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
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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…
Yesterday I went to Busey and extracted cash and went next door and sprang for the 7.5 FX that’s a close cousin of the 7500FX that got swiped the Saturday before Thanksgiving. Night before, I had ridden out to really test it out at the Champaign Cycle indoor training rides. Getting the trainer on the Xtracycle around the Christmas decorations was a challenge so I put the Maya trailer on the back and the trainer inside.
Now it’s time to dash outside for a quick Saturday loop…
I didn’t have a fast bike so I *was* the least common denominator on today’s ride to Tolono, but even after a year of utter slothdom, I realized that yes, I will still be able to get back into shape reasonably quickly. And now, down to the Prairie Cycle Club Winter Party at the Great Impasta…
(First thing I had to do was strap the Christmas Tree down horizontally….)
… So the Saturday before Thanksgiving, I went for a “Saturday Saunter” ride, came back, leaned the bike against the house in the back yard and went in to grab a bite to eat before my bike project gig at 2:00.
Came out and it was gone. (The Xtracycle, parked nearby, couldn’t tell me what happened.)
I’ve made the police report and all that, and showed pics of my model to a student who lives in the area (tho’ mine is, of course, a whole lot more dinged and worn out). (It’s a blue 7500 FX if you’re wondering…) And frankly, the “ouch!” of its disappearance was a small, impersonal, theoretical “oh, that person should not get away with thievery!” thing, far from the repeated sense of gut-wrenching loss that I’d expected the other times I’d gone out when I’d left it or my other bike(s) in even more vulnerable positions and come back, they were still there, and I chastised myself with “how are you going to feel when you come out and it’s GONE??!!” It’s partly because a: I wasn’t also thinking “bike gone — how will I get where I need to go?” b: Okay, I have learned some detachment from material things and c: it’s just a bike. The expecting to see a person who’s gone sucks so much worse.
And now I get to shop for a bike.
I was considering Grover as I tooled out of Parkland, and pulled up to the intersection of Bradley and Country Fair, where I make a right turn. As I got to the front, a driver swung into the left hand turn lane approaching. My policy is: I’ve got the right of way, but if you are going to proceed I’ll yield and give you room. That’s what the Vulnerable Minorities do if they want to stay alive, you know.
So the driver in question seemed unsure… not proceeding, no… you are proceeding… so I pause mid turn so you can swing by — except that you’re proceeding
Right At Me.
As in, aiming toward the lightpost to my right.
Welp, I figure I’d better do some proceeding of my own, and I do — I love the math that when we’re goin’ perpendicular, I am out of your way effectively.
You proceed to where you can’t proceed anymore because curbs and lightposts are in the way, but I’m not sure what your motivation is, so I have pulled over, ready to hop the curb and get behind something if you aim yourself at me again… but a horn or two honks and you maneuver and then drive right past me without so much as a by-your-leave. (When’s the last time you heard that ;P )
“Sail On” says the license plate (with perhaps a number or other character after the N). I’m thinking “If you’re going to drive like that, you shouldn’t have a vanity tag.”
A windshield rolls down and a woman asks me, “What was *that* all about?” I’m still processing. ”I don’t know.”
“That was a very old driver. You’re very lucky.” Then her light changed and we went our ways…
I don’t know how close things really were or how lucky I really was (I don’t have a good sense of space, which has probably saved my skin a few times because I don’t get scared; I think about three seconds later that “oh, my, based on the breeze, that was amazingly close.” — there was no breeze here ’cause we were moving slowly). I do fervently hope that everybody who saw it, especially the idiot behind the wheel of sails on, is more careful for a while… and I kinda wished I had hopped the sidewalk as I sometimes do for that stretch, but there had been a dog walking man on it. I also considered that had I been truly lightless and invisible, the driver might have just made the turn properly.
we’re *all* vulnerable…
…. the weather is lousy so it looks like there might be oh, five people doing it… some creative soul needs to think of a crappy-weather-option.
slashdot.com has another link to an article about increases in cycling commuting because of gas prices and, alas, the comments haven’t improved over the past two years or so. They had improved a bit — there are now a few cyclists who post — but the majority of the boingy culture are, it seems, of the “what??? physical exertion ?!?!?” mindset, with a hefty dose of the “roads were made for cars; we can kill you, so get out of the way. Of course, I’m stridently against all forms of oppression…” Perhaps it’s a shift that a person describing his shift to cycling gets a “four points: insightful” score (my posts have never gotten a second look so I always get “1″ — the geek types also tend to be cliquish…).
Bike project was very quiet yesterday so I gave the back end of the Xtracycle a close inspection and I think I’ve rearranged clasps and straps so things don’t fall out. Found the second half of the blender stand (hooray!) so when my side car comes I shall endeavor to make a full bar Hmmm… might could do that for Cranksgiving…
I hung out at the Champaign County Bikes table yesterday at the farmer’s market. We gave out some maps and talked to folks. There was a man who inquired about turning right in his car when there was a bike lane, and I confirmed that yes, he should “take the lane” so that the bicycle riders would be encouraged to go to the left adn discouraged from going to the right. I noted that the current bike lanes became dashed near intersections, and described how I move out to the left to make room for cars coming up behind me to make that right turn.
The other conversation of note was from the Token Driver Who Needed To Talk About THose Stupid Cyclists That She Almost Kills. Two issues concerned her most: unlit riders and … those using sidewalks. Oh, and she was from Maryland, and things were much better there! I was intrigued. Just where in Maryland was she from? Oh, she said, a planned community. Greenbelt or Columbia? Columbia.
I suggested that one of the reasons our cyclists and drivers were having more conflicts was that whole planning thing and it gave her pause… if there are places to ride safely and visibly because of the way the infrastructure is designed, ya know, the cyclists probably get “smarter…”
The construction of the big ol’ Student Services Center is humming along, and they’ve gone and sucked back the fence and put up some new bike racks
In the background is the abandoned bike, obviously having been released from its U-lock…
Campus and the commute are much busier this week, and school really starts next week. Must remember half the drivers will be Totally Lost for a while…
…. and time to get back to blogging here.
Gary Cziko’s nifty pics of our July 3 moonlight drive… 30+ folks riding to the Sidney Dairy Barn for ice cream. The snapshot I wanted was of the SUV coming the other way on the almost-2-lane (country road not worthy of stripes) that just pulled over… I looked at the occupants as we went by, expected to see, oh, I don’t know, resignation, annoyance…
Looked like to parental units and at least one offspring in the back seat, and they were watching us as if we were the Tour de France or something equally worthy of admiration. Now, there’s a culture shift I’d enjoy: instead of “we’re pulling over — it’s so dangerous out there, they shouldn’t be doing that!” or “well, they think they own the road!” it was “hey, look at them! No, just look! Must be 30 of ‘em… is that cool or what?”
Of course, it could be my imagination or projection of my fantasies, but I choose optimism
Getting 1000 miles in July is going to be a bit of a challenge — it’s like a heat wave. No. It is a heat wave. As in, this is the year when Mother Nature starts crying her heart out and saying “I tried to tell you.”100 degrees today, yesterday, tomorrow and the next day. Then a few days back to the eighties, and then back up to the nineties and…
… 30% chance of rain on one of those days.
Okay, that’s just so a year from now I can look back and ponder my prescience or lack thereof.