Category Archives: CUMTD

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!

Was it good for you?

This morning a significant part of me did not want to get on the bike.  Sure, the ride in was going to be nice; it was 25 degrees.  Forecast, though, for “flurries.”  Same forecast as for Saturday when we got five inches. Low tonight: 6.

I steeled myself.  My option when confronted with challenge is to respect the voice that says “you can’t” or “you shouldn’t,” and thus create an option, so that it can’t win when it really shouldn’t. I decided I’d ride the Gazelle in… and if it got ugly, I’d take the folding bike home on the bus so that there wouldn’t be two bikes out at school. Then I could bus in in that frigid morning and take the bike home whne I was good and ready.

We did get a few flurries, but honest “flurries,” nothing sticking, not even a dusting.  The roads are really clear, at least my southern route home (some of campus was rock solid ice sheets – rumply as an unmade bed, but solid ice –  this morning and I walked ’em, foolish as that is with the studs giving better traction than shoes, but as I said, I respect my avoidances ’cause hten they’d want me not to ride at all… in fact, it wasn’t that slippery to walk on.  THerefore, it wasn’t too slippery to stud on… but it’s my commute and I’ll whine if I want to — *and* I left early so I got to work on time anyway.)

So I had enough layers on to make singing tough (“your voices sound constricted!”  – um, oy, yea, there’s an awful lot of elastic around my middle…)  but it was 19 at the start and 20 at the end at leaving time, so I donned my lights and took the long way around, because the tailwind was strong enough to chill me if I didn’t warm up riding reasonably briskly first, and with only one gear that’s hard. (It’s gear 3 — pretty easy — of the 7.)

As I left, the Green bus approached.   I thought about racing it and sprinted parts of JOhn,  but realized that I’d have to go a different route to see if it passed me, and I”m not inclined to travel Vine, so I cruised after that.

Another reason for my reluctance to ride was that I’ve been getting by with just a red blinky on the back of my backpack, and yes, it’s different. I found a string of baby white LEDs and just clumped them back there, and added two of those finger lights.  Yes, cars gave me more time and space. Made me envision a poster:   “Legal’ vs. “good.’

Then I turned onto State STreet and grasped what the bus driver was referring to as a citizen was walkijng on the bike lane towards me.  It was mostly plowed, but the parking spaces werent, so it was actually a reasonably good sidewalk, with a few feet between the cars and the regular traffic lane.

I envisioned a second set of posters that I”m going to suggest, though it may be a solution in search of a problem.  Two pictuers on it:  one wiht a bike out in the car lane, and a driver pissed… the second zooming in on a legitimate reason for the bike to be there.  Specifically, makin’ a left turn, glass or potholes, or whatever.  Caption:   “If I’m not in the bike lane, there’s a reason.”  Then it occurred to me that the same could be done for bike paths, with a fast rider and then zooming in on the cute little children playing on the path, or that family with the kids with training wheels.

And yes, I was comfortably warm, head to toe.  It felt really good. TOmorrow’s six degrees? I’m up for it.

Friday on teh bus

I almost brought my helmet so’s I could ride the folder home, but I’m a wuss. I want to ride home with the studs before I head down those roads without them. The driver, on the way in, was expressing thoughts sympathetic to non-single-occupancy-vehicle travelers and the need to get the big islands of snow out of teh way.  I wonder if those big islands are where they put snow in those ever so special parts of downtown urbana where you *could* get across a street without the plowclamber process.

New phone almost matches my gadget carrying case and fits nicely, tho’ I do prefer the “flip” phone with a cover.  The roads are amazingly better than yesterday. Tryin’ to motivate myself to get on the trainer tonight and start racking up real miles.

Well, I’ll be plowed :)

my driveway plowed anonymously

When I peeked out the back door, there were rabbit tracks.  I didn’t hear the rabbit knocking, but it might have been trying to tell me there was somebody sneaking down my driveway with a snowblower. Makes me glad I’d done the right thing and shoveled in front of my house (tho’ I didn’t get to the rest of the stretch to the street).

The City of Urbana might consider hiring that person…  neither Gary nor I had a place to park for the Bike/Ped Advisory Commission meeting Tuesday.

Unplowed bike racks

The United Methodist Church did a much better job… and see??? I am not the only skirt-guarded cyclist out there 🙂

But… every once in a while I have to do something so people think I have a shred of sanity, and besides, I really, really, really don’t like riding on bad roads. (Today they were not at all bad. Some slush – but it was a toasty 20 degrees so salt worked well and I’d seen ’em salting wildly last night.)  I’d rather ride on a slightly crowded bus 🙂

crowded bus

The driver implored folks to get properly back so we all could fit, so’s he could still see to avoid those engineering students, cyclists and snowmen 😛

Bus Pass, Bus Pass

I really could have ridden in today.   Last year I probably would have,  since the Automatic Pilot that got me dressed and helmeted Tuesday would have been more automatic, and the snow is soft and light and it’s reasonably warm.   I wouldn’t be *happy* and it wouldn’t be fun… and that’s why I took the bus.   Tuesday I looked at the roads and they said “Oh, go ahead and ride me, it won’t be *that* bad!”  and today they *tried* to say that but they were less convincing than the bus pass that said “Go ahead and use me, you won’t get *that* fat!”

So.   I shall start a training regimen… tomorrow.  Other good thing about the bus pass is I can do things like CCB meetings downtown, tho’ I might go home and ride there. We’ll see which voice takes over 🙂