So, last week when my car was sick I did a half-day of mass transit in Portland to get to work.
This consisted of leaving my house about 35 minutes early, walking four blocks to the bus stop for the 4, riding to the Rose Quarter transit center and taking the Blue MAX to Beaverton. Then a short five minute walk to my office.
I believe in mass transit. I know it does a lot of good for the city and I feel like a first rate schmuck for not being more on board with it personally. But, I must confess, I hate the bus. Crowded. Odd smelling. It’s like being in someone else’s sweat glands to me.
But MAX is a bit different, especially if you’re going against the flow of traffic. High ceilings, lots of windows. I got some reading done, which was nice.
So now I am seriously pondering a switch to becoming a MAX commuter. At least during Spring and Summer. My company will pay for most of the monthly pass so it’s basically free. I’ll drive about 500 miles less each month, which will save about $100 in gas costs each month. Plus there’s the small environmental impact.
But how do I avoid the bus?
Easy, get on my bicycle. Except my bicycle is a piece of crap. It needs so much work that I’m probably going to need to acquire a new bike. Plus it’s a mountain bike and is a really uncomfortable and difficult ride in the city. But I really want to be one of those hip Portland guys who hang his bike on the bike things on MAX. I really do.
So I’m in the market for a new bike. I’ve checked out craigslist and am wary of buying used – because I have no idea what’s quality and what’s not, nor do I know where that bike’s been. I think I need either a commuter bike, complete with fenders and a big comfy saddle or a traditional road bike. My commute on the bike will only be a few miles each day but I will likely use the bike to get around town a bit from time to time as well.
As I’ve been searching online I realize that sizing a bike for me will be a challenge. I’m a typical 5’10” tall but I have a longer torso and slightly shorter legs than average.
So, I am accepting suggestions for a bike that’s cheap (under $500 – make that well under $500) and suggestions regarding what I should be looking for to meet my needs. What do you think?