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Brisk!

Yesterday was I-Hotel Vac day. I was on the 9:50 list, headed out there with oh, 3 minutes to spare but that was wise b/c you waited outside ’til 9:50. The line was nicely spread out but habits took over when they opened the door and people consolidated so people could get in before the door closed… I modeled doin’ that with space as did the couple of folks behind me 😉 Being Creative In friendly Concert-Queue-LikeSituations is part of who I am 😉

Proceeded on through, having filled out another form since the first was in the backpack I left on the ground at work the night before, forgetting to put it on the bike…. sat down and the nurse says “are you here to help me with my math? ” 🙂 Yes, she’s a Parkland grad and yes, she did a great jab job. “Arm will be sore, but the more you use it the better.”

Rode in to Parkland, sleet starting 2 miles out — the weather likes me, and it turned to rain anyway. I bugged out 5:00 sharp promising a student to be safe, and that I had in the past stopped at the bike shop and prevailed upon them to take custody of my bicycle so I could hop the bus for the rest of the trip. Not necessary 🙂 30mph tailwind and 35 degrees but it was snow cascading. Snow stifles drainage so there were some deep, sloppy puddles to plow through but all wet, all right. Stopped for beer as darkness deepened… and getting across Main was a slime slip… the transition is happening… we’ll just walk across 😉

Neighborhood roads (asphalt) hadn’t made that transition (not as shady), but I know my driveway will have and dang it, that driver knows where I live and is hangin’ back ’til I turn into my driveway so I can’t dismount in the middle of the road… I attack andget to the top and do full Old Lady Dismount and lay the bike down — easy ’cause it just slid out, as I would have — and stepped over it. Yes, the backpack was in it 🙂

Figured I’d be on the bus this morning but when I heard 22 degrees I layered up. That sheen had evaporated/sublimated overnight so while anything that had been snow was ice, so driveways were impossible, the roads were fine. I reveled in getting **oxygen** into those cells. Yes, the chain is crunchy, salty. Had a wave at Geoff no doubt riding to the Itty Bitty Bike Shop on the way in. Happily timed the last light b/c the “breeziness” picks up out there and 20 mile headwinds with a crunchy chain is work 😉 In a few weeks I’ll swing it by Itty Bitty…

“Vaccine sore arm” is unique. I completely flashed back to childhood and feeling like A Good Girl because It Was Sore. State numbers still going in the right direction but Champaign County blipped up and we’ve got “the U.K. variant,” so … time for caffeine and the work routine 🙂

Happy little familiar delays

Two days on the bus — if I were really pushing for miles I could have ridden in Monday, bussed home and back and biked home last night but that’s an example of 20/21 hindsight. Another half hour of precip and it would have still been treacherous.

Back on the bike this morning 🙂 27 degrees… First 10 second delay — oops, hadn’t *strapped* the helmet over the hood and buff. Then down to turn left onto Washington, sort of speeding up in case I could just cruise — so the Jeep driver coming from the right slowed further in case I did 😉 and proceeded at an *entirely* appropriate, abnormally stately speed (prob’ly under 30 mph). Driver behind them was turning left on my little road and paused and waited for me to go … oh, slow a bit, is that nasty shards of glass? …. oh, under *every* tree, as in, it’s shattered frozen rain accumulations from those branches. It’s really pretty once I know it’s going to melt.

Didn’t see the SHCOE(?) bicycle and I wasn’t running *that* late so she might still be on bus or alternative; I did see & greet the other European couple on Bianchi and Cannondale who go to Randolph in downtown Champaign. (I’ve chatted with them and heard accents; the SHCOE rider just looks European and… what’s a SHCOE??? Still no clue…) They passed me but I caught up at every intersection 😉 and we all cleared the Terminal before the 13-bus mass departure at 7:40… then to Randolph and University stoplight where I recognized the white sedan second in queue, so I slowed through the intersection ’cause he turns into first driveway at the bank for another familiar dance.

The Orange bus went by so I was behind it 2 miles before it passes me if I’m Really On Time, but just happy cruising the rest of the way — tho’ I confess I was especially careful because it had Been So Boring. Lots and lots of pretty ice shards, the whole way. Got to wave at the 9B bus that I rode past two mornings as it pulled out of the college (if I’m Really On Time it passes me on the last stretch on Bradley going in). I hope/wish things would get better faster so that the folks who used to ride it out to work … were working again. On the other hand, I don’t want to be on a bus with people all close. They’re *not* all well masked; yesterday a.m. one was having a defensive phone call, mask down, for several minutes before getting of f the bus… and 90% compliance might work, or it might not…

Numbers weren’t *as good* yesterday — positivity up in teh 5 percent and it had tucked down under 4 for the first time in forever MOnday with *fewer than 3000 cases* (but I recall when we were “at a plateau” with 2000 and then BOING!!! up to 9000 K on one day…. please, exponents, let’s stay on the flat part…. ).

So good to be *riding* 🙂

Good clothing

Last night’s commute was in a light drizzle, prob’ly about 40 degrees… and I added a little extra at the end because it was so pleasant on the quiet streets… not too much traffic… I declare “PERTEX” to do as well as that other product for ‘breatheable winter wear.” I just had sweats over pants over base layer on the bottom — while the sweats were pretty wet, it wasn’t raining *hard* enough to penetrate … my sneakers let my socks get a little damp, too, but w/ the coat the core was warm enough (and 40 degrees isn’t cold if you’re not wet).

So this morning… I know, “you can’t plow a forecast, honey,” but the forecast is for sudden, intense snow squalls whenever, wherever. Yes, the weather likes me so prob’ly I’d have been fine but I don’t like to test that relationship so … I went out to bus stop, realized I had no gloves and that Would Not Look Right so I ducked back in, grabbed them, and confirmed that yes, I can make the bus even if I am not out the door ’til it’s on the street. It really is all of 20 steps away if they’re big steps and I cut across everything 😉

I realized running meant I had to breathe harder in a bus than I liked but not for long, I’m in reasonable shape 😉 4-5 people on the bus at a time…. transferred and there were 3 on the Brown. Realized I should have waited around outside rather than getting on and sitting in there ’til the Mass Departure at 7:40. The crew of folks that goes out to work on it… my guess is they’re still not working 😦 Maybe if we get to “Tier 2” but …. oy, it’s risky. Prob’ly not ’til they/ we can all get vaccinated.

Noted that person w/ question about route asked from outside then when confirmed this was the right bus walked on back to the back door to get in, and that people did *not* sit in any of the front section of seats. You’d think they wanted the bus drivers to stay healthy or something 😉 I am wondering how sustainable the system is — nobody has to pay to ride. One person getting on Green near campus showed their ID — bus fare is built into the University fees. Dudes, if that’s enough to keep the system going it would be awesome; it would be cool to have a system tho’ so folks like me could support them with our annual pass ($84 – for the year, people) … okay, I want the plastic one b/c I’ve seen students panicking as their batteries were failing and the phone was their bus pass (’til they figured out our library has chargers)… but there is an app 😉

And I also want to find some nerds to test putting little learning stations on the buses 😉 Imagine a town where ***everybody*** knew their times tables and this and that.

And now… to work 😉

helmet?

IT’s bright orange, with reindeer antlers but — no doubt because of my *success* in not Getting Home FromWork And Plopping In Front Of the Screen — couldn’t find it this a.m.; found under a quilt…

So I was riding 15 minutes late — totally different commute. Stopped at four-way for bus to go … then accelerated through the next one b/c the Green bus was *almost* there 😉 Just pretend it’s a roundabout 😉

Will try to get a pic when I’m *not* late of Krewe de Main, the big ol’ house decorated for Mardi Gras (more so than they do for that other holiday). Planted earworm with sign bearing “and they all masked for you!” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aSZzsWRx_IE

It’s lots livelier that 15 minutes later. I managed to be after the 13-bus 7:40 departure from terminal … mostly 3 times as much pedestrian traffic — I don’t think more cars, tho’ I was more careful realizing “oh, they don’t now I’m turning left up here …” and itwas also very crunchy. Brian Moline said it was 33 degrees but cars were iced up and only most folks really cleared ’em off. One of those “I never have to do that to my bicycle” things 😉

… and I got my miles logged. Not riding Jan. 1 (freezing rain and absolutely no need to go out there… BYOOTIFUL!!! to look at though1!) was discouraging but.. past seasons there have been weeks of no riding and this a.m. got me over 100 ’cause I did a lunch lap yesterday.

Covid numbers not too horrible here — hospitals have more than 20% beds available — but Students Come Back to the U. the 25th… and bound to bring the fast-spread strain… oh, and the mayor of Thomasboro was a proud, jovial attendee at January 6 “demonstration.”

‘nother nice one

Approaching the Big Construction Job I heard the truck beeping and did the ridearound and …. it was a tanker backing up to make a 3 point turnaround in a big driveway… and they waited in the driveway ’til I crossed north of them. (When I say “I felt seen” it’s more literal than most folks mean it these days ;)) SCHOE hadn’t crossed my path yet and we had smiles today. Tailwind helped me get to waveat the 9B which passed me on its way to the terminal, and then on the last little stretch of Broadway. Alas, I didn’t get here in time to not get busted for leaving the door unlocked but more importantly, my keys are now back in my hands. (The same admin assistant to whom I’d confessed leaving things unlocked saw them on her desk…)
Yes. I did go ahead and get the heart rate up a little, breathe deeply, YES another day HEALTHY. Hoping hoping hoping this continues and relishing every day. Just under 7000 cases inthe state yesterday … 7.3 % positivity or something like that… but ** ten ** people from the county admitted to hospital w/ COVID yesterday, as in doubling the 10 who were already there. I wish people gossipped more and we could know whether they were sprinkled throughout or that the Bloovits had a big party last week and….

Hairy, not hoary today

So the lady on the SHCOE (that’s what it looks like as it cruises by me; resembles Schwinn cruisers of the 70’s but is prob’ly European) didn’t look happy today as she went by on Matthews where we have to duck around the construction (yes, the U. claims “bike friendly” status with bike routes that are actually not ever going to be usable within the status timeframe because of major construction but they won’t give a “Ruby” status for lip service)… and maybe that’s because she’d also had to dodge around the total blockage for the second part of that workaround. The first guys have been good with leaving the sidewalk open but this was just Your Morning Slam Door In Your Face.

That big truck in the middle pic? As I put my camera away, the person therein felt compelled to open the door and take my picture. I gave a friendly wave and smile and went on my way, leaping to the Pollyanna conclusion that s/he (looked like a woman) might have seen SHCOE go by, then me, and thought fit to record the issue, too… or just thought I should know she was recording my impertinence…. or I looked pathetic…

At any rate, I still managed to get past the terminal just as the guy was coming out to get the Big Mass Departure rolling . And it’s still good to be riding ;P

Happy Hoary New Year!

First day back on campus so I rode indespite dense fog warning and ice and snow and 21 degrees. Spoiler alert: it went fine. The snow was from early Jan. 3 (yesterday), the ice from Jan. 1 — so the snow has stuck to *everything* and it’s beautiful. I decided that since it wasn’t too foggy in Urbana I’d take a chance…and the puddle at the end of my driveway suggested roads had been treated, or I was effecting some minor miracle. I’d managed to do enough extra prancing and dancing before leaving so I didn’t have the “five minutes of cold hands” (21 degrees doesn’t require much)…

… White street, midtown, the pavement was sort of whitish — and itgot misty. At 21 degrees I duly noted it would be “freezing mist” so I rather fervently hoped it wouldn’t get any thicker and considered parking the bike at the terminal… but it wasn’t happening there so I pressed on. IT was “sticks to the grass, melts on pavement” snow even out in West Champaign, and happily, approaching Mattis I could see the traffic light on Country Fair, another quarter mile away, so … there was at least quarter mile visibility 😉 The fog may have “locked down” another mile out where there’d be all-warm-snow-stuck-to-grass to provide the moisture and I did have my blinkies going. Country Fair was just nice … I suspect they cleared it including the bike lane because (okay, not quite perfect nice) there was a little pile of snow in a spot that took slowingdown to ease out into traffic…

Yes, I had to take the road on busy Bradley — the sidewalk goes over a creek in a spot and that was snow (and ice underneath) covered. Big ol’ truck nicely went ’round and turned into Parkland campus. There, the “mist” had accumulated on the back parking lot — and That Big Truck had left enough room for me to get ’round to it from the access alley… but it was hoary and crunchy mist, not the stuff of freezing rain so I left satisfying tracks, parked the bike, donned the mask, and went to my desk where there’s NOBODY HERE (except the student worker) but there was coffee across the way and office doors open so … things are slowly waking up!

46 degrees :)

Lunch laps — yes, good for two. I’m supposed to give a “lightning talk” Tuesday a.m. so I’m giving it to the fields… and I relatively powered in this a.m. so the thighs feel it. Methinks it’s “Must prove I am healthy!” and “if I’m in better shape the virus won’t get me,” though that’s not supported by reality…. it was approaching freezing but the RR tracks and where sidewalk goes over creek were very crunchfrosted. I left a path 🙂 Here at work, Just a couple students and 2 zoomers.

… those Campus Communication Group truck drivers continue to be just that inkling nicer than they have to be. That little hesitation of headlights behind me says “oh, it’s one of them about to pass” 😉 The trucks are big but the bike lane is wide…

I’m failing utterly at figuring out the brand of bicycle of my morning pathcrosser. It looks like SCHOE — and the one time I got close to her, she looked definitely European — but I’m not sure and “smart”searches insist on finding me shoes. If I knew the country I could change languages…

Now to do that focusing thing. I have several Pots on the Fire…. that I need to figure out “how to plate”

Jacket

Water beaded very nicely on my new coat. I think it is a valid Gore-Tex competitor. I overslept but a big old plastic bag found its way to me (I’ve finally gotten into better storage habits — there’s a “camping stuff closet”), so not too much delay.

Yesterday was interesting in that car windows on the street were heavily laden with dew. On Church in Champaign a car went by that had clearly been heavily crusted with ice. Another mile west and cars in the shade had a light curst, and out on Bradley the “shadowfrost” phenom was in all its beauty in the grass where there are some trees. Where the sun hit, there was no frost, but white glistening in the outline of the trees’ shapes beneath them.

I took that as a reminder for this morning b/c our forecast was for precip “mix” but it was a full 40 degrees so I was dodging earthworms, not ice patches. I need to inquire about re-upping the bus pass, tho’ they’re still not making anybody pay.

Almost Holidays

… and cases were down today, but I don’t see how that’s going to last. I know too many people sincerely believing they’re “being safe” and they’re not, and we’re still getting enough more cases to make spreading faster happen too.

Ran late enough to be after the mass bus departure (which is better than during — 13 of them leave at 7:41 ish) so I saw my person all the way in Urbana. I still haven’t been able to make out the kind of bicycle she’s on… it’s sort of 1960’s Schwinn style and may be that old but it says something else. Something with an S and OE and a C in there somewhere/?

Vanity plate of the week passing me on Country Fair: BED BY 10 . Hmmm.

“Bike friendly” moments — the Pink (yes, prob’ly Sunshine driving it) behind me, turning left on Bradley, and knowing I was cutting wide so the bus could just turn… and the 3 cars all taking the left lane at the Prospect light so I could just roll up by them and cruise through as it turned green.

Last Friday I had a first! A car approached w/o lights on and I successfully covered mine w/ hand to “blink” and they turned their lights on. This is first time I’ve done it with the generator light on the Red Bike; on the Tank it’s down lower so I can’t blink as well. It even happened again, tho’ that was w/ car pulling out so more likely to be correlation w/o causation.

Such excitement 🙂 🙂