In Part 1, I recounted why I purchased a bike and the fear I overcame in the process. The how was tricky too. I wanted to buy a used bike, both for the cost savings and because, typically, reuse is better than purchasing new from a sustainability standpoint. It was also my first, so I was less discerning and wanted something inexpensive to try. One of the reasons I live a simple, downsized life is because I dislike shopping. I don’t like bargain hunting (though I do it), I don’t like the time it takes, I don’t like to spend money on material goods. But for the type and size of bike I needed, buying used would be tough and would only exacerbate these problems. So after research, chats with biking friends, and good old fashioned shopping, I bought a new bike.
It was one of the few purchases I’ve made that I felt excited about. It was a death defying thrill to ride it back home from the store, after purchasing a helmet and bike lock before I left. That was only part way through the additional shopping needed. More choices, more money.
I ordered a front and rear light so that I can ride at night. But there were problems with them and much back and forth with customer service. They had to be returned and I bought a different set. Shopping can take much more time than we expect it to involve.
A bike allows me to replace short car trips; the trips that are a bit too long to walk and that don’t take too much longer to bike than driving. One common trip like this is grocery shopping, so having the ability to transport groceries was essential. After some consideration, I decided on a simple basket attached to the rear rack that I had installed. This would make it easy to throw in any of my existing bags, grocery or otherwise. Turns out, these baskets have fallen out of favor in the biking world. There were many other options: panniers, grocery bags that hook on front/rear baskets, saddle bags, etc. Finding what I wanted was very time consuming and frustrating. Has this happened to you before? You decide on exactly what you want, and then you quickly realize the world has conspired against you? Another reason I dislike shopping. Fortunately, I was eventually able to locate the rear basket I wanted.
The stuff doesn’t end there. There are other possible accoutrements like mirrors, bells, bike tools, bike pumps, water bottle holders, phone mounts, etc. I feel myself tense up at the thought of more shopping. To keep a downsized, simple home, it’s best to live with something for a while before deciding what else to buy. This reduces the chance that you’ll purchase something you don’t need and better the chance that if you buy something, it will specifically address your needs. I had been riding around for a bit before even deciding on the rear basket.
When trying to make a sustainable, healthy, cost-effective choice, buying stuff can be a pain. But I look for this balance, just as I try to maintain balance on my bike, feeling that freedom and meaning that keep me pedaling.