The Breakdown | Explaining Southern California's economy

Bike Challenge: DeBord Report goes (Gasp!) carless

In the past, I've definitely tussled with what I think of as the "Bicycles Boys" — after a pre-"Sex and the City" story in the New York Observer by Candace Bushnell. You can sample the disagreement here, here, and here. These are smart gents who believe that the urban landscape can be remade, productively, in the image in of the cyclist.

I think they're starry eyed idealists.

But now the tables have been turned. As much as I love cars and driving — and continue to think that America is car country and there's really no changing that — I now live within easy biking distance of my office. The terrain is invitingly flat. And of course the weather in Southern California is nearly idea for a short daily commute by bike.

Also, I'm not getting any younger. I need daily exercise. So why not get it by biking to work?

I probably won't mind saving some money on gas, either. It was $1.25-ish a gallon when I arrived in SoCal, but I've seen it climb close to $5 (it's at about $3.75 now). So there's your economics angle: I want to save some money while saving the environment and saving myself.

When I lived in New York, I owned a simple, three-speed bike that I did actually use for commuting (that's right, I was a Bicycle Boy myself at one time). But it didn't make the trip with me to Los Angeles. So I have some issues to overcome. First and foremost of which is GET A BIKE!

My quest has begun. I'm basically looking for...a modern three-speed. I will admit that I thought about a "fixie," but was quickly disabused of that notion. So, no hipster wheels for me. That said, I'm not keen on dealing with 27 gears. And I'm never going to ride this thing anywhere but the streets of Pasadena, so I don't need to think about much beyond comfort.

That said, I'm open to having my mind expanded. I haven't bought a bike or even ridden one much since the mid-1990s.

In good blogger fashion, I've decided to chronicle what I'm calling "Bike Challenge" right here at DeBord Report. So please, provide suggestions, advice, and so on. And I will try to respond with tales — and photos and perhaps even a video or two — of my adventures.

Follow Matthew DeBord and the DeBord Report on Twitter.