Sunday, September 9, 2007


Well, my landlord found a new roommate, so I have to go now! Not that I thought I wouldn't go, but I have this tendency to get excited about things for a bit of time and then lose enthusiasm and waver in my decisions. I guess it's more doubting than a lack of enthusiasm.

Case in point: my bicycles. In May I took my bicycle apart. It was a piece of rust-covered junk. I used to ride to work, and once after work some of us went to the Russia House for happy hour, so I locked my bike up at Dupont Circle Metro station overnight. Next day I was too lazy to go over and get it. I actually left it there a few days and when I returned, there was no seat or seat post and the back tire had been slashed. So I left it in my backyard rather than getting a new seat, left it there for a whole winter, shoved it into a basement when I moved and left it there until riding the bus to work became unbearable. I decided to fix it up myself, so I got on Craig's List to look for parts. I ended up buying a cheap bike for $46. It needed a couple of easy repairs, so I made them and rode the thing once. Then, I found a nice classic Trek for $75 and sold the other for $85.

Thinking this would be a good way to make some extra cash, I posted an ad on CL saying I wanted to learn how to fix bicycles and if anyone had any they wanted to donate to me, I'd be grateful. I got four free bikes out of the deal, bikes that were in pretty good condition. One was missing a wheel - I bought one at a community bike sale and sold the bike for $225. I tuned up another and sold it for $125. A third I sold for $65 - it had a weird gear shift system I was too lazy to figure out at the time. When I was on vacation this summer, I bought a road bike to ride during that week for $25, brought it back to DC, and sold it for $125.

In all of my enthusiasm for fixing up bikes, I bought a bunch of bike tools. I also bought five frames with some parts for $50, including a classic Roadmaster 3 speed that I'd really love to fix. I painted up three frames, including one to look like an Irish flag (it isn't finished yet). I also started riding my Trek to work. But then something happened.

I grew tired. Not of the bikes - I mean I was physically tired. I found it difficult to get to work and found myself needing to sleep a lot. Then I managed to back my bike, my beautiful blue Trek, into a telephone pole when it was on my trunk rack and I messed up the fork, bent up the wheel, and have been borrowing my roommate's wheel for several weeks. I'm not sure if it was depression or what, but both the fatigue and the wreck affected my bike enthusiasm. Now I have a basement full of bikes ready for my hands, but I haven't touched them in nearly a month. And this makes me sad. My landlord even cleared a space in the basement and I've set up a nice workshop.

I plan on going down there today after I do my studying - first Bulgarian, then Arabic, then French, plus some more reading on Eastern European history, and I'm also in the middle of Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, a library book that was due about a month ago - but I need to drum up some motivation. As with anything in my life, dollar signs do not motivate me. But, for this trip, I am going to need the $600-$700 those bikes should bring me. So, Bulgaria will be my motivation. I am envisioning the Balkan Mountains, tasting wonderful meals, and hearing the sounds of a Slavic language rising to my ears.

Hmm...perhaps I could earn a little dough in Bulgaria with an informal bicycle repair business?

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