Progress to Date

  • Original Loan Amount: $204,000.00
  • Balance at Beginning of 5-year Goal (1/1/08): $188,983.82 @ 6.00%
  • Balance at Refinance in February 2009: $148,000.00 @ 4.625%
  • Outstanding Balance: $0.00 (PAID IN FULL!!!)
  • Latest Payment Date: April 2011
  • Latest Additional Principal Amount: $17,623.22
  • Amount Ahead of Schedule (since refinance): $121,462
  • Time Ahead of Schedule (since refinance): 7 years 10 months
  • Interest Saved Last Month: $23,972.48
  • Total Interest Saved: $28,435.55 ($1,037.74 on original mortgage; $27,397.81 on current mortgage)
  • Months Remaining in 5-year Goal: 20
  • Average Monthly Principal Needed to Meet Goal: N/A (Goal achieved)
  • Progress List Explained

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Bicycle Maintenance

I spent a couple of hours in the sunshine today working on my bicycle. When we were visiting my family in August, my brother-in-law gave me a demonstration on how to adjust the disc brakes, shifters, and other moving parts on his bicycle. I came back excited to do the same work on my own bike, and found that my components were different, which initially discouraged me. I had been procrastinating recently, but over the past week the brakes became noticeably less responsive, so today I pulled out all of the literature that came with my bicycle and read through it, beginning to end. It was descriptive enough for me to (eventually) figure out how I could make the necessary adjustments on my own. I'm glad I had seen my brother-in-law's demonstration, because it would have been much more difficult to perform the maintenance on my bicycle relying only the printed material. Now my brakes are tight, my gears shift nicely, and my chain is clean and silent.

I definitely belong to the low-cost school of bicycle maintenance. While a true gearhead would mount the bicycle on a repair stand in the garage (to hold the wheels off the ground with the moving parts at eye level), I wheeled my bicycle to the end of the driveway and turned it upside-down, letting it rest on the seat and the handlebars. I will confess to spending $10 last month to buy a multi-purpose bicycle maintenance tool (with hex-heads and screwdrivers of various sizes), but otherwise I didn't have to spend any new money to do the repair work. I'm not sure what the bike shop would have charged for a tune-up, so I don't know how much money I "saved" by doing the work myself. Although avoiding the repair bill was nice, I really appreciated staying at home instead of dealing with the hassle of riding (or driving) the bike down to the shop. I got to enjoy my own space, in the company of the dogs (resting in the grass and enjoying the sunshine and nice cool weather). And, of course, I had the satisfaction of learning a new skill which I hope to continue to improve on in the future. I'm also pleased to report that I'm now adept at replacing innertubes (a task which once seemed daunting to me).

I don't know how much longer I'll be able to rely on the bicycle as my primary mode of transportation this year. I started riding to and from work during the last week of March, after daylight saving time had already started, when the days were growing longer. Though we're still at least a couple of months away from lingering snow or ice here in New Hampshire, the arrival of the autumnal equinox on Monday means that I won't have as much sunshine to light my way (and keep me visible to drivers on the road). Daylight saving time ends on November 2 this year. The US Naval Observatory has a website which provides daily sunrise/sunset data for any spot in the world. For example, on October 31, the sun will rise after 7 AM here in NH, and will set before 6 PM. This means I could be riding in semi-darkness before and after work. Just after the return to standard time, on November 4, the sun will rise before 6:30 AM (fine) but will set around 4:30 PM (dangerous). If I want to ride in November, I am definitely going to need illumination, for my own benefit (to see where I'm going) and the benefit of those around me (so drivers don't run over me with their cars). I haven't decided yet what to do. I don't want to spend a bunch of money buying new illumination gadgets for the bicycle if I'm only going to be able to use them for a few weeks anyway. By December I'm sure it will be icy enough in the mornings that I'll have to stop riding altogether. At least I have a beautiful companion (my wife) to carpool with during the winter months!

1 comment:

Over the Cubicle Wall said...

My favorite site for bicycle reapir and maintenance info is:

http://bicycletutor.com/

Lots of easy to follow videos on all kinds of subjects.

Nice blog, and good luck on the mortgage.