It’s now a week since my bike took a tumble from a Miami Dade Transit bus and got hit. I dropped it at Miami Beach Bicycle Center on Wednesday for repairs, kind of preparing myself mentally for the repair cost quote. I sweated there for a bit when I got confirmation that the rear wheel was a total loss and an original Electra replacement would be somewhere around $200, but Alex Ruiz came up with a better and cheaper solution, replacing the rim with a non-Electra one that is actually a bit stronger (it has dual aluminum layers from what he told me) along with stainless-steel spokes. The total was $107 with tax, which made Tuesday’s ride on the Metrobus the most expensive bus ride in my life. But, Elam now has a new tire that runs fantastic and is back in action.
I have yet to put back the panniers on the bike, and to be honest, I’m now afraid of taking it on the bus again. I have in the last week paid close attention to the two types of bus racks and realized the one I used is (a) not as numerous on the Biscayne Blvd routes I take (3, 93 Max) and (b) at least by looking at it, seems to be the less safe of the two. The rack with the red locking arm also has a channel for the bike’s wheels that ends in a ramp. But look at the rack that accompanies the J locking arm-type of bus rack (below): the channel for the wheels is enclosed, keeping the bike in place.
That, to me, seems like a much safer bike rack than the one I used. I mean, if the locking arm fails (which is what happened in my case), the depth of the wheel channel will not be enough to keep the bike in place if the bus lurches too much (and we’ve all seen how carefully MDT bus drivers go about their job), but it is certainly better than a rack with a ramp that actively provides a way for the bike to roll off. You can be sure that I will only be using this type of rack from now on. Yes, even if it means waiting for a bus that has it.
So I continue to ride the bus sans bike, at least for now. I toyed with the idea of buying a second bike to use specifically to go to/from school, something lighter than my Amsterdam, especially after I saw these beautiful and *very* affordable Raleigh Coasting bikes at the bike shop. But as much as I’d love to have more bikes, I can neither justify the expense nor do I think it is the solution. I paid a lot of money for my bike because I wanted a durable machine that would become a primary form of transportation, and the Amsterdam has certainly done its part so far. I owe it to myself to get the most value out of my investment, and to the bike to prove itself. And frankly, let’s face it, this baby survived a tête–à-tête with a transit bus. It deserves to have that tattooed for all to see as I ride it around town.
But not yet. Right now I’m still apprehensive. Who knows tomorrow.