Bit of a bummer

Okay, I really, really want to secede from this craphole of a state. Downstaters can do better!  I know *everybody* isn’t a corrupt, greedy slimeball!

Bike pulls up beside me:  “Hey, wanted to say goodbye.”   He’s going to Indiana to teach there (slight emphasis on the word “there”).

“Oh,” says I, “Lots of people in education are going to other states these days.”

“Exactly.”

This whole fiscal year — from last July 1 — they haven’t made a budget at all, so… except for enough court ordered payments & special cases, the bills aren’t getting paid. So they’ve carefully picked the things that will help them most politically to pay for (including a 100,00 $ position to be an assistant to the governor’s wife).

The rape crisis center — cut down to one emergency hotline (where they can tell you I suppose to go to the police but there’s no counseling any more)… drug treatment… mental health facilities…. they’ve just tossed some scraps — between 30-60% of what they budgeted last year — at colleges & universities (again, granting more to the places that are more politically noticed).

Ride of silence tonight…  and it’s beautiful out there, and my co-worker has ridden in today and yesterday (yes, rainy yesterday).

 

Xtracycle fantasy

So I almost had 2.5 miles on my errand trip… and I was curious about what the construction signs were about on the side street… so I went past my house and turned.   I went by a family going across the street where the man and boy child were in comfortable shoes and carrying day-glo sneakers, while the woman was struggling behind them in heels… and then saw the lady standing by 8 bags of stuff… loading them onto her shoulders… what’s up with that?  There’s a story there, I thought… but she looked like she knew what she was doing.    I went a little further – looked to be ordinary asphalt repair, because the busses do that.  I turned around and … the lady was just a little further up the road, bags off her shoulder now… catching her breath.

I popped up on the sidewalk  and dismounted.

“How far are you going?”   …
“to the corner (bout a quarter mile), where the bus *usually* stops.”

Okay, was she trying to catch it?  Didn’t matter.

“How ’bout putting your bag on the back here…’  (the skateboard thing on the back)

“No, I’ll be okay… these allergies aren’t making it any easier to breathe.”

“You can hold onto it… then let’s walk.  ”

She started lifting the bag… “It’s really heavy.”

We hoisted together.  “You keep it stable and we’ll walk.”  She was still breathing hard… but it got better as we walked … seems that it was a nice day so she had walked to the store &  got on the bus… that rode right past where it usually turned… because of the construction.   It had been re-routed.

“I’ll be fine now.”   She lifted the bag and walked to her front door — which was oh, 100 feet from “where the bus usually stops.”

Yes, I’d imagined years ago exactly that as being “something I could do with an Xtracycle — help somebody with heavy stuff,  without them worrying about me riding away w/ their stuff.”

She’d have made it, eventually, probably,  but it would have sucked.   It’s a good day when you can make somebody’s day not suck *and* it doesn’t even get complicated.

Update:   CUMTD replied “Apologies.  Reroute was posted for the 5 but not the 50. It’s been corrected online. Thanks for tweet and assisting on the street.”

Dude, they gots poet tweeters at Mass Transit!

48 degrees…

42 when we started.   20-30 mph winds.   Hey, its a level 1 ride so we did 9 miles with two rest breaks … the Garmin said we averaged about 9.2.   Frank, Jason, Margie and me… bragging rights.   It wasn’t “epic” because we just slowed down, thank you, and wore extra clothes.   Loaned my favorite mismatched gloves (didn’t say where I got ’em from ;)) so everybody was reasonably comfortable and worked reasonably hard:)

Then to farmer’s market where by then if things were going to blow over, they already had.   I didn’t see the compost bin/ rain barrel sales but I forgot to look for it until I was home and saw it on facebook… but … I’m thinking those things might have been rolling all over the place.  Could have been quite amusing while it lasted…

My new ATM card works… so I’m almost fully wallet recovered (well, I have no intention of replacing the bus pass ’cause that would be the full $84 annual cost and I hardly ride it in the summer).. .library card & job ID about all that’s left.  Oh, and zip car card😦  which I will need… tho’ Imight cash in Enterprise points for that rental.

The new Busey Bank on Springfield (where I got my new ATM card) has nice, up-to-code bike parking.   That’s rare in “Bronze level, bike-tolerant” Champaign… but hopefully it’s a sign of the times!   And I’ll be chatting w/ News-Gazette folks Monday about Bike MOnth…

 

Rainy days

Yesterday was a day I would have done better with a car…. I didn’t want to wear concert black to ride in and work all day… but the bag with the gear was not in my office at 5:30.   I couldn’t hop into my car and buzz home… ended up calling another second tenor and getting a ride.

I was happy that I could just hop the bus.  People, learn your bus systems — they’re great options… I wasn’t so happy that I don’t have my bus pass because my wallet is still AWOL (today’s goal is to utterly clear out the office and make sure it’s not here, SOMEWHERE, since this is the place I’m most likely to Just SHove It Somewhere Weird.)

I used the other credit card for the groceries & came out as a couple was trying to figure out how to carry their two or three plastic bags on their bikes … they hadn’t intended to shop… I realized that one of the bags I’d grabbed was a Stowaway string-backpack, complete with pocket for ID and reflective parts… He accepted it (I ‘splained it was swag from a ride & I had several but there was also good old-fashioned “I’ll  accept help & learn from my elders” in the air :))  & I suggested he find a way to just have it On The Bike and they marveled at how much it held and proclaimed to each other as they rode off that they’d be using it a lot.

Welcome to bike culture, people:)   Nobody markets it so you have to think a bit, but there’s stuff out there that works.   Oh, and we’re a friendly bunch.   I was on the nice new Transport so I wasn’t “That lady on the weird bike with the surfboard…”   I hope they’ll start thinking “bike culture,” whether or not they have a car…

tHANKS, weather…

At 1:00 the hourly forecast said 100% chance of rain… and yes, they were marching towards us in psychedelic red glory.

Except then they just shrank around us to the south so … yup… home in clouds and wind, but the pavement was already dry from the little bits of rain.   Lots cooler, though! And… more coming.

Car next to me at Prospect had vanity tag “MRS SUM 1”  which made me wonder whether this was a math teacher or… “someone…”

Then on the green and goin’ down the road, “SUM ME 1” goes by.

Okay, they should have been carpooling ’cause I bet they were related.   Or not…  Curious:)

 

Better yet… I looked closely at the directions for the light — no, they don’t have good pictures.   It said to be sure to put stuff into the “IN” ports; that the one that said “OUT was for the tail light.

I remember noticing unhooked connection and … I just hooked it up.   I was curious as to why there were two places with connectors so there were actually 3 chunks of wire.   I know why there was one extra — that was an improvement over the original.   My old version … was prone to the connectors being snagged and yanked out… and that had led to the cheap and cheezy metal connectors breaking off, which was why I had switched the old one to the “OUT” port, too (which may or mahy not have actually said “OUT” — I may check.)

I tugged at teh “out” part and … dudes, we had really nailed those bad boys in there based on the previous thingy… so I stopped and thought, adn realized… d’oh, unhook from that second connector and now just plug the dude into the “IN” slot.

Now, it’s not all wham-goggled into place like the “out” one that’s just dangling is, but a trip to MakerSpace where Good WHamGoggling happens can take care of that.   It also explains how I could have seen the connection dangling … but the light still worked (because the “in” connection was dangling, and the “out” was connected to the light.)

It even explains the old light and the new one having the same symptoms, and why the old one *did* work for a while (until the connector things broke).

So I THINK the dang thing’s working — if tomorrow’s Pedaling for Pleasure doesn’t get rained out (tho’ I suspect it will) I will get a chance to test it in the dark.   I’m prob’ly going to sip this wine and check out a MOOC starting tonight rather than go out tonight for an extra mile once darkness falls, but who knows?   I’m headed for a 500 mile month even given that Saturday will be the marathon so I’ll be cloistered (I’m “inside” its loop).

Springi s here…

Life is skittles and life is beer!

I think the loveliest time of the year is the SPring. I do! Don’t You — of COURSE you do!

Well, I haven’t run over any pigeons, but it’s been a tad stormy.

And … I dont’ think I get *quite* as much sympathy with the Transport becasue this a.m. a white Volvo buzzed me and this afternoon another dude honked all over me and then buzzed by… but we’ll see.  Sample size and all that.   I’m thinking, though, that good drivers can see me and therefore give me the lots of room … but twerds be twerds (who think “oh, that poor homeless lady!” when they see the Xtracycle but don’t go there if it’s not pathetic looking)  …

It is definitely time to order an air horn.  Come on, there really SHOULD be something better than the plastic stupidity of Airzounds!!!  Makers!!! Get on this!!!

 

Wandering through the wet

Still having fun with the Transport, tho’ kinda hoping Champaign Cycle will call & the Xtra will be done for the simple reason that Monday is my “out late” night and the Xtra has the good light.

I found two “lunch coolers” — one a swag hand-me-down and the other one I purchased on GITAP for some reason or other (carrying brewskis back to camp?  I don’t remember …)  — and, happily, both will fit on the front carriage platform.   Now I’ve just got to figure out how to secure them, and I think I’ll be able to do things with Gorilla Glue and velcro… I’ll slice up some of those old campaign signs to make into dividers… okay, pictures or it didn’t happen, right?

Alas, first priority is figuring out taxes…