And now! The long story of how I started bike commuting but will not be doing so until further notice.
First, a long while ago, I switched out wheels on my Raleigh because they were super bent and crappy. This led to better wheels and less choppy braking, but horribly squeaky braking. As a result, I wasn't as inclined to bike because it was super embarrassing at times.
But I still stuck it out from time to time, avoiding stopping as much as possible, or at stopping very slowly when necessary. (How incredibly safe, I know!) I even made a long trek to Minneapolis! And not just west of the river but all the way past Bryn Mawr and back. I finally got to try out the Midtown Greenway and a few other trails, and it was a nice ride overall - but let's face it, squeaky brakes are NOT HIP. So on the way home, I stopped by the Freecycle shop on the Greenway and they switched the brake pads. For a while I was all, oh glorious brakes! I can stop without squeaking! But within a few miles they were still a bit squeaky (only when coming to a complete stop very quickly, though).
I also started biking to work. This was working pretty well, in part because I have my own bathroom in my room (!) and could bring outfits to change into on days that I drive. The route is mostly flat, with either bike lanes or bike paths for most of the way (except for the scary Pennsylvania/35E intersection).
What happened, you say? Well, on Wednesday night I biked downtown quick and was trying to race through a light but had to stop, and fast. And I'm pretty sure this is when the brakes tore through the tire. But since I was only a few blocks away from my destination, I didn't really notice anything. And even when I went home, in the dark, I knew something was wrong but decided I'd rather get home first (since it was less than a mile anyway) than stop on an abandoned street to figure out the problem. Sure enough, flat tire - thus ruining my goal to bike to work the next day.
And since then, I haven't found the time to fix the tire. Sure, I want to fix it, but will that help the squeaky brakes? Is this cold weather going to bring snow soon, rendering any repairs moot? Will this craigslist bike haunt me forever with problems? Should I just get a new bike already? (Probably). Sigh. Stay tuned.