Category Archives: normalcy as bicycling


I tootled down to Common Grounds to give ’em my loan check, adn got “a million thanks” from behind the counter.  Welp, their tally says they’re not even halfway…  but here’s hoping it’s a good investment.

Tootled back and approached the T at Broadway and Washington where a grey-to-white coiffed Asian man was walking with a cooler on a luggage-wheeler, with soil-caked hand trowel — coming back from the community garden, I suspect, about half a mile away.

I deferentially rolled to the right so he could cross first (he was perpendicular, on my right) and he gave me a slight bow… I grinned and looked at him with my best attempt at reverential respect  and he looked at my bike and just said, “Beautiful.” I said “thank you” and we went along our way…
You don’t get that in a car; his opinion matters a lot more than the SUV “get on the sidewalk!” dudes…


… but hey, 32 is still a LOT of degrees.  Yesterday I tossed the rain pants and jacket because I knew the temp would be dropping even if it really wasn’t likely to rain (especially on ME :)), and it did… and I*hadn’t* brought gloves or socks, and I was wearing sandals on the grounds that nekkid feet dry faster.

Glad to say that the extra layers did their job and my hands were a little chilly at the start, but not for long. Took almost as long to get into work this morning – there’s something about a serious headwind that activates an attack gear, and today’s winds were enough to slow me down but not enough to activate that gear — or, I need to check the bike. Today I *did* use the extra seconds at Prospect and Church to charge through after the countdown hit zero.

Last night, I was advised to “watch those country roads!” — because of what happened to Cindy and David. THen the person asked if I knew whether it had been a case of coming over a hill blindly… um, no.   It was a case of a wide open road and not paying attention and killing somebody dead because it wasn’t worth the time to keep eyes on the road. Looking out at the empty bike rack on Mondays where that tandem SHOULD BE creates … a disruption in the Force or something.

Websites that are almost worse than not having a website at all — especially if you’re gonig to manage to send me an email to encourage me to look at yoru products — … the original link was to a cell phone holder for my handlebar, which I *would* be interested in, but if you do as half-a33ed a job on your products as done with the website, then I’m not interested.   It seems to be a website set up from a template… including “chat with us!  Except we’re not available!”

opportunistic chivalry

First, weather,   when this morning’s forecast didn’t have snow in it any more, and it would seem that as I requested, we’re done with the stuff…   I was thinking about my elevated social status riding in when… it started snowing.   Little cold wet kisses, they were.   WHen I called it “pretend snow” because it was only the odd flurry, it got dense enough to show up on the ground a little, but it’s “pretend precip” until the little wet dots run together.

I had barely enough time to come in the back loop, which requires a left turn into the parking lot, and of course all the other people arriving barely on time were getting in, too. Looked like an eternal procession — until that driver at the stop sign sixty yards away where two tributaries of traffic were feeding in (hence, the congestion pocket)  simply paused an extra few seconds, creating a Big Old Gap.  I was absolutely positively sure that it was done on purpose, for my benefit, and pondered how if we set up our culture for low-risk opportunities to have a little personal contact with other humans, we might like each other better. (When the ride’s endorphins wore off, I realized that of course the driver could have been on the cellphone and just not reacting but… naw, of course not…)

I love my lips ;)

…. I’m inclined to agree with those who think Unofficial should be embraced and monetized by more than the bars….  but at least I picked the right day to chug a mess of tea as I went out the door… and then realize ten minutes later that no, I really hadn’t eaten enough to provide a proper buffer, and the last time that had happened (a few years ago), I learned… well… I figured that this was the right day to be nauseous in public ’cause this is “Unofficial Saint Patrick’s Day,” the dreamchild of a bar owner who decided a few years ago to declare a drinking day that wasn’t during spring break to make more money off students.   With relatively little fanfare things got better  though I did get an inquiry about my well-being from a friend coming back from Mass at St. Pat’s.

Hoppily, it only drizzled on me on the ride home, which I did circuitously.  I installed my lips while fixing my tire last night, which flatted on the ride in THursday… I felt rim-on-rubber at the railroad tracks 1.5 miles from work and pedaled pretty hard and got a mile closer… of *course* in the course of tire fixing I emptied my baskets to flip the bike, and had not returned the tubes… tho’ once I took this one off and pumped it up, the nick in it was so manifest that I found the patches and slapped one on, and enjoyed using the ratchet wrench I got for Christmas.I reveled in the relative ease of getting the tire back on the rim.   I ‘booted’ the tire in the general location of where the nick in the tube was;  I didn’t find any glass, but I could feel threads… the tire is pretty worn.   I’m going to have to see if CHampaign Cycle can get me S 6’s… or p’raps the bike coop.

I flipped her back over, smiled at the lips, and took off… and realized that oh, yea, the price of ease of putting back on the rim is that you have to pay close attention to seating.  It wasn’t *too* oval — I only  noticed on the clear stretches — but I’ll hoist it up at the bike coop tomorrow and tend to that.

I finally did the bike rack bus thing, which really is painless (especially for a person who is a “follow the directions” type). Three steps and the directions are right there on the rack. I took a picture of my retroreflective lips at the Terminal waiting to transfer to the Green. Based on reactions there and on the road, I think it’s the right combination of visible and humourous, without being too … too.   Nobody commented on it… riding home tonight *everybody* gave me a ton of room.  Granted, I wasn’t on Bradley, where Wednesday a woman in a van was inclined to shout very indignantly to “Get the F Out of the Way!”  — I’m sure not understanding why I didn’t hug the curb so she could squeeze by me. I’m not even sure there was traffic to the left at that point.

I am feeling frugal so I’m going to try to figure out a way to only replace the faded and worn parts of my flash flag, It is a bit limp and faded… but maybe if I just rotate it and paint the faded part…  I’ll get a new one  for the Schwinn, though…

Of course, everybody might have been giving me a ton of room because they were simply doing as I was — assuming everyone on the road is schnokkered.  Somebody gave me two light honks after passing me — and I wondered if it was somebody I know… and then remembered the Lips… it could have been a “nice lips!” honk.

I am seriously considering keeping an eyeball out for five inch reflectors and making a similar thing happen on the back of the Xtracycle, where there would be less wind drag on the lips.


Hard to be when people are posting long contemplatives on their blogs… I’ve figured out a few fun features with the Garmin – yes, it really does know when I’ve gone ’round campus (I wonder what happens if I am in the other lane, though; how close to exactly the same spot do I need to be?) and counts it as a “lap” – which had taken me 7:25; I’ve done it in under 5 so yes, I was more than sluggish.

Had my automatic smile back this a.m. and tried to race the Brown bus in, after watching the driver basically run the stop sign on Sixth, to the honking dismay of the driver on Sixth who had the right of way.  Hope that the construction eventually gets DONE enough to get through town again.  Wish that bike traffic were even considered when they planned construction (as in, figure out alternatives and put signage out there — bike detour signs).

Wonder if people are, like, *bothered* by the environmental carnage more than before it was a little more visible.

Reporter doing without her car

Crime Reporter is going a month without driving her car 😉 – drop in her blog and say hi!