Summertime :)

… and four day weeks started this week. Yesterday was “drop the rental car off” after riding in Rock Cut and since I sort of left the front wheel at the park… had to use the bus for the rest of the commute. The commuter bike isn’t going into a rental 😉 Fortunatley the ride was a “let’s have a camping weekend ride before the Grand Illinois Bike Tour” and half of us are going to that Sunday so … the wheel will meet me agian. In the meantime, I’m on the Big Green Thing.

Also have to get to work 7:30 which means… differnet commuting tme, different people. Hoping they get used to me 🙂 Won’t see SIHCOE person on her bicycle… won’t see GD FVR on Main Street or … assorted others… but my guys outside Eden assisted living were already there; seems their morning routine is to just go outside and chat (and greet bicyclists like me :)).

It’s hot … and the a/c doesn’t work. I will talk to it again this evening and call THe People tomorrow. I might try the “online contact, we’ll be in touch” but … they weren’t in touch. Oh, and it seems The Internet Is Down All Over THe Wolrd right now for a lot of folks (not me so maybe only BIG IMPORTANT places…)

Spring is here

For the second time in my 20+ years here, a driver passed me on the viaduct going under the railroad track, going around the concrete pylons to the other side of the street…. the first time was before they’d put traffic lights at Neil. I had the pleasure of coasting up behind the hustler ’cause it saved him no time at all…

Last week Tuesday’s late-morning ride in was a tad slushy…. maximum drowned rat effect. Real snow would have blown off; real rain would have washed off. Slush ….

Today I got here in under 40 minutes – major tailwind, and the forecast is for the winds to pick up… enough for a “special weather statement.” If it’s too gusty the ride back will be via mass transit 😉

Last week I was going to do club rides but the weather was dubious…. Saturday *my* ride happened b/c the rain held off. Have I mentioned the weather likes me? (Shhh… ignore Tuesday. Besides, I have the gear. It honestly was pleasant.) and since the other 2 folks were year-rounders, we did 25 miles … so I got a workout on The Tank.

I will prob’ly sweep by Itty Bitty Bike Shop and inquire about a few things including confirming that yes, I’d be interested in building up a bike 🙂 Hard to explain to housemate that its purpose would be … to be another steed in the stable. Housemate hadn’t really known the Gazelle, though, or its story 😉

[The story: while eating with bike folks, Richard M. motioned me outside to the street where was parked a Gazelle. He showed it to me, explained it was Dutch and designed for commuting… showed me all those amazing features like built in lock, skirt/coat guard, lights, internal everything so it didn’t rust…. I went home and searched the web madly but nobody imported them back in that day and gee, I could go to the Netherlands and spend about 800 for one… oh, well…
…. some November or other I’m riding by Champaign Cycyle and I am possessed by the desire to drop in and chat, so I decide I’ll go in and buy a tube. I walk in the door and Fritz says “Sue, Have you ever heard of a Gazelle?”
My jaw drops and I inform him that I have heard of one, I have seen one, I have lusted after one.

A voice behind me says “for $450 it’s yours.”

Grad student from Holland, graduating, going home … he’d asked Fritz if the price was too high and Fritz had answered, “you just need to find the right person.”

Spent many years with the delightful machine having folks with accents approach me to admire it and ask where I got it….]

And now to get back to things of work…

April Snow Showers ;)

The outside pics didn’t show the snow, but those soggy clumps on the mirrow and the jacket almost do 😉 It’s in the 30’s so it wasn’t that cold so it *was* an enjoyable ride. The mask is b/c I’m inside the college; it’s tucked down for the most part outside, unless I’m going through that stretch of campus where I bring it up in solidarity with everybody wearing them as they walk along. Our county’s positivity’s a bit better than most of the state’s… and we topped 30% fully vaccinated…

Today I get to work 11:30 — yes, I could have gotten on the Green just outside my door and sat back and enjoyed the ride all the way to work. I may do that for the ride home and going in tomorrow. I pulled in and several folks were under the awning — it’s the sneak-a-smoke place. They were talking about somewhere or other… about how they went there recently and it was fine, but they wouldn’t go there at night and this street, that street, you know… where so and so got killed…

It reminded me again of the realities of so many people’s lives. A verdict is supposed to be delivered in a few minutes.

My red bike is still in the Itty Bitty Bike Shop, waiting on parts 😉 I think I”ll formally let them know that yes, I’d be interested in a custom build around oh, a frame w/ similar geometry but not a long frame (necessarily ;))… going to keep trying to get extra miles in despite … flakiness!

And speaking of prayers (extra miles get that), so I cruised towards University and Wright trying to get to church in time to practice stuff and it counted down to zero and … *waited an extra five seconds* for me to get there to go green so I could get across. When I came out, it didn’t have that extra five seconds. Yea, I know, prob’ly just a different part of its algorithm but I’ll take it!

Geese of way

What with nobody being awake in the house and a stiff tailwind, I was very on time this morning… sailing up Country Fair, a goose decided to do a very. stately. stroll. across the road. No, it didn’t appear to be injured … and it was alone (relatively; there are geese *everywhere.* Pretty sure Branta canadensis Canada Goose tho’ I thought I remembered a close lookalike invasive species, but Dr. Google informed me there is a lookalike “Cackling Goose” that only got its own species ranking in 2004, and my wildlife courses were in the 80’s, so it’s some other bird with white on the front that fools people. (Once I went into education, I realized I’d picked A Major That Did Not Match My Learning Strengths. Organizing and remembering visual information …. is a challenge…)

A bicycle’s an easy maneuver ’round — but to my delight, the oncoming Jeep who really would have had *plenty* of time to get by just stopped about 30 feet back to watch the critter get where it was going and give me a thumbs up. (My ears get compliments these days — the fuzzy purple bunny ones on the helmet…)

Another Midwestern Morning 😉 Storms on the horizon…. the Illinois tour is going to be all motel/hotel (I forget which since I’ve always camped) and I forked over the dough for that, thinking COVID or no COVID, climate change has meant weather hazards are just more real, too.

Getting new siding 😉 Looked at samples yesterday, had mad coughing fit and put ’em back outside… think it’s probly a good thing I never put siding on for a living 😉

3 lap lunch :)

Okay, it’s going to be weird and windy tomorrow but *today* I did full 3 laps at lunch. Might even log the miles 😉 Planning to start Actual Club Rides April 17; I’ve had my shots and I think there’s a mask breathable enough to work for the Satuday Saunter. And…. hopefully…. vaccines will be working and numbers will be dropping instead of people.

I successfully lubricated the rear brake cable … and got some of the grunge out of places… but *both* bikes have almost identical ‘just a little rub each revolution” in the rear.

And it’s “equinox season” which means when it’s sunny (tho’ it hasn’t been), here On THe Grid, going into the sun is going *directly* into the sun.
But it’s Tuesday “weird and windy” — but theweather likes me so I had a strong tail wind all the way in, no rain yet. I don’t leave ’til 8:30 ish onTuesdays so hopefully it will have subsided (and the forecast has calmed — rain, not thunder) or I’ll be on the Green…

Midwestern commute ;)

Monday the foreast was weird so I dressed for the weather — rain and wind — and decided to get on the bus. Hit and what??? 5 minutes??? I’d expected 10. Gathered up stuff and went out… dashed back in to make sure I had a mask rather than grope through the pockets… head out and it’s up the street and … pausing at the stop before ours for a spell…. picks us up and … loiters for a few extra seconds…
…. usually if I’m taking the bus the weather is bad enough for it to run late but I was riding the forecast and the bus was on time. There were few riders … Lincoln Square, oh, wait an extra minute or two… Illini Union… d on’t pull up to the light, wait for it to go green and then go forward… pause here and there… and we were still amongst the early arrivers for the 7:40 13-bus Mass Departure. The antithesis of “get on the bus!! Move to the back!!! Hurry hurry!”
Today had the pleasure of coasting to an intersection palm down and, yes, the bus driver heeding and doing the left in front of me so neither had to stop. Tomorrow’s wind advisory means probably a bus day. (Oh, the ride home was pretty nasty — hardly any passengers but the one got on, went and asked the usual Green vs. Greenhopper question about how far it went… no mask, driver didn’t say anything, but the passenger nearest did and moved towards front of bus and got off at Illini Union, methinks to transfer from there. The driver was sporting mask below nose. Not typical transit experience here so I let them know … kinda hope the other passenger did, too. The morning experience was typical — people get on, don’t talk, I swear don’t even breathe much…


So my lingering side effects from getting jabbed are lymph nodes being a bit swollen and oh, every 2 – 13 hearbeats I’d get annoying pain. This morning it had moved to my ear. I also had this feeling that … this was a familiar thing… and I should know how to Make It Go Away. It had been coming and going since Friday night…
… So I rode in this morning (I worked from home Thurs and Fri) and the temperature was in the 40’s — where certain things just … happen. Yes, there are places on my route where snot rockets can be fired off with impunity.
I’m all better now. Seems that left enough room for those slightly swollen glands to not be putting pressure on things.
Bicycling is so very healthy!!! (I also know now to just go blow my nose if it flares up again… )


Yesterday was I-Hotel Vac day. I was on the 9:50 list, headed out there with oh, 3 minutes to spare but that was wise b/c you waited outside ’til 9:50. The line was nicely spread out but habits took over when they opened the door and people consolidated so people could get in before the door closed… I modeled doin’ that with space as did the couple of folks behind me 😉 Being Creative In friendly Concert-Queue-LikeSituations is part of who I am 😉

Proceeded on through, having filled out another form since the first was in the backpack I left on the ground at work the night before, forgetting to put it on the bike…. sat down and the nurse says “are you here to help me with my math? ” 🙂 Yes, she’s a Parkland grad and yes, she did a great jab job. “Arm will be sore, but the more you use it the better.”

Rode in to Parkland, sleet starting 2 miles out — the weather likes me, and it turned to rain anyway. I bugged out 5:00 sharp promising a student to be safe, and that I had in the past stopped at the bike shop and prevailed upon them to take custody of my bicycle so I could hop the bus for the rest of the trip. Not necessary 🙂 30mph tailwind and 35 degrees but it was snow cascading. Snow stifles drainage so there were some deep, sloppy puddles to plow through but all wet, all right. Stopped for beer as darkness deepened… and getting across Main was a slime slip… the transition is happening… we’ll just walk across 😉

Neighborhood roads (asphalt) hadn’t made that transition (not as shady), but I know my driveway will have and dang it, that driver knows where I live and is hangin’ back ’til I turn into my driveway so I can’t dismount in the middle of the road… I attack andget to the top and do full Old Lady Dismount and lay the bike down — easy ’cause it just slid out, as I would have — and stepped over it. Yes, the backpack was in it 🙂

Figured I’d be on the bus this morning but when I heard 22 degrees I layered up. That sheen had evaporated/sublimated overnight so while anything that had been snow was ice, so driveways were impossible, the roads were fine. I reveled in getting **oxygen** into those cells. Yes, the chain is crunchy, salty. Had a wave at Geoff no doubt riding to the Itty Bitty Bike Shop on the way in. Happily timed the last light b/c the “breeziness” picks up out there and 20 mile headwinds with a crunchy chain is work 😉 In a few weeks I’ll swing it by Itty Bitty…

“Vaccine sore arm” is unique. I completely flashed back to childhood and feeling like A Good Girl because It Was Sore. State numbers still going in the right direction but Champaign County blipped up and we’ve got “the U.K. variant,” so … time for caffeine and the work routine 🙂

Happy little familiar delays

Two days on the bus — if I were really pushing for miles I could have ridden in Monday, bussed home and back and biked home last night but that’s an example of 20/21 hindsight. Another half hour of precip and it would have still been treacherous.

Back on the bike this morning 🙂 27 degrees… First 10 second delay — oops, hadn’t *strapped* the helmet over the hood and buff. Then down to turn left onto Washington, sort of speeding up in case I could just cruise — so the Jeep driver coming from the right slowed further in case I did 😉 and proceeded at an *entirely* appropriate, abnormally stately speed (prob’ly under 30 mph). Driver behind them was turning left on my little road and paused and waited for me to go … oh, slow a bit, is that nasty shards of glass? …. oh, under *every* tree, as in, it’s shattered frozen rain accumulations from those branches. It’s really pretty once I know it’s going to melt.

Didn’t see the SHCOE(?) bicycle and I wasn’t running *that* late so she might still be on bus or alternative; I did see & greet the other European couple on Bianchi and Cannondale who go to Randolph in downtown Champaign. (I’ve chatted with them and heard accents; the SHCOE rider just looks European and… what’s a SHCOE??? Still no clue…) They passed me but I caught up at every intersection 😉 and we all cleared the Terminal before the 13-bus mass departure at 7:40… then to Randolph and University stoplight where I recognized the white sedan second in queue, so I slowed through the intersection ’cause he turns into first driveway at the bank for another familiar dance.

The Orange bus went by so I was behind it 2 miles before it passes me if I’m Really On Time, but just happy cruising the rest of the way — tho’ I confess I was especially careful because it had Been So Boring. Lots and lots of pretty ice shards, the whole way. Got to wave at the 9B bus that I rode past two mornings as it pulled out of the college (if I’m Really On Time it passes me on the last stretch on Bradley going in). I hope/wish things would get better faster so that the folks who used to ride it out to work … were working again. On the other hand, I don’t want to be on a bus with people all close. They’re *not* all well masked; yesterday a.m. one was having a defensive phone call, mask down, for several minutes before getting of f the bus… and 90% compliance might work, or it might not…

Numbers weren’t *as good* yesterday — positivity up in teh 5 percent and it had tucked down under 4 for the first time in forever MOnday with *fewer than 3000 cases* (but I recall when we were “at a plateau” with 2000 and then BOING!!! up to 9000 K on one day…. please, exponents, let’s stay on the flat part…. ).

So good to be *riding* 🙂

Good clothing

Last night’s commute was in a light drizzle, prob’ly about 40 degrees… and I added a little extra at the end because it was so pleasant on the quiet streets… not too much traffic… I declare “PERTEX” to do as well as that other product for ‘breatheable winter wear.” I just had sweats over pants over base layer on the bottom — while the sweats were pretty wet, it wasn’t raining *hard* enough to penetrate … my sneakers let my socks get a little damp, too, but w/ the coat the core was warm enough (and 40 degrees isn’t cold if you’re not wet).

So this morning… I know, “you can’t plow a forecast, honey,” but the forecast is for sudden, intense snow squalls whenever, wherever. Yes, the weather likes me so prob’ly I’d have been fine but I don’t like to test that relationship so … I went out to bus stop, realized I had no gloves and that Would Not Look Right so I ducked back in, grabbed them, and confirmed that yes, I can make the bus even if I am not out the door ’til it’s on the street. It really is all of 20 steps away if they’re big steps and I cut across everything 😉

I realized running meant I had to breathe harder in a bus than I liked but not for long, I’m in reasonable shape 😉 4-5 people on the bus at a time…. transferred and there were 3 on the Brown. Realized I should have waited around outside rather than getting on and sitting in there ’til the Mass Departure at 7:40. The crew of folks that goes out to work on it… my guess is they’re still not working 😦 Maybe if we get to “Tier 2” but …. oy, it’s risky. Prob’ly not ’til they/ we can all get vaccinated.

Noted that person w/ question about route asked from outside then when confirmed this was the right bus walked on back to the back door to get in, and that people did *not* sit in any of the front section of seats. You’d think they wanted the bus drivers to stay healthy or something 😉 I am wondering how sustainable the system is — nobody has to pay to ride. One person getting on Green near campus showed their ID — bus fare is built into the University fees. Dudes, if that’s enough to keep the system going it would be awesome; it would be cool to have a system tho’ so folks like me could support them with our annual pass ($84 – for the year, people) … okay, I want the plastic one b/c I’ve seen students panicking as their batteries were failing and the phone was their bus pass (’til they figured out our library has chargers)… but there is an app 😉

And I also want to find some nerds to test putting little learning stations on the buses 😉 Imagine a town where ***everybody*** knew their times tables and this and that.

And now… to work 😉