...2 days late & 50 cent short.
Theory: That Mayor Daley is secretly hostile to cars in the city, and especially in the Loop.
I was a doubter, but now I'm a believer.
Fact: Many cyclists believe that Chicago is a bike-friendly city.
New fact: The notorious and rather nutty Alderman Ed Burke (14th Ward) floated the idea that Chicago should borrow a page from London and adopt a congestion fee.
Irrelevant fact (except to me): Last week I became the very, very proud owner of the Bargain-of-the-Day at Working Bikes, a non-profit collective that (A) takes bikes out of landfills and fixes them up, and (B) uses the money from bike sales to ship bikes to Ghana and elsewhere.
The bike was such a rust-bucket, it reminded me of my first car. I avoided car ownership as long as I could, but one day the litigation director called me in and said there's no such thing as a criminal defense investigator without a car. (My friends had been lending me their cars, trucks, and, once, a scooter.)
A roommate referred me to her mechanic, who sold me
a 1983 Toyota Corolla wagon with 763,000 miles on it for $250 -- and he even threw in the Chilton's manual.
It was so rusted out the doors wouldn't stay shut, so I monstered bungee cords around the door posts. That was fine the first summer: I could just climb in and out through the window. In the mornings when I would be going to court in a suit, people would yell, "Dukes of Hazzard!" at me from across the street.
Winter came, and I had to go to the graveyard of cars to find suitable doors. The mechanic put them on for free (he knew what the investigators were paid at that place).
One time, I went back to the mechanic to tell him about a funny noise. He got in next to me and we got on the expressway. I coaxed the car up to speed and shouted, "There! Do you hear that?!"
The mechanic gave me his patented deadpan and blew cigar smoke. "How much did I sell you this car for? Two-fifty? This is a five-hundred dollar car!"
We agreed that I would forget about the funny noise.
Friday afternoon I spent three hours with steel wool and naval jelly working on the rust on the bike. (Nobody told me you shouldn't do it that way.) Tonight I'm painting it.