Renting a bike in C-U

… used to be … a challenge.   That might be a thing of the past… I hope!

Looks like the folks at Neutral Bikes have gotten hold of 50 single speed “minimalist” bikes to rent out for a semester to the tune of $69.   (I am wondering if they couldn’t have something a *tiny* bit less minimal to rent to people with better-than-student budgets, and wondering if they also sell messenger bags :))


Looks like we’ll be seeing a fair amount of each other; this morning I was turning left from Anderson to Washington and mentally noted that no, I hadn’t properly signalled … and I don’t remember if that’s because I could roll on through… which probably disgusted and dismayed the car behind me as it passed grumpily. Nothing aggressive, just that little bit of extra gas … and it was SVA BBY of yesterday’s snarky insistence that I needed to ‘be courteous.’
I do wonder whether she was grumpy because my existence was slowing her down or if I’d not done the foot-down (which would have slowed her down a lot more). I did spontaneously wave and smile at her… and noted that there were a *lot* of bicycles out and about that she was being forced to navigate with… and pondering the most effective ways to generate peaceful coexistence between competitors for time and space when our hormones/affective regulators/ whatever is behind our interactiions don’t always react peacefully.

Sigh, it’s August.

Oh, and then there are the yahoos who seem to come out this time of year.
SVA BBY 2 (I’m only reasonably sure about the ‘2’ part) passed me on the right on Race Street before pulling in front of me in the left turn lane. WHen I bent down and looked her in the eye in her mirror, she was inclined to roll down her window and say, ” ???? break the law, you need to be more courteous.” My initial inference was that she was saying “I didn’t break the law…” but more likely she was saying “If you’re going to break the law” as if I were, and as if **any** other choice at that intersection wouldn’t be breaking the law ’cause sidewalk riding is illegal there and making a left turn from the right hand lane is, too. (So is passing on the right and then crossing a solid white line like that…)
As the light turned green I heard myself say (’cause I *never* really know what i’m going to say), “I’m not one who needs to be courteous, young lady!” or words to that effect. I know I’ve been trying to see young female drivers (who for whatever reason are most likely to trigger anger in me) as worthy of parental type lecture as opposed to catfighting or namecalling… and of course the part that sticks most in the craw is the absurd “but I didn’t get to correct her information about lawbreaking!” as if.
I did successfully turn the brain to other things :-)
And it’s a beautiful day, tho’ a tad warm (high 87) and we are kinda in the “could use some rain” category, tho’ that’s just as well since with rain the ‘garden’ would have turned into a true jungle last week while I was traipsing the Blue Ridge.

(afterthought: just… mAYBE… I didn’t foot-down at stop sign intersection before and she’s the rare bird who’d actually notice. More likely I Just SHouldn’t Be On THe Road in her book.)

Yes, it’s august ;)

I’m heading in at 9:00 this week to eat some leave hours and sleep more. This morning there were


First, as I crossed through campus on the pathetic excuse for a bike route that goes through a fountain, there was a: a lady coming perpendicular from the right with coffee in her hand and b: a fellow on a mountain bike approaching. There’s only one “sweet spot” to cross into the fountain … the coffee lady paused and I went to the right ’cause I could handle a bump or two, and the mountain bike guy slowed ‘way down….

Then not 50 yards later at Wright and White there was a truck trying to turn left on Wright *and* a bus trying to turn left onto White and it took that truck driver a few extra seconds to figure out that the bus was waving him across ’cause the bus can’t really make that turn without using both sides of the road…

After that things were their usual “traffic? what traffic?” selves, though … there were just a few more people and the construction seemed to be faster and noisier and mildly frantic. Are they really going to try to have units ready to move into for the academic year? (I remember moving into a just-finished basement apartment and Not Putting Anythign On The Ground because it just seemed a little damp… which was a good thing the second day of school when Everything Flooded.)

It’s August :)

Back from vacationing and stomping around in the mountains of Virginia, and it feels good to get back on a bike, tho’ it seems a bit hurried compared to hiking.

It’s August when you see a young Asian walking wide-eyed down Main Street with rolling suitcase and a box for a kitchen gadget of some kind… occasional pickups piled with furniture and yes, some weird driving for the early arrivers.   They actually start instruction August 24 like Parkland.

It’s cooling off, already — highs in low 80’s and mornings dipping under 60.   Delicious :)

Your typical commute …

This morning’s commute was a mind bender b/c I took the route I used to take every day … ten years ago.   You do “flash back,” which happily was fun.  I entered into it and for stretches, I was that slightly younger self thinking about slightly different things — and happily, being comfortable with the comparison and what I’ve said & done since then.

It was a slightly atypical commute home because I got out of Parkland in a timely manner which means I’m in more of our “five oclock traffic,” tho’ I stopped at the store primarily because then I could weave around the totally ground up road on Country Fair and the one lane traffic with flag people.  Yes, I failed at summoning the courage to simply bound over curbs and grass.   I walked the grassy knolls between the parking lots and Church and the parking lot and University.

Where I cross Neil street is often crowded if I”m out on time.   SOmetimes there are enough cars backed up at the red light at Springfield & Neil to potentially block where I cross at White and Neil.   This is one of those intersections where cars in one lane will want to stop & let me across and I demur on the grounds that there are two lanes, thank you, with traffic… and it really hadn’t backed up to us.

So first one vehicle did that and I waved it through.   The second stopped … I waved it through.  The third came to a full stop three car lengths back of my intersection and since the other lane was clear, I proceeded.

… but what was up with that? Pure coincidence? the automatic mimicking of what the guy in front of you does?  A “this happens at 5:30 every day and we let bicycles across” custom?     Curious. Driving psychology is fascinating.

Then I’m coming in on Main and remembering that when I was tidying up at work and shutting lots of things down and gathering lots of stuff I usually gather– knowing I’m taking all next week off for vacation — I reflected that I hoped I wouldn’t meet my demise in the upcoming week, which I think anybody who’s on a bicycle in traffic should consider (like sailors on the sea). I looked around at the Main and Springfield intersection and wondered how I could meet (and avoid by perceiving)  said demise and saw two very large, very dark men take Big Steps down the sidewalk and then step back into a little cubby like — oh, like they were going to smoke a cigarette or trade some secret — or like some scene from an adventure movie where somebody was about to Have Bad Things Happen To THem.   Clearly, they were My Demise!!!     I chortled … and one of the guys grinned  and waved back at me, as I pulled out and I waved back.   I am sure neither of us were thinking anything the other would guess in our wildest culturally divergent dreams… but smiles and waves are good things. It was quite possibly one of those moments when I strike people as being special ;)   …

And then it was stopping by Common Ground and yes! they have cans of Fat Tire, so I can bring ’em along camping :)   And yes!  My Limefuel battery has arrived (people steal bikes out of drivewayw and  garages around here, but … not stuff delivered to your porch. Another cultural mystery…)   — the “rugged” ones are not in stock but I’ll treat it nicely.

TIme to find stuff :)


I wonder if the Gold & Platinum & DIamond “bike friendly” communities are “friendly” to the point where even when they’re doing construction, they think of bicyclists as important.

Of course, Illinois has an especially bad rep as far as that goes — the poor fellow Boub — who was injured on a construction site that allowed traffic when dangerous enough to injure him — lost his court case because he was deemed “not an intended user” (since it wasn’t a “bike route” or “bike lane”) … which doomed us for *years* of governments being unwilling to do anything for bicycles because “then we would lose a lawsuit!”   THe fact that communities build things like sidewalks and swimming pools and are willing to take the risks because of the benefits to the community took a while to penetrate, but things are better now…

Still, right now my commute is far from friendly just because I”m dodging tractor trailers and backhoes and going over chewed-up grooved surfaces and constricted lanes and I’m fairly certain that people aren’t thinking of/ looking for bicycles.   I’m also glad I didn’t have time to top off the tires — soft ones definitely go over the grooved stuff more nicely, tho’ I can’t go too fast for fear of pinch flats on the bumps and grinds.

Taking a southern route on the morrow, but it’s Summer in this town so there’s construction everywhere…