Category Archives: bicycle commuting

… so, don’t know if it’s a Chrome Doesn’t Like WOrdpress thing but I can’t seem to keep writing on the same post … bikeWithLamp

This is today’s lamp and that shade seems like a blank canvas¬† ūüėȬ† ¬†Granted, I’m using up my drivel-time with this post but I’ll try to search how to decorate lampshades… I’m shre there are some nifty Instructables out there… (yes, the shade is perpendicular to the lamp right now.¬† ¬†That’s how we haul things ūüôā )

Pretty sure both sides of the bridge under the railroad were occupied … as was the car I went by yesterday and noted that the bike and cooler on the back and the pretty extreme quantity of fabricky belongings inside spoke of it being a dwelling.¬† (Yesterday I was rolling an hour later.)¬† ¬†No, we still don’t have a men’s shelter.¬† ¬†We had one; it was sold and the company that bought it closed it.¬† ¬†It’s gonna get cold ūüė¶ ūüė¶ ūüė¶

I’m at 100 miles on the month thanks to a wonderful Labor Day excursion to Monticello and Allerton Park.¬† ¬†Had a flat tire but erm, the tire’s old enough so it came off and went back on easily and there was CO2 handy… *perfect* weather for … well, the folks who added a mile when we got back got metric (I had 11 more for assorted other goings and comings).¬† ¬†That said I am not committing to full “after season Pleasure” ride tonight because I said I’d put a Geogebra video up Sept 4 and it’s not there yet…

Oh, and LAB sent out a survey b/c the U. is going for Bike Friendly again.¬† ¬†I gave credit to the people working so so so hard to make things better, with significant successes… but … people, the lip service parts are pretty awful.¬† ¬†The years of construction on what you claim to be a bike route… the failing to clear the wonderful new infrastructure when it snows and ices… the parking on the routes…

And now back to your regularly scheduled program!

Pictures or it didn’t happen

blockedroutesmallSo Lily says “hey, let me know when things on campus don’t work for bikes.” ¬† Well, of course, except for the known “black eyes” that … well… it’s the U.

So many black eyes, though!

So here’s a typical morning. ¬† This is the “bike route” — duly note that actually, this isn’t a great route. ¬†Yes, we’re maneuvering through a *fountain.* ¬† We’ve already had to do tight 90 degree turns because no, we can’t have curb cuts for the bike path so we have to cut 20 feet over to the sidewalk curb cuts. ¬† (City of Urbana put some in where the city and U border. ¬† Urbana is Gold, the U. bronze per “bike friendliness”¬†and while the metric’s far from perfect, yes, that kind of thing counts.)

So, yes, they just close it off. ¬† It was closed for construction for *a year and a half* just after they put in their “master bike plan” with it as the “bike route.” ¬† Have I mentioned that the University is concerned with What It Looks Like On Paper, not the reality?

I’m sure it’ll be closed for beginning-of-year events, too.

bikelaneparkingOh, and see that line of cars (second one w/ headlights on)? ¬† That’s where the bike lane is. ¬†This is a compromise I’m willing to make — let folks park there moving into dorms — but I’d love to see stats on whether people are allowed to bend parking rules in other places. ¬† I didn’t think so. ¬† The bike facilities are there under duress and as soon as it is inconvenient to *anybody,* the anybody takes priority.

main street bike rackVery nice bike parking on Main Street in Urbana for our post-bike/ped council brew.   (We were mindful of public notice of meetings act and talked about other stuff.)

Here’s a bit of contrast with Champaign, where yes, if I made a left and rode across some grass, I could access a multi-use path behind Springfield to get to the happy hour at El Toro. ¬† Parking at El Toro? ¬†Well, find a table to cable it to. ¬† This is Champaign (and typical).

champaignbikeparkingclothes from bike ride

Finally, somebody left their laundry basket exposed in their truck… clothes all over the road for our Saturday Saunter ride. ¬† THey’ll go into a hot wash and dry… and go on a probably smaller person. ¬† ERm, yea, we were rained on a bit — though we were at Casey’s for the pouring part. ¬† (We also just had to slow our pace a bit for that loooong train to go by…) ¬† Really nice cottons and a fellow who sorts his clothing (grateful the delicates basket wasn’t on top). ¬†Hauling soggy cottons makes a nice workout…

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 ūüôā ¬† 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…

New “verb”

While I generally eschew and often despise turning nouns into verbs, sometimes it’s an effective way to reduce an entire phrase into a word. ¬† The fact that you probably have no idea what I mean is irrelevant, eh?

My new verb is “roundabouted,” and it’s what I did at about five intersections on my commute with all-way stops.

If you couldn’t infer what it is… ¬† when *nobody* was there, or an approaching vehicle was going to arrive a mess of time after I did, I slooowwed and proceeded on through. ¬† If I was goign to have to wait my turn, I slowed early so our arrivals weren’t really close (and yes, the other driver roundabouted, too)… and then proceeded through. ¬† Oh, and plenty of times… I stopped and waited my turn.

It’s how one would behave at a roundabout… now, “roundedabout” at least treats a verb like a verb… I”m not sure…

They’re baaaack :)

Move-in day for teh Mother U isn’t ’til Thursday, but this Monday is Parkland’s first day of classes.¬†

On my commute in — it’s my later-arrival day — I saw two other bike commuters before I beheld the first car on the roads (Washington, east of Vine). ¬† Then, not once but *twice,* there were three of us cycling commuters with no cars between us. ¬† Twice I had to navigate around¬†another cyclists (on the University’s sidewalks, dodging the construction and the lip-service-to-bike-friendly infrastructure).

¬† ¬† As soon as I got past Mattis, yes, the Weather Changed; no heat island effect so the fog hadn’t cleared, tho’ I *could* see the college unlike earlier arrivers ūüėȬ†

¬† ¬† This weekend is CU Across the Prairie… thinking of doing the “Family in town” ride as a “trip down town.” ¬†¬†

I’m insured…

At the Bike Summit, I learned that car insurance can cover the medical bills if I’m clocked by an underinsured or uninsured driver. I also would rather not pay the liability etc. when I rent a car.
I was told “Progressive & Safeco do it, but you ahve to go through a local agent.”
I had Brown, Hobbs & McMurray recommended to me.
Welp, it took a while… but since I went to my “ignore delays and holds and repeat explanations — go to your Yea, I’m Marginalized, but it’s not going to raise my blood pressure” place … and now I’m covered. It averages out under $20/month and I will still have to pay comp/collision to Enterprise.
Of note was that they noted taht yes, they do have others with a ‘named non-owner’ policy… I don’t think “car-free,” but they considered that they should prepare for more people like me, because The Times Are A Changing… not in a political or ‘society’s values’ context, just a practical, financial “this affects our business” one.
The margins are shifting….

Sinewave Saga … not so good match with my GPS.

So I’m hearing the reviews of folks using their Revolution on the road, “out in the wild.” ¬†

Well, my first ride with it wasn’t so wild and yes, I’ve found a mismatch: ¬†GPS and stop and start riding (my commute).

(Important note, though: YES it is rainproof. Yesterday, while I didn’t have it running ’cause I hadn’t located my GPS, it got rained on, and rained on hard. When exactly the same thing happened to my “high end” Luxos U, things got wet and the handlebar mount switch to turn on the light *always* drew power, enough so that the light went into “daytime running light” mode instead of nighttime brilliant because it didn’t have enough power; I had to unplug the handlebar switch entirely. The Revolution, which cost less, is unfazed.)

¬† Also, this is *not* what I’d consider the reason to get one of these. ¬† My GPS doesn’t use much power on my commute anyway — like to use my GPS on the commute if for no other reason than to know what time it is, and because yes, I log those miles in the nationalbikechallenge and if I do that extra lap around the campus perimeter, I want a log of it..

I noted that one reviewer said that the sinewave still charged a phone with ease¬†“when the mobile network was disabled.” ¬† I wonder if that setup was like mine,¬†

YOu see, my GPS has several features that annoy me every time I use it, and I haven’t found a place in the settings to change it. ¬†First, if I arrive at work and hit the stop button, it assumes my trip is over. ¬† Do I want to save or delete? ¬†Second, ¬†If I power down, the trip is over.¬†

Oh, and it also will automatically shut down — tho’ it gives me 15 seconds to touch the screen and tell it not to — if it gets unplugged.¬†

Can you see where this is a problem with a power source with no storage on a morning commute? ¬† It was beeping at me roughly every four to ten seconds either powering up or down, and if I didn’t get to the touch screen in time, powering off

I have to wonder about what this will do “in the wild” at GITAP. ¬† I have to assume that if my GPS is attached, my trips will “end” with every town that has a stop sign.¬†

I can’t do it before GITAP but I may wander down to MakerSpace again and see if, perchance, I could re-wire it so that it feeds off the battery in my light, especially since it was set up with a USB port originally (but failed with the first rain shower– Luxos U == thrown away cash; I hope Peter White figures this out). ¬†¬†

Tonight’s task: ¬†to try to install my handlebar bag which I think could hold my phone, so I can charge it tomorrow. ¬†¬†

Could be that I need to abandon the Garmin and go with the phone app…¬†