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New gadgets! Knowing neighbors!

Whereas, the Garmin I had for some years and washed… was not dependable. It liked to spontaneously shut down at a certain spot in my commute and then not fire up again. I shopped and picked a Garmin 530 — there was a different model for “adventures” that was a teeny bit cheaper, not having as many weird settings for training, but it wasn’t in stock anywhere.

I was ecstatic to discover that this model DOES NOT have a touch screen. Granted… then I wasn’t because I couldn’t just hold my finger on things to change the settings. However, my hands have learned where the buttons are, sort of, and that’s ‘way better than having to look down at the thing to do anything, and the stupid thing doesn’t change settings when it’s off the bike… so I took the time to make a “road” and a “commute” profile — each with miles ridden and Time of Day in the big bold frame, respectively and sunset, direction headed, speed, average speed and 2 other things in other boxes.

I also sprang for, based on other people really really liking it, the Varia radar rear light. I didn’t have it figured out by the time I did the Grand Illinois Bike Tour (shh… there was the losing of the Garmin and purchasing another… then finding of the first under the desk… ) And, okay, my novelist’s imagination thinks a taillight with radar is just cool. Hard to justify camera/light option since I have 2 cameras already that I don’t use — except … if it were built into the taillight then I wouldn’t have to figure out mounting and stuff.

Oh, did I mention mounting? Yes, after GIBT I perused the manual and successfully “paired” the originally purchased 530 with the radar. Put the newer one outside. (I had gotten the original with a protective sleeve — that’s how I knew the one I groped at under the desk was the original.) I’d dumped **all** the pieces parts into the same box so … had to find videos and manuals online to discern which THINGS were for the radar. Carefully looked at pictures, struggled mightily to discern that okay, I’m not sure the “pads” in the installation videos … were even in my box but … I thought I was ready and went out to, OH, THE ACTUAL BICYCLE with an Xtracycle deck and a huge crate behind the seat post. Hello?

So I snapped a pic and posted to the cycling group in FB.

The first reply was — a neighbor, from whom I’d purchased masks in Early Covid slipping dollars in an envelope in her door and getting the masks from between screen door and hard door because… COVID. I should swing by! …. cut to the chase, I summoned my social skills, took a deep breath and — oh, actually, we’d done stuff at bike project togehter. And she brought stuff outside to the place she loves to dohis stuff at (because COVID, yes, I had put a mask on but yes, doing it all outside was so much more consistent with everything!)… and we fashioned a pipe to be a fake seatpost in back of the milk crate and voila πŸ™‚

… and … it is nice. It does its alert thing yes, before I know there’s a car behind me. And I’ve swapped numbers with a neighbor πŸ™‚


The Country Fair Drive thing happened again today: a driver coming out of the parking lot stopped a full car length before the intersection to wait for me to go by. It’s the antithesis of the “be as efficient as you can” and poise to pounce…

Then I”m approaching fourth street and a bus goes by right before the light and there isn’t quite enough room to clear me, but I hang out at the back end of the bus. Car behind me leaves half a car length reminding me of the Country Fair phenom — so I eased forward … and a guy behind him peeled around all of us and then peeled around and passed the bus. CR 88966. Thing is, the other folks don’t matter if that one kills you. Very much like DC12113 who hollered at me to get my donkey off the road — when the fellow who could swing into the right turn lane and get on the interstate exchange had given me a thumbs up, another car had proceeded behind him and… somebody further up in the queue had us all waiting an extra few seconds, but I’m sure that shouter thought I was the delay.

Used up a mess of karma today. Realized I had figured out Auto Zone was accessible on the way home, so paused to figure out exactly where it was… about half a mile away? Rode there, and oh, I’d left purse … on the sidewalk. Peeled back — man coming up on bike had not seen anything… but he was in the road. I saw… my raincoat; hadn’t realized I’d lost that. Bag not there. But … oh, bag and Pansy jacket further up. Whew. Whew. I decided YES I would go back to autozone anyway because I’d saved *something* …. but hwen I went in and said I was looking for a genius… then “the portable jump starters” and got a smile “I’m no genius” (“You never know your hidden strengths!” yea, I’m a teacher… I’d also overheard parking lot convo and they’re good people…)

But the internet was right — the only ones they had were the uber powerful top of the line and this guy made it clear that nope, nobody should buy them πŸ˜› So I didn’t! He said interstate b attery had good models for good prices… it was at the other autozone I think where they recommended I go to a different store for a maintainer when I had the car I never drove (which was when I saw the Genius thingies…)

Still haven’t found my Garmin… replacement shoudl arrive Friday or THursday (I go to campground Saturday). I wanted the USB power bank with jumper cable ends to have handy coming back to cars in a parking lot for a week. I’ve wanted one since I saw ’em…. but don’t want ’em $230 worth πŸ˜›
Tent did arrive. It’s a 2-person tho’ I’d considered goin’ bigger as a lot of people do. It’ll be nice to have a fresh tent πŸ˜‰

gettin’ odd

Just to … weird me out… on the bike commute in, in a half mile of my path I was passed by vanity tag USMC, a van with Urbana Police stickers , and a guy opened his window to say “you go girl!” as he went by with rear stickers festoonedΒ with flags wtih blue lines… and then a Champaign County police car. There was also parking enforcemtn but that was at least going the other direction… were they heading to have a little coffee klatch to plan virtual attendance of the NRA bash, maybe that they’d scheduled before yesterday’s mass murder of school kids with assault rifle?

But hey, that’s my morning “novel plot based on the commute,” right? IT was sort of raining… keeping an eye on the radar for the afternoon and might bug out early.


Okay, something notable happened yesterday… I remembered it a time or two πŸ˜› Ah!!! (Train of thought: was it a car? a bus?)

I didn’t beat the 9B in but it was comin’ out as I went in… the driver gave me honk and wave — and had “STRUGGLE BUS” up on the light display. I think the fine print said somethign about finals πŸ˜‰

And note to self: do not have the beer before purchasing things online. Yes, I’d already decided to invest in a new Garmin *and* the radar light, but it was entirely too annoying when there wasn’t an add to cart option and it took 45 minutes to figure out it was prob’ly just out of stock. So I got a different model (prob’ly should have perused internet more than I did to see if one was lurking somewhere, and/or checked my bike shop…)
It’s warm out there.

Spring ;)

dark clouds

All of 3.3 miles yesterday. I might could have done the commute — it had stopped raining by the time I got home on the bus. It would have been wet.

Today we’re supposed to get wind but I’m hoping that, like yeseterday, it’s Less Than Predicted. It was fine coming in. The Xtracycle is definitely My Favorite Bicycle In The World. I should measure it like we did whenI bought the Transport (discerning that yes, w/ different handlebars, it had same dimensions as the Giant w/ Xtra). The 9B passed me on White before the terminal — but I made really good time b/c the lights were timed so I could ride sorta hard and get through… so I totally beat it to campus πŸ˜‰ Still pondering the “community caregiver” role that both the 9B driver and the Green goin-home take on, and the idea that people who are looking for a “job” but have a calling for that sort of thing… it’s not in the job description and ya you betcha I’m sure it wouldn’t apply to every transit system. Why not? What other Parts of the Community can we build that stuff into (so libraries don’t have to do it all!!!) What other parts of the community *should we create*? (And in the meantime, huge anguish that cops in New York are doing things like taking away people’s workout stuff from Garvey Park — *tearing down* and wreaking havoc on places for community to build).

I’ll figure that out at lunch πŸ˜‰ In the meantime, cases went up over 40% each of the last 2 weeks for the state… might just double from last week to this one in the county. How ’bout keepin’ the masks on?


So, I am 38 miles from 1000 for the year, so last nigiht I went to “” and … bumped the goal from 3/31 to 4/3. It’s easier to take a day off and hop the bus if I’ve been riding πŸ˜‰ So it was the goal that got me out in the sub-40 days for those 10 mile specials, but it’s the 10 mile specials that have me feeling balanced enough to see Just So Many Thunderstorms on the forecast and hop the bus even tho’ the first squall had passed. (I suspect there was some underlying, irrational “I am NOT a slave to my goals” thinking too πŸ˜› ) I’ve ridden enough so a day off won’t drive me nuts… yes I will *entertain* trying to get 38 miles in by tomorrow night but…
The Community Shepherd 9B driver commended me for being sensible… and then … we went by Stratton Elementary and “traffic here is always… oh, no, somebody’s fallen out!” and … it was the crossing guard.
Twitter WCIA news informs us that yes, a crossing guard was involved in the crash this morning and he was treated for minor injuries at the scene; that a driver failed to obey him. Makes me wonder how many people called the news station asking, and I appreciate them posting!
Next week is “opening pizza partee” and board meeting and right after that I visit family to do Christmas. I don’t like the whole idea of doing pizza at a restaurant with my face all open and then seeing immunocompromised folks, tho’ the majority of our county cases are folks ages 20-30 (252 cases in past two weeks — grand total of everybody else around 200) and… that’s not who is in the bike club. But yea, last week cases tripled and this week it looks like we’re doubling last week. Yes, reminds me of … the surge in December that made us decide to have Christmas on Palm Sunday weekend. I think I’ll avail myself of a test…
Did I mention I ordered up a blender? Hasn’t arrived….


A twitter post reminded me of an article about “Bicycling as a Lenten Practice” from a long time ago, that isn’t online any more… yes, it was about how really, REALLY we need to not support the fossil fuel industry and warmongering countries. This article refers to … probably was that 2004 talk…

Interesting that I wrote that then, and today was also a Yell At Drivers day. I started down the street, with windy flurries and everything wet and there having been storms in the night, and thought to myself: “Drivers aren’t going to be good today. It’s not bad enough for them to just slow down and be really careful and be in high alert, and it is bad enough for them just not to expect … a bicycle…” and yup, it happened (TL:DR, no harm no foul). First just before the Terminal, this person perpendicular pulls around a Denali and I holler a “hello” because it sure looks like they were going to just Keep Going…. and the second time there was no doubt, on Church westbound and at one of the perpendiculars where they have to cut over a bit to keep going, and … they just didn’t see me. I moved far left, and they jumped and stopped, and raised a hand in apology… I hollered something like “PLEASE WAKE UP! TRY NOT TO KILL ANYBODY TODAY!!” and went along my way….
— and I can go months without that happening.
… yea, gas prices are up. I do appreciate people posting that this seems a minimal trauma compared to bombs and if this is the sacrifice to support those folks… wondering where the leadership is to say “hey, let’s cut back on this gasoline stuff!!!”

Pickup picture

Ride Illinois posted an article from Streetsblog about big trucks, with some pictures at the show. Welp, I think this pic from Robin Sholz in this article in the News-Gazette is even more telling. That’s the coroner there.

This is also a stretch of road where people regularly get hit, nearly hit and killed. This is second death in very recent history. When we brought our concerns to the city, people got very defensive and didn’t appreciate that we were, in their perspective, accusing them of killing people.

(From News Gazette in Champaign-Urbana.)

I wish they would get over their feelings and do something… but hey, a few more people get killed and we’ll be eligible for grants!!!

Anyway, another bus ride in today — and I salted my walk and watched for Imaginary Bus that shows up on my app as coming at 7:02 … it doesn’t πŸ˜‰

dance missteps ;)

8 degrees this a.m. but I found the warm socks and it’s going to be 0 with an official “wind chill advisory” tomorrow, AND … I really wanted to take the Xtra on a Real Commute. The gears weren’t even frozen — they just need a different “click” than previous shifters. (The derailleurs are new-to-me in the rebuild — supply chain, but I’m all for me finishing up what you graduated from, and I *do* like the triple better than the “compact double” on the Transport.) And oh, I might toss the inner layer of this outfit in the wash and just wear it again tomorrow because I think it’ll be fine, tho’ I should figure out a way to cover my delicate cheeks (I have *not* found balaclavas of days of yore, and I don’t have the 3D skills to properly use the BUFF, tho’ I do the best I can).

So I’m approaching Wright and I see the 9B to my left and it’s going to go my route on White once I cross so… I pause so they don’t have to pass me…. and the cars from the right are going by and I see the bus driver figure out and signal to turn… except that last nice southbound decides to stop for me ;P So… I went through anyway and just ducked over …. Sometimes they don’t read the signs as well as others πŸ˜‰

…. but … several days later update ;0 last night there were several “roundabout” dances where YES, the driver saw me lean over, stick my foot out… so they proceeded (we arrived about the same time), and then I could roll through …
This lovely Friday a.m. — rain doesn’t usually get me on the bus and yes, I’m wondering if it would have been anther day where once I was rolling, I was loving it… but it could have been a day that I got wet and cold. I have ancient memories of that happening but they’re lasting memories πŸ˜‰ The snow means roads are smaller, and it’s windy, too. That, and I heard the bikes all the way from the garage saying “WHEW!!!” when I got on the bus, with all the Parts That Would Get Salty Water Up In Them smiling.

the dance :)

yes, the bike lane’s a mess sometimes on Randolph approaching University. Queue was all the way back to Logan/Clark (whatever it is when it meets Randolph), and I eased into the bike lane, saw cars WITH SIGNALS, yay!!! and crawled along and the one paused, then figured out I was crawling, and proceeded… and I sped up, and the car a bit back slowed, I pointed, and all proceeded happily.

Prospect, oh!!! I was a little behind…. BUT the car comin’ behind me slowed down and then went around… slowly enough for me to make the light πŸ™‚ At Mattis, the driver behind me passed carefully and LOOKED OVER πŸ˜‰ …. I noticed he didn’t turn on the red at Country Fair… new driver? And Country Fair… I love the drivers who are turning onto it and are 3 quarters of a car length back because … it’s midwest, they’re patiently waiting.

Wondering about closer crannies to park the bike for getting to library but… I like my spot.

275 miles for this January, not counting today. Don’t know if the extra tenth or three I stick on to errands will really help me get to the 1000 miles by 4/1 lovetoride goal;) Prob’ly won’t get to 300 but I might sneak out at lunch; it’ll be above freezing. Speculating that case numbers are goin gdown because a few million people are snowed in and a: not going out and getting tested — OR getting COVID.

Perused the Xtracycle site. Hmmm. I wonder if my Jackery generator with its solar panel… could charge the e-bike? Oh, I did charge one on that camping ride…. don’t think it got all the way but that was timing. So, I could rationalize getting an e-bike and rolling it on solar power…