I’m still hoping that the cooler days mean it will be a cooler summer, but today was quite warm — and there were more bicycles than cars rolling on the ride in. Now, when that’s true on University Ave, we’ll have something
So I am trying desperately to convince myself to send WILL a few bucks again, like taxes… but it galls me when they’re babbling inanely through a pledge drive and every other comment has something to do with what I am doing in my car. I know the stats — Champaign-Urbana is fifteenth in the NATION for people who bike to work, and then there are the folks who walk… and lots of WILL’s volunteers and staff are regular riders… .. but I guess if they *thought* about that, they’d have to think about how useless they’re recitation of the weather reports are to people who are going to actually go outside. They generally can’t be bothered to inform me of the current temperature, even. I honestly *did* have to get a reliable internet connection when they canned their meteorologists. They’ll recite the percent chance of rain in the morning, when it would be just a teeny, tiny bit worth knowing whether it already came through at 4 a.m. and it’s still raining in Danville andpoints East (and when you brag to me that you’re surrounded by technology, but you can’t look at a weather radar map or even at one of your online web cams , I just turn the radio off), or it’s pouring in Decatur and moving fairly quickly, as was the case this morning. Tell me *my* weather, and I’ll think of WILL as “my” radio station … don’t tell me how much I like to listen to you in the driveway, in my car, which I don’t have.
Tailwind in,a nd I had time to dash into the bike coop and get some tri-flow for today’s “Earth Day Bike Repair” session…
So I cross Bradley to get on the sidewalk for my unabashed “nonvehicular” exercise and oh, my!!! another user of the sidewalk! Coming towards me from a hundred yards away is a guy on a chopper bike, fully focused on… the apartments to my right, pedaling madly… No, he’s not scanning… so I toot my air horn. He grins madly, says “thank you!” I say “Good morning!” and he replies in kind riding by, and I realize that if my “full body smile” is anything like that, no wonder people crack up laughing
It’s a joyful morning
Gary Cziko shared a video of a ‘drive out’ – where a driver just pulls out into an intersection as if you aren’t there – and speculated on why it happened. (Hint: even the best “lane control” doesn’t. actually. control. another. driver’s. behavior.) I agree, seeing the video, that the driver simply didn’t see him.
I’d have liked to have had a video of my morning’s similar incident… I’m approaching where Main meets I think Goodwin and ends, but the bike route proceeds through between University b uildings. A bus is stopping to discharge passengers, so I signal stopping to share my intent to wait… and the bus proceeds and then I’m going — and the car behind the bus simply accelerates along with it… and about the same time I’m hollering, “It’s a stop sign, lady!” she’s covering her mouth with her hand as in “OOPS!” (which is probably why “lady!” is what came out of my mouth; had there been a cell phone there I’m pretty sure something stronger would have escaped… still workin’ on that…) — I only wish this had been one of those times when the police were watching that notorious intersection… and I *do* wish they’d do something about the visibility of the stop sign.
Then I’m waiting to cross Fourth Street, and like me, the guy coming the opposite direction is rather far out into the street because you have to do that to see anything… which inspires a driver to just stop outright with no stop sign.
Guess it all averages out, but a little better road design would help…
Snow is in the forecast today, too, tho’ not enough to get me on the bus. Still, my plan is to take teh studded tyres *off* the gazelle. Fact is, with the nasty gouge in the back one, cardboard boot showing through, I don’t want to ride it anyway.
My latest accessory, thanks to John (I think that was his name!) and Michael at the Bike PRoject… at quarter to five I said “okay, help me start *thinking* about a rear mount for my big light.” 20 minutes later… we shall work on something sweeter than inner tubes for holding it on (the light comes with hefty magnets on the back) but it does need to be removable for battery changes.
And… I thought I’d seen it all, but heading out to Sunday’s concert, I noticed the pre-stop-sign rumble strips on Bradley were GONE — as well as the fourway stop! It’s just two-way now. Don’t know if that was the plan (make ‘em all stop for a while)… oh, but the rumble strips on Staley really do still suck hind teat on a barren possum.
… I’m back riding in again, having taken the bus the past two days. Yea, I rode on worse stuff in previous years but a: I didn’t have a bus pass & that familiarity with the bus system, and b: each of those days came with a long-term forecast of even worse weather, and c: the Gazelle didn’t have a tire with a gouge so big you can see the cardboard boot all too clearly. (I’m on the Dahon with its studded front tire.)
We lose our hour this weekend… so I’ll get to ride home in sunlight… and get up in the dark…
Last night I rode home on the folder — the Gazelle has yet another flat tire, so I’m thinking the tire itself has been compromised. I’m inclined to switch off to unstudded, tho’ it’s snowing today.
At LIncoln Ave — as in, busy four lane Lincoln — I was crossing from Main… and not one but *two* vehicles (in succession) really wanted to stop and let me across. I held my ground… and then considered that just perhaps the bike’s redness, my high-vis jacket and the blue front and red rear spoke lights (oh, and it being the Night Before Unofficial St. Pat’s Day) had peeps thinking I was something authoritative.
It happened again this morning, though, sans spoke lights. I didn’t hold my ground — so it was a confusing interaction… and pity for a biker inthe snow might have contributed (as well as it being Unofficial).
And it happened again in a different form at Bradley and Country Fair. The line to the light at Country Fair was backed up 15-20 deep, so I hopped the snowy sidewalk (my front tyre on the Dahon is studded) and went up with the intention of hitting the walk button if things weren’t workin’ right. They were… but Bradley was also extremely backed up. I wondered if perchance there was a wreck on the highway (tho’ Bradley isn’t where they’d land)… and heard the fire engines as my light turned green. I crossed (it was a half mile away) and watched as it went into the oncoming traffic lane to get around the zillion cars waiting for the light, which inspired me to signal the left-turners (who couldn’t see the truck through all the cars and aroundthe corner) to stop.
I might have taken the bus but sorry, CUMTD, there is one day I don’t want to use transit and that’s Unofficial.