There was no clear indication that Rick’s car had actually come to a complete stop. It wasn’t that the car hadn’t stopped its forward trajectory – it had – it was just that the car hadn’t actually stopped moving. Long after the vehicle had come to rest in what could only be considered a legitimate parking spot by the most liberal of reasoning, bits and pieces kept clanking about, seeming almost to defy the laws of perpetual motion.
I was more familiar with his car than I wished I was. For one thing, the cafeteria tray on the passenger side that covered the hole between the wheel well and interior was not nearly as effective as Rick supposed, though to be fair, it was hard to discern that particular draft from the various other drafts whipping about the cabin. For another, I was uncomfortable with how the entire contraption shook when it accelerated beyond walking speed. This shaking did not prevent him from punching well beyond the freeway speed limit, usually with one hand on the wheel and somewhere between zero and two eyes on the road.
Once the car had shimmied to rest, Rick climbed out with his usual happy grin and motioned towards the pristine, full suspension mountain bike perched atop the rack affixed to the roof of his car. Without so much of a hint of justification, he pronounced a phrase that stuck with me and eventually evolved into Rule #25: “Hey, the bike’s always gotta be worth more than the car, right?”
This was Rick’s typical flavor of genius: simple and concise, irrefutable in its logic. The car exists only to carry us to The Ride. Beyond that, all it does is suck money away from The Bike. The first cars I owned fell comfortably into this way of thinking, though I was never able to afford the rack required to actually get the bikes on the roof of the car. It was on that technicality, then, with my bikes shoved inside instead of atop my car, that I went merrily along my way knowing the vehicles I drove were only minimally siphoning money from my bicycle fund.
Rule #25 has been a challenge ever since we sold our fun little beater car and bought a nice car. After a few years of wrestling with what to do about our negative Car to Bike Value Ratio (CBVR), I came to the conclusion that we needed to buy another crappy car and use that one to drive out to our riding destinations. After a while, the crappy car sucked so much more than the nice car that we never drove it, so we sold the crappy car and bought a second nice car. Now we were really in deep water from a negative CBVR perspective, if not from the perspective of enjoying locomotion or safety.
The solution, of course, is rather simple. Within the next year, we’ll own both cars, which means they must be nearly worthless as otherwise neither the bank nor the car dealership would allow such a thing as “ownership” to happen. Barring that, owning a nice car simply dictates that one is to buy more and better bikes. This also requires, of course, a rather significant ancillary investment into roof racks for your vehicle if you don’t have any welding or nunchuck skills that you can use to fashion your own.
Just remember that a happy bike is a bike that gets ridden; there is nothing sadder than a loyal steed who sits unused in the basement.