attention!

Whew, that was yesterday’s ride and the rest of the day, too. Okay, Wednesday was when there was some event happening at the middle/high school and people were going fast and weird to get there at what, 7:16 in the morning… yesterday the Urbana part was delightful, with the hand-cycle team going east on Washington (the stencil has not appeared again on any bike paths in town).

handcycle stencil marking lane

Then there were Just Lots Of People On Bikes… then Pay Attention, There’s a BUS (“Not in service,”) on Main street, wanting to turn as another car and I arrive and there’s no midwestern standoff as I figure out on the approach that no, the bus that got there first *cannot* turn until the northbound car is outta there so I roll through, that car rolls through and we’re elegantly proceeding.
Ugh, crossing LIncoln which still has all the sort of random cones, and it’s bottlenecked and sharp changes in pavement height where the bike route will be. I get halfway over and am scanning ferociously for safe place to wait (there are oh– except that big red constructiony truck has anticipated *me* and built in a gap in the traffic. Sweet πŸ™‚

Oh, but the mother U. I see another big honkin’ red construction truck a quarter mile away planted across the “bike route” through the fountain and since it *is* their habit to have it blocked for myriad reasons for a day or a year, I cut north for the little workaround except there’s a pickup truck with flashers on doin’ the “oh, stopped for a bit” right on that sidewalk. I maneuver the sidewalk since I know howto avoid the stairs and dead ends… and see my east-bound commuter person on the SICOE (??) … navigate through backhoes and that big red pickup truck. I knowshe made it ’cause I saw her this morning. If the U wants to get past Ruby (lip service) level, they could take the eternal amount of time to … block off the sidewalks ahead of time? (Duly noted: Urbana didn’t even do that for cars on LIncoln when it was blocked; drivers just had to turn around…)

and oh, Randolph was also bottlenecked so I thought I’d ride in the way I ride home, except now I was at *exactly* High School Arrival Time — *and* I wasn’t going any of the paths everybody else was so, lots of attention and bein’ really happy that I have a Really Obvious Huge Long Bike with Funny Stuff On My Head.

Last 2 miles were nicely boring πŸ™‚ with drivers bein’ their usual civil selves. OK, CE 53503 came close enough for me to do a mental capture of license plate but only because I was in high attention mode and that’s easy to remember.

This morning? Late start but I was still ahead of the big mass start… still all weird on Randolph with cones and unmarked pavement so I did the side path — and traffic was mellow enough for me to get across nicely. Oh, and they put a little extra blacktop where I cut into a parking lot over a pothole and I’ll always assume it’s ’cause I said “smooth pavementis so nice!” to the worker when I rode by πŸ˜›

Garbage

(which I want to type as gargabe for some reason and that looks like a goodword…)

yea, garbage truck went by on First anddumped a laaarge cardboard box with all kinds of styrofoam food containers with leftovers, etc…. it was early enough so I helped most of it to the side; the few cars really were dodging carefully and it would havebeen a colossal mess… nope, didn’t take pictures or think to call dispatch & tell ’em (it was definitely a “this is the minute to make this better,” not “call somebody to take care of it”).
Paused again b/c there was a tannish hybrid leaning against a light pole and a coworker has been known not to secure her Trek 7.5 FX in our little cubbyhole… but it was a Giant Boulder. So, still quite possibly a snatch-and-drop – a concept people talk about but I don’t really comprehend, unless they swiped itand then got on the bus?

And did an extra 2tenths of a mile in the parking lot and *still* got in 7:55 and under 40 minutes ride time. (I think tailwind ;)) Yes, 497 miles in August.

Learned where the brake cable has to align yesterday — it had popped out of the places in the frame that kept it the right length and I failed to discern… but took less than 5 minutes at The Bike Project πŸ™‚ I also successfully took the crate off and found the wing nut that had fallen off (Bryan had put two on oneof the bolts b/c … they get lost so easily… it *had* fallen into the side bag). Yes, I *can* lift the thing if it’s not laden down, so I got it up and down the nasty stairs to the basement where the bike project is without help. Week ago I really wasn’t going to get the thing back up the stairs, and it just about rolled over me going down because it’s just so heavy with All My Stuff.

nods

Coming up Country Fair to Bradley T intersection and sigh, somebody *wasn’t* turning left… 4 cars already in left turn lane… I cruised up the right turn lane and plopped to the right of the left turn queue. The driver turning right pulled up beside me and gave me an affirming nod πŸ™‚ Yes, I sort of slowed him down for a second but yes, he could make the right turn.

Yesterday i mused that URBANA IS BETTER than Champaign because where they had sliced out pavement, they’d put enough stuff on the edges so it wasn’t Pinch Flat Central where Main crosses Lincoln. This morning? Well, they’re slightly better. I tried to use the median island — and kept going there but nope, they’d stopped the buffering.. It’s only for the car things. So I had to cut over and stay on Lincoln… the places in Champaign that had been carved are now really smooth, but no lines! Yesterday a truck just did “left turn on red after thinking about it” near the terminal… today I got in the not-right-turn queue because the bike lane isn’t painted and yes, when the light changed the city of champaign car in front of me signaled (lol, not before, that would be good driving!) and went right.

Yes, you get more practice Paying Attention To Your Surroundings if you’re a cyclist. I’m remembering as a youngster reading about people in the wilderness and it was presented as something innate… methinks otherwise.

Got to work sub-40 minutes today, too! 468 miles for August (had that week off in the mountains) so *might* get to 500 today with the final Wednesday Night ride. COULD NOT FIND the top to the bike blender 😦 Must order one…

Took the northern route

Okay, I didn’t start an hour early and do an extra 9 miles or so as Back In The Day,, but I did scoot up to Anita Purves Nature Center to drop off some “Lincold Presidential Stationery” with nice paper and envelopes that I picked up in 2020 when we were in lockdown and I was cruising the neighborhood slowly and it was in somebody’s yard. I’d used it to write a few letters — but letters to politicians about climate change are a good use for it!

Pretty much *everybody* out walking their pets greeted me. It almost felt like This Was a Political Necessity. It wasn’t the same vibe as last night’s “Hello, Rabbit Friend!!” greeting from somebody on a bicycle on Illinois Street… then I meandered west on the North side of town and considered Taking Bradley All The Way because it has new infrastructure. I was on whatever northbound road goes by MLK tho’, and a: remembered this being noted as a candidate for traffic calming, and b: there was a break so I could go left at Dollar General, and c: remembered that suggested routes had Beardsley, one block south of Bradley Ave so I took it πŸ˜‰ Lots of “security cameras in use” goin’ through those streets… then onto Bradley at Fourth Street. Four lanes so not anger-inducing for drivers …but yes, it’s the highest traffic count in Champaign County and people are in a hurry.
Heading back, OH, roads are still chewed up and Champaign does NOT care about pinch flats (any more?) … I know in the past with this kind of construction steps were taken so it wasn’t such a sharp edge at intersections. Don’t know if it was Urbana or Champaign In THe Past.

Time to blog!!!

The season is changing and the people are comin’ back and every day there’s been a “oh, that’s blogworthy…”

Yesterday’s amusement was camera-worthy as I paused easbound at Clark and Randolph (or is it Logan there?), near the Christie Clinic and the Clark Bar, where it’s busy enough to merit a push-button for big yellow flashing lights for pedestrians to get across. Thing is, despite the algorithm, most of the time it isn’t a long wait. Here comes a westbound pedestrian, and oh, there’s a car approaching slowly… is it going to stop for her? Is she going to push the button? She turns and starts walkin’ south as another cyclist comes up, slows… and also heads south-like actually on Randolph, which is a one way street, for exactly the 10 feet or so to get the car through and then he and the pedestrian and I all cross the street. NOBODY wanted to be yielded to πŸ˜› Passive-aggressive midwestern standoff (“No! After you!”)

This week I’ve been cutting up First street in the mornings because I’ve remembered that they’ve taken off the top of the road here and there west of there, with the Pinch Flat Ledges here and there and grooved, nasty pavement in between. Today I thought maybe they were done… but the crews were all out kicking up asphalt and dust so I ducked to the multi-use path on Randolph. It’s one way, have I mentioned that? and the left lane was closed; when there was a gap and I ducked across, here comes a car southbound (the wrong way)… coming home First STreet was even messier — but YAY!!! SOmebody was holding up traffic waiting for a gap to turn into Fiesta Cafe which is right before where I cross, so me *and* the 3 cyclists coming the other way (who couldn’t see squat except that I was crossing) could all get over safely.

Have I mentioned Classes Start Monday? Saw a dude with a dowel and a “Group 1” sign on top of it with a group of folks w/ GEIS T-shirts, and then other folks with GFX (G///(i forget) First-Year Experience) T-shirts. Yes, I am STAYING HOME TONIGHT, having called in the “ROAD WORK” sign blocking my line of sight tryin’ to get across Springfield to “dispatch.”

And yes, I am BEGGIGN it to rain tomorrow morning ’cause it’s dry dry dry and I got to 3400 miles on the year today.

LOL I will blog over the weekend on the nifty crate craftsmanship one of my biking buddies did for me πŸ™‚ It does the Xtracycle proud.

Radar and geese and bunny ears

Geese are wand’ring about — but they parted to let me by on my commute! I wonder what cosmic forces are in play.

Monday I’m cruising down Main and espy a fellow trying to turn some kind of wispy plastic into something that would hold a huge package of toilet paper on handlebars. I pulled over (forgetting I’m in bunny ears) and offered my VEO (bike-share company) string bag but it’s nowhere near big enough… but yes, I had a stray bungee. Meanwhile, a red sedan pulls by “MISS SUE!!!” …”I’m the one who couldn’t type!” ANd now he’s got a good bungee, too πŸ˜‰

I’ve been using the radar on the commute some, and I wondre if a camera with the light would have been a better option. If I resolved, as I did w/ the radar, to invest focused time in figuring it out, maybeit would get more use than the old ones. I dunno. I’m making enough major expenditures so nothing will happen in that direction any time soon.

I made my commute a “course” yesterday and followed it today. I can’t imagine it being useful for anything but competing against myself for time, which isn’t really how I like to commute unless we’re in ghost town mode πŸ˜› Yesterday a guy went by me oh, two tenths of a mile into the commute, passing me on Washington doing at least 15mph and I was inspired to try to keep him in sight — but the rest of the universe laughed at me, as the timing of traffic and traffic lights made that absurd, so I went back to Commute Mode. This morning was a “3 minutes earlier, 5 minutes faster.”

The “course” feature? Pretty much every time I changed lane position, it considered it a turn onto a “trail.” Most of my commute roads were deemed trails, tho’ many of them have a bike lane or multi-path option. It tracked my weave around the fountain very precisely, as if it were something singletrack, not me weaving for the least bumpy places in the pavement. Between that and the radar, alerts were constant. Fortunately, that kind of noise doesn’t bother me (I’ve had to learn to pay attention to repetitive noises that would drive other folks bananas).

Got the Trek pumped up to take it out to rent car for travel this weekend (which will trash my mileage totals ;))… but/and its rear tire is … tired. I put some gorilla tape over where the top layer is peeling off in a spot and might just swing by for replacement today. It should get me out to Enterprise but I had considered riding it today (not too seriously b/c I’d have to carry everything on my back or do like the toilet paper guy : P ) ) but Wednesdays can be 45 mile days (yea, like my “younger days” arready but we’re rolling 11 mph, not 16, tho’ on the Xtra it’s equivalent to 14).

And now time to attack the morning!!! There is learning to be done.

Radar!

…. is not meant for my commute. I had it on yesterday and … I liked it on Country Fair, which is 1/2 mile of lots of people coming on and off the road, traffic lights, etc. Rest of the time, it was a distraction. Yes, I could see the cars behind me before it did. My attention is better spent knowing that the car behind me yea, has the signal on so they’re not going to be behind me goin’ under the railroad tracks… we’ll see how it feels on the group ride tonight. I still like the very notion of portable radar tho’ for my novel I’d have to figure out a way to mute it when the bicycle spies are rolling…

Blender worked really nicely in the parade. I hadn’t really factored in how delicious a cold foamy lemon-lime drink is cruising at 4 mph down the street. Nina P. had her velomobile, which most kids called a car, and a youngster had an elliptical… think there was a bout a dozen of us out there. I don’t know whether the social dynamics would work to get more people out from the assorted bike groups. Hopefully a bunch of librarians will organize an online infiltration network to get people who role play to oh, not take high powered rifles to parades. There are so many other fantasy worlds!

Hope we get rain — I don’t enjoy 99 degrees like it landed on yesterday (real temp). TOday supposed to get to 91. And I *do* like the Garmin.

and a bike club board member got an email “from me” (not exactly the right email address) saying make contact please, and then asked for money to buy gifts for the board. Erm,no, he didn’t do that. They’re out there, people…

New gadgets! Knowing neighbors!

Whereas, the Garmin I had for some years and washed… was not dependable. It liked to spontaneously shut down at a certain spot in my commute and then not fire up again. I shopped and picked a Garmin 530 — there was a different model for “adventures” that was a teeny bit cheaper, not having as many weird settings for training, but it wasn’t in stock anywhere.

I was ecstatic to discover that this model DOES NOT have a touch screen. Granted… then I wasn’t because I couldn’t just hold my finger on things to change the settings. However, my hands have learned where the buttons are, sort of, and that’s ‘way better than having to look down at the thing to do anything, and the stupid thing doesn’t change settings when it’s off the bike… so I took the time to make a “road” and a “commute” profile — each with miles ridden and Time of Day in the big bold frame, respectively and sunset, direction headed, speed, average speed and 2 other things in other boxes.

I also sprang for, based on other people really really liking it, the Varia radar rear light. I didn’t have it figured out by the time I did the Grand Illinois Bike Tour (shh… there was the losing of the Garmin and purchasing another… then finding of the first under the desk… ) And, okay, my novelist’s imagination thinks a taillight with radar is just cool. Hard to justify camera/light option since I have 2 cameras already that I don’t use — except … if it were built into the taillight then I wouldn’t have to figure out mounting and stuff.

Oh, did I mention mounting? Yes, after GIBT I perused the manual and successfully “paired” the originally purchased 530 with the radar. Put the newer one outside. (I had gotten the original with a protective sleeve — that’s how I knew the one I groped at under the desk was the original.) I’d dumped **all** the pieces parts into the same box so … had to find videos and manuals online to discern which THINGS were for the radar. Carefully looked at pictures, struggled mightily to discern that okay, I’m not sure the “pads” in the installation videos … were even in my box but … I thought I was ready and went out to, OH, THE ACTUAL BICYCLE with an Xtracycle deck and a huge crate behind the seat post. Hello?

So I snapped a pic and posted to the cycling group in FB.

The first reply was — a neighbor, from whom I’d purchased masks in Early Covid slipping dollars in an envelope in her door and getting the masks from between screen door and hard door because… COVID. I should swing by! …. cut to the chase, I summoned my social skills, took a deep breath and — oh, actually, we’d done stuff at bike project togehter. And she brought stuff outside to the place she loves to dohis stuff at (because COVID, yes, I had put a mask on but yes, doing it all outside was so much more consistent with everything!)… and we fashioned a pipe to be a fake seatpost in back of the milk crate and voila πŸ™‚

… and … it is nice. It does its alert thing yes, before I know there’s a car behind me. And I’ve swapped numbers with a neighbor πŸ™‚

Midwest…

The Country Fair Drive thing happened again today: a driver coming out of the parking lot stopped a full car length before the intersection to wait for me to go by. It’s the antithesis of the “be as efficient as you can” and poise to pounce…

Then I”m approaching fourth street and a bus goes by right before the light and there isn’t quite enough room to clear me, but I hang out at the back end of the bus. Car behind me leaves half a car length reminding me of the Country Fair phenom — so I eased forward … and a guy behind him peeled around all of us and then peeled around and passed the bus. CR 88966. Thing is, the other folks don’t matter if that one kills you. Very much like DC12113 who hollered at me to get my donkey off the road — when the fellow who could swing into the right turn lane and get on the interstate exchange had given me a thumbs up, another car had proceeded behind him and… somebody further up in the queue had us all waiting an extra few seconds, but I’m sure that shouter thought I was the delay.

Used up a mess of karma today. Realized I had figured out Auto Zone was accessible on the way home, so paused to figure out exactly where it was… about half a mile away? Rode there, and oh, I’d left purse … on the sidewalk. Peeled back — man coming up on bike had not seen anything… but he was in the road. I saw… my raincoat; hadn’t realized I’d lost that. Bag not there. But … oh, bag and Pansy jacket further up. Whew. Whew. I decided YES I would go back to autozone anyway because I’d saved *something* …. but hwen I went in and said I was looking for a genius… then “the portable jump starters” and got a smile “I’m no genius” (“You never know your hidden strengths!” yea, I’m a teacher… I’d also overheard parking lot convo and they’re good people…)

But the internet was right — the only ones they had were the uber powerful top of the line and this guy made it clear that nope, nobody should buy them πŸ˜› So I didn’t! He said interstate b attery had good models for good prices… it was at the other autozone I think where they recommended I go to a different store for a maintainer when I had the car I never drove (which was when I saw the Genius thingies…)

Still haven’t found my Garmin… replacement shoudl arrive Friday or THursday (I go to campground Saturday). I wanted the USB power bank with jumper cable ends to have handy coming back to cars in a parking lot for a week. I’ve wanted one since I saw ’em…. but don’t want ’em $230 worth πŸ˜›
Tent did arrive. It’s a 2-person tho’ I’d considered goin’ bigger as a lot of people do. It’ll be nice to have a fresh tent πŸ˜‰

gettin’ odd

Just to … weird me out… on the bike commute in, in a half mile of my path I was passed by vanity tag USMC, a van with Urbana Police stickers , and a guy opened his window to say “you go girl!” as he went by with rear stickers festoonedΒ with flags wtih blue lines… and then a Champaign County police car. There was also parking enforcemtn but that was at least going the other direction… were they heading to have a little coffee klatch to plan virtual attendance of the NRA bash, maybe that they’d scheduled before yesterday’s mass murder of school kids with assault rifle?

But hey, that’s my morning “novel plot based on the commute,” right? IT was sort of raining… keeping an eye on the radar for the afternoon and might bug out early.