The house was cleaned, my other roommates were well on their way to the East coast, it was just Myron and I in the empty but beautiful San Diego house. All that stood in the way of us and our cross-country National Parks trip was my old bike, some extra pillows, a floor fan, the microwave, and an extra cooler. It didn't seem like much, but when it was all packed up, I wasn't sure the remaining items would fit in our self-storage unit. Again, I doubted Myron the Tetris master, only to be proven wrong.
I was emotionally exhausted from the move, tired from the deep cleaning that my other roommates neglected to help with, and absolutely itching to be on the road to Death Valley, stop number one on our trip.
As we neared the storage unit, I couldn't have been grumpier. I was also probably going through caffeine withdrawal of some sort, as it was my first morning in a long time without coffee, either from work or home. Luckily, while I was in a foul mood, my boyfriend was the opposite.
He was positive he could fit the last of our possessions in the tiny space. And he almost did. Up until my old bike. Now this bike wasn't anything special. I'd had it since college. It had gotten me around when I needed it most, going to and from classes every day. After college, I neglected it for almost a year, letting it rust and age out in the elements. I picked it back up again when my boyfriend and I started dating, as we would spend afternoons riding as far as we could along the ocean before we had to go to work.
I had my bike tuned up at a shop, but there was only so much they could do. It was getting old at this point, it was built in the seventies, possibly even earlier. It was getting to that age where it required constant upkeep, and I know zero about bicycle mechanics.
My bike was great for getting me to the grocery store and back. I didn't need it for much anything else, and so it was left outside, exposed to the ocean air day after day. Maybe someday I'll get another bike, a newer one. Or maybe I'll educate myself about bike maintenance. But for now, I'm happy with using my feet to get me places.
So here we were. On the third floor of our storage unit. My Tetris master boyfriend had managed to make everything fit seamlessly into place in our tiny little unit, and then there was my bike. We had room vertically, above some of the furniture, but how were we going to get it up there? Like I said, I was already tired and grumpy, not in any condition for positive innovation.
We took a step back and stared at the packed full room. We could just chuck it up there and hope for the best, but there was some glass and other things that would get damaged if knocked around too much. No, blindly throwing it in would not be smart.
Outside the storage facility gates
The storage facility is surrounded by gates requiring a special access code for entrance. The elevators also require the access code to operate. It's just one little extra step management has taken to ensure the safety of their patron's belongings. Our storage unit is located on the third floor of the facility with a standard issue pad lock. I have never felt worried about our belongings’ safety.
So there we were. My boyfriend on his tiptoes trying to see over the mound of furniture looking for a spot for my bike. I was behind him, holding onto the dilapidated handle bars. I began thinking about how my little green bike was really the only thing in our way. If I didn't have the bike we could be making our way to the car discussing which coffee shop we'd like to visit one last time.
I stared at my bike for about thirty seconds. That's all it took for me to decide to give it away. I wouldn't be using it for probably the next six months. I potentially wouldn't even use it ever again! Many times over the last months I contemplated selling it and buying a new one, but decided I should be appreciative of what I had, and so I never tried selling the bike. I kept it and was just happy to have two wheels that worked, for the most part. I had a U-lock with the key in it still and decided that I would give it to someone who would appreciate it more than I.
I looked at my boyfriend and told him to not bother making a spot for the bike, we were going to lock up the storage unit and make our way to the car. It was time to leave. I was ready to get on with our adventure we had been patiently waiting for.
We made our way down the elevators, I took one last look at my bike and knew this was the right thing to do.
My boyfriend took it for one last spin across the parking lot. I followed him out in the packed and ready to go Nissan Rogue, and watched as he cycled over to a couple of people nearby. He approached two men and I saw him point to the lock with the key still in it, then nod his head "yes". He leaned the handlebars toward the stranger who gingerly took the bike from him and smiled.
Want to keep following Michelle's journey? Here's an index of her entire experience (all five blog posts):
- Michelle's Self-Storage Journey Part 1
- Michelle's Self-Storage Journey Part 2
- Michelle's Self-Storage Journey Part 3
- Michelle's Self-Storage Journey Part 4
- Michelle's Self-Storage Journey Part 5
Michelle is a self-storage enthusiast and freelance writer who enjoys traveling the world. An expert at getting the most out of the self-storage experience, please check back regularly for more about Michelle’s adventure and how self-storage helped her dream of travel come true.