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Doing SXSW By Bicycle

By Kelly McCord

Having spent your portion of the rent money and utilities on a badge, tight pants and a cute pair of shoes, you really want to make the most of your SXSW experience. Riding a bike will greatly cut the costs of gas and parking, thus increasing the balance of funds set aside for your thorough intoxication. There are a few things we need to go over before you go racing out in your fancy ball gown to all the SXSW events on your little sister’s old Huffy.

BRAKES Make sure they work. They should be evenly aligned. If they rub, check to see if the wheel is centered in the dropouts. The cables should also be clean and tight.

LUBE IT UP This means the chain, shifters, cables and derailleur. My favorite lube is
Astroglide, but on my bikes I use Pedro’s Extra Dry Chain Lube. After you lube up, always use a dry cloth to wipe off any extra, as it tends to collect dirt.

TIRES Do they look dry and cracked? Is there ANY tread left? Are there metal wires sticking out? If it’s been sitting around for a while it might need some new tubes. Take it to the bike shop. They’ll replace the tubes for less than $10—free if you’re real cute.

LIGHTS Get a blinky light—the brighter the better. Reflectors just won’t do the trick. Hell, outfit yourself in Christmas lights, You’ll be the belle of the bicycle ball.

ATTIRE Want to turn your pedicure into a bloody mess? Go ahead wear open toed shoes. Sure that vintage skirt is hot, but shredded up shins? Not so much. Protect those gams with a painted on pair of button-fly’s.

IN TRAFFIC the rules are much the same as for daily commuting only more convoluted with intoxication and stupidity during SXSW.

1. Just because you see the cars doesn’t mean they see you. Think one pedal stroke ahead of the driver next to you. And assume they are more drunk/stupid than you are.

2. If a driver comes close to hitting you but doesn’t quite, let it go. Hurry to the bar and tell all your friends how you almost just got killed and they’ll buy you a beer.

3. If at the end of the night you find yourself too drunk to bike, CALL A CAB and ask for a van so you can load up your bike, or leave it locked and come back for it the next day (although downtown it is likely to get stolen).