You often hear someone saying that they can no longer afford auto repairs, and that they need to go buy a new car. In reality though, a new car will most likely end up costing more than keeping that old car going. I recently read somewhere that a new car will cost you around $8,000 per year to own! Here’s another site that has a Real Costs of Car Ownership Calculator. Even people that call themselves part of the “green movement” tout the miracle of the hyrbid vehicle; however, saving gas is only part of the equation. Our freeways, streets, and parking lots are already overcrowded. Maintenance to our transportation infrastructure is falling behind. Getting everyone in an efficient hybrid vehicle will only encourage more driving, and further exasperate our transportation problems. We are far better off fixing what we already have, driving less, and using alternate forms of transportation when possible.
Although I’m pretty meticulous with my bicycle maintenance, I tend to neglect my cars. I really don’t know a thing about working on them. They get attention when they start to sound funny, begin emitting odd smells, or simply won’t start. Lately I’ve been taking my old clunker to Marcus Marchegger at Capitol Automotive. Not only is Marcus a friend of mine, he’s an avid mountain biker, road cyclist, and Death Ride veteran. He’s also an active member of our local bicycle advocacy group, Muscle Powered. Marcus also has a couple cyclists on his staff. When I get my old car fixed up at Capitol Automotive rather than buying a new car, I have more money left over for my cycling lifestyle. I also take comfort knowing that a portion of my dollars spent in Marcus’s shop will eventually get spent in our local bike shops.
If you’ve ever been to Capitol Automotive, you’ve probably noticed the bicycle that’s always parked out front. I asked Marcus about the bike and his cycling staff. Here’s what he had to say:
I always park the cruiser in the front of the shop. For two reasons.. One, it is the fastest way to get burritos or small auto parts from the nearby distributors. Since we are downtown, everything is close, the bank, the restaurants, etc… Also, I have a lock and key and offer it to customers if they want to use it while I am fixing their car. Only a handful of people have taken me up on it. Two of my three employees, Troy and Alex, really like riding bikes. They use the cruiser whenever they can. Alex rides his BMX bike on the trails around his apartment in Reno (he’s planning to move to CC), and Troy is an avid cyclist. We need cars. We fix cars. They are vital, but any excuse to ride we do!
I wish more people took me up on the “loaner bike” program. Getting your car worked on is dismal at best. Inconvenient. At least if you got to ride a bike for 5 or 10 minutes to get to work or home, it would put some fun in the day. I think a lot of people who rode bikes as kids don’t realize that it is still just as much fun as it was when you were little.
So next time you need your car worked on, check out Capitol Automotive for honest service. Make sure you make Marcus happy and take him up on his loaner bike too! Capitol Automotive is conveniently located downtown near the corner of HWY 50 and Main Street.
1000 N Plaza Street
Carson City, NV 89705
You can read more about Marcus and Capitol Automotive over on the Nevada Appeal website.