20 Miles, Three Flautas and Two Flat Tires Later or How I Bought a Bike

It’s summertime and for me that usually means two things: bicycling and swimming. Unfortunately, living in New York City limits my ability to do the latter. So to kick off summer, I decided that I needed a new road bike. I prowled Cragislist and a few bike shops before setting off for a bike shop in Sheepshead Bay, a few stops short of Coney Island on the Q train.

But when I got to the bike shop, I was dismayed to find that they only sold new bikes, starting at around $400. Not wanting to drop so much money on a bike before the added cost of accessories, I opted instead to call a guy I met on Cragislist. He lived a short 15-minute bus ride away in Bensonhurst. So I hopped on the bus and met up with the Don in his garage. When I arrived, I found him and a friend drinking Coors Light in the garage.

There she was, a red road bike with greasy gears and a solid frame. The tires, however were rotted and cracked. After bartering him down from the original price, I walked the bike three blocks away to a gas station where I filled it up with air.

Not knowing how long the tires would stay inflated, I headed for the nearest bike shop to get them replaced. I made it three or four miles before the back tire went flat. Luckily,  was a few blocks from the shop by the time this happened.

I left the bike at the shop for the attendant to fix and went next door to a Mexican restaurant to eat lunch. Three chicken flautas and a side of rice and beans later, I was back on the road with two new tubes and tires. And seeing as how safety is a priority for me, I decided the best thing to do was see how fast I could ride the bike. So on my way back to Manhattan I rode through Prospect Park.

Man did it open up. I shifted the bike to the lowest gear as I weaved through other bikes and pedestrians.

The rest of the ride home was rather uneventful. I crossed the Brooklyn Bridge and made my way to the bike path along the Westside Highway where I rode all the way home.