cycles Video on DapperQ

DapperQ Exclusive -- Dykes on Bikecycles from dapperQ on Vimeo.

These folks are hot, they bike, and they want you! On the road this summer and at their fundraiser this Saturday nite. It's June 4, Bar 4 in the Slope.

Learn how they drink, how they dress, and how they want you!