Where to Go and Where to Get Gifts for Diwali

I don’t usually do this, but I’ve several shameless plugs to make in the next few days, so please bear with me.

First, for everyone who is away from home this Diwali and does not have access to a local neighborhood Indian store, you can now check out eBay India’s new Diwalimicrosite. You can get a great selection of necessities for your Diwali celebration, and gifts for your loved ones, including Bollywood movies! They even have a special handcrafted section for goods that are made by artists in India. And for every purchase made from www.ebay.com/handcraftedinindia from Oct 18 – Nov 10., eBay will donate $1 to the National Rural and Development Association (NARAD), a non-governmental social service organization in India that provides self-help training, motivation and skills to farmers, women and youth, who work to support their families and keep these traditional Indian art forms alive.

Second, if you live in the DMV area, I’d suggest attending the Diwali Banquet on Nov 9, held by the GW South Asian Law Students Association. You are sure to enjoy an evening with an unlimited Indian Buffet, DJ, and Indian drum player in a great location. Tickets are on sale here.

Third, please donate to the Prerna Needs a New Bike fund. I am going to have a hard time doing my daily trips from home to the office, going to school, back to the office and back home again for a while, and any little bit would help.

Adios to the DiamondBack Kalos

My beloved DiamondBack Kalos 2007 bicycle got stolen today from right outside my office building. One second it was there, and then it was gone.

I had the bicycle with me since January 2008, since before I could fly or ever hope to get a license to drive. The petite Diamondback and I went through some rough times — several accidents, quite a number of flats, and an immeasurable number of miles — including the first annual Tour de Dreams from Los Angeles to Berkeley. It came with me from California to Washington D.C. and it went through several upgrades, including new tires, a new seat after someone stole the original, new pedals, and a pinwheel locking system.

I locked it wrongly for an hour, with just the wheel locked to a metal. My luck of essentially locking it outside for hours without having it stolen ran out. It was easy to cut through the wires but whoever stole it was an amateur because it has a pinwheel locking system so getting the wheels and seat off will be quite the task. Even if he could get the wheels and seat off the bike, he would need to fit in new ones since he would have already killed the wheels. If someone stole it for himself, he’d realize that he cannot even fix a flat since he doesn’t have a key for the wheel locks. It also needs new brakes, new chains and new lights, as I had not gotten around to do a servicing in quite some time. Overall, it was not worth stealing.

Now I need to figure out how to get from point A to point B in the quickest amount of time, all over again. But it is Diwali in November and my birthday in December, so it’s pretty obvious what I need now: funds to get a new bike!

Adios Diamondbike. I hope your new owner at least treats you right.

How To Break An Onguard or Kryptonite U-Lock On Your Bicycle

This morning, Rich and I stole a bicycle in broad daylight from Thomas Jefferson street in Georgetown. Granted, it was my own beloved Diamondback bike. Still, no one seemed to care as Rich sawed away at the U-lock for half an hour.

You fit right in as long as you act like you are doing nothing wrong or out of the ordinary.

(Or maybe no one cared because Rich is white).

The bicycle was locked to the post from Friday afternoon till Tuesday morning. I had originally lost the key, with spare keys in California. By the time I received the keys on Monday, the bicycle had endured 3 days of cold weather and the lock had jammed. None of the 4 spare keys worked.

Anyway, I’m posting this video because I know u-locks such as Onguard and Kryptonite have a tendency to jam with or without proper care. My Onguard Bulldog lock was over 2 years old and had gone through quite a rough time from the trails of California to the streets of D.C.

I know the “hammer” trick with Onguard locks but it did not work. WD40 was an epic fail. A crowbar and hammer could only take away the casing. Rich came up with the idea of freeze-on and a regular saw blade but it got us nowhere. At that point, I’d have been mightly impressed with anyone who could have taken it.

The locksmith wanted $185. Finally, we tried the District Hardware Bike store on 24th street NW who told us that a carbide edge fit on a hacksaw will do the trick. We were both quite skeptical. But it worked, and it only cost a little over $7.00. I couldn’t believe that pricing, the Atlanta commercial locksmith I’m accustomed to, has given me the false impression that, normal people can afford to lock themselves a lot more than is the case, apparently.

Thank you Rich for saving my bike and me!!

This is the end of the bike saga. I’m using my DC Driving Permit from now.