Archive forFebruary, 2010

Bro = Funny

FB message to Bro:

‘Mom sent me an email: “If you are driving at night and eggs are thrown at your windshield, do not operate the wiper and spray any water. Eggs mixed with water become milky blocking your vision up to 92.5%. You are forced to stop at the roadside to become a victim of robbers. This is a new technique used by robbers. Please inform your friends and relatives.”
Did you get this, too? JEEEESH. I thought she knew I biked everywhere.’

Bro replies:

‘It’s actually only 90.8%, and I can totally drive with that.’


Too much?

I wrote this in Feb 09, and never sent it. Recently I received news that I may have to attend a hearing (so my car insurance premium doesn’t increase). A year later, I’m still dealing with Ares Geovanos’ idiocy.

I had considered blacking out his name for his privacy. But what the heck, he messed up good, so this is now going onto the interwebs. Here’s a letter to his parents:

Mr and Mrs. Geovanos:

I’m writing to you regarding a recent accident in Harvard Square, in which Mr. Ares Geovanos was involved.

My partner and I were returning from Southbridge, MA, celebrating an upcoming wedding. It was the first time we’ve used our car in nearly three weeks, but unfortunately public transit cannot take us to Southbridge. It was late, and it had been sleeting and raining all night.

As we stopped for a red light at the intersection of JFK and Mt. Auburn, we spotted Mr. Geovanos standing in a crosswalk on the far side of the intersection. He had a hand on (presumably) his bike, chatting with a friend, did not cross the street while he had the green light.

We were stopped behind an SUV, which was stopped behind a taxi. We were in the left lane on JFK, a two lane, one way street. As the light turned green for us, the taxi driver decided to make a right across one lane of traffic, creating chaos and confusion, blocking both lanes of traffic. The SUV swerved around the taxi to continue on JFK, and I followed, keeping an eye on the taxi in case it changes its mind.

Just as the SUV crossed the crosswalk, swerving to avoid Mr. Geovanos, we see him spit on the driver side window. Within the next few seconds, my attention was divided between going around the taxi and Mr. Geovanos, taking care not to hit either one of them. When I looked back to the SUV, it was too late – it had slammed on its brakes to a dead stop, and we slid right into its back bumper. This was followed by cheering and celebration from Mr. Geovanos and his group of friends.

We exchange information with the woman driving the SUV, who said that she had slammed on her brakes because she was startled by the pedestrian who spat on her window. We both identified Mr. Geovanos as the pedestrian responsible, and a Harvard University police officer near the scene apprehended him, then turned him over to a Cambridge Police officer, who provided me with your contact information.

In seeing his reaction to the SUV, I can only assume that Mr. Geovanos holds some unknown resentment toward the driver, or her vehicle. Both my partner and I are avid cyclists, and found his behavior to be irresponsible, dangerous. and disrespectful to others sharing the road, whether they’re other cyclists, cars, or pedestrians.

I’d like share the details and consequences of Mr. Geovanos’ seemingly harmless action.

The vehicle that was spat at:
2007 Cadillac Escala, luxury SUV
Kelly Blue Book value: 37,700 – 38,500
Gas mileage: 12 mpg city, 18-19 mpg highway
Seats up to 8

At the time of accident, this vehicle carried a driver only, with an empty trunk. According to the driver, she has made one payment on the vehicle, and it has already been rear-ended once.

Our vehicle:
2001 Ford Focus, hatchback
Kelly Blue Book value: 4,450 – 5,375
25 – 28 mpg city
31 – 36 mpg highway
Seats up to 4

Who we are: At the time of accident, this vehicle carried 2 passengers + heavy load in trunk/back seats. The car has been paid off and has never been in an accident. Between my partner and myself, we share 15 years of daily bicycle commuting, totaling over 30,000 miles of cycling.

The costs of the accident:

For the SUV driver: Perhaps minor adjustment to her insurance premium.

For us: paying for damages out of our pockets, plus the cost of SUV driver’s deductible (insert costs here). The accident will also log up to 30 miles of carbon emission by our car, for repairs and inspections.

One last thing: in confirming your contact information, I inadvertently discovered that Mr. Geovanos had provided false information to the Cambridge Police Department, fineable in MA up to $500.

I will not be asking asking for reimbursement for the insurance adjustment made to our insurance policy as a result of this accident – an on-going cost – however, I do expect for Mr. Geovanos to take responsibilities for his action and cover the damages to both vehicles. I will be sending a bill of the total costs to this address (as well as his Montana address), as soon as it has been calculated. I will also provide receipts for proof.

To Ares Geovanos: please consider your actions carefully, next time you decide to purposefully obstruct traffic. You’re very fortunate that the rest of us cared enough to protect your safety.



(For those of you that are curious – the damages to our car came to just over $2,400.)

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Swobo Adventures Pt 6 – Conclusion (Why I’ll Never buy Another Swobo Nor Another Bike from Wheelworks Ever Again)

(part 5)

I really love my Dixon.

My proportionally short legs makes it very difficult to find bicycles to fit. Any average bike that should fit an average 5′ 4″ person digs into my private parts when met with my below-average stand over (discounting ‘ladies frames’). I took months trying out bikes and reading frame specs:  Specialized, Redline, Trek, Masi, Marin, Iro, Surly (ohgodsowantonethatfits),…nothing worked until I straddled a Swobo (that’s what she said. harharharsnorthar).

During this debacle I promised myself that I’d seek revenge:  I’d write to consumer advocacy groups in both California and Massachusetts, Better Business Bureau, the Attorney General’s office for Swobo’s failure to honor the warranty, write to every bicycle review group, the whole 9 yards and then some. But now that the bike is back, all of that just sounds like, well,  even more time to be wasted.

Total cost of SNAFU:

  • Shipping of frame $28
  • T pass for nearly two months = $100+
  • Pain and suffering (as any good lawyer might suggest. Specifically: irretrievable time on MBTA, catching of swine flu from MBTA, loss of productivity/sick days)

So much of this experience could have been avoided if people could just communicate.  Swobo to Ace, Ace to Swobo, Ace to me, Swobo to me. Since I’ve been a regular bicycle commuter, this was the single most unsatisfactory customer service experience I’ve received from any local bicycle shop.  Ace is literally one block from my house, and it is Oh-So-Convenient for me to go and pick up parts when I need them.  But I’m done.

Ace is not going to suffer from losing my business, and Swobo will care less about me not buying a Sanchez (in fact, I kind of care about not having a Sanchez. It’s such a nice bike.) But it is still a choice I have, and I choose to spend my money elsewhere, where I am treated as I treated my customers, once upon a time as a retail associate.

I’ll ride out the repair. If it proves to be solid, great. If the frame fails me again, then, oh, let the wrath begin.  Oh and – I’ll probaby still Yelp.

2-month Post-Repair Update:

Frame is going strong, new fender holding. Snow/salt/ice got nothing on me and my Dixon, dressed in its wintry studded rubber.  I’ve not been to Ace once since this incident, and have gone out of my way to patronize other local bicycle shops (Paramount, ATA Cycle, Park Sales, Menotomy Vintage Bicycles. I can vouch for the awesomeness of all of these vendors with the exception of ATA Cycles, having only been there once. Broadway I respect, but I don’t love…but that’s another story.)  I’m happy with this decision so far, and am enjoying riding more – by taking the bike further away.

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