Category Archives: Uncategorized

End of season ride!

I started w/ a title typo saing “endo of season ride” but HAPPILY no, there were no people going over handlebars.

In hindsight, the “free form bike culture” that evolves when disorganized people are “running” things … worked out ok. One person didn’t find us for the ride at all. There are two parking lots at the park we started from and lesson one: be redundant and repeat all those kinds of details (whichlot you’re starting in) every chance. HOwever, all but that one got over to us so I’m thinking maybe they were a bit late to the wrong lot?

Now, there was a long loop and an out and back, and the long loop was turning right away and I was leading the out and back and … ONE PERSON rode that with me. I was certain that at least half a dozen folks had wanted to do out and back. Well, one realized she wasn’t going fast enough and … found her way to HOmer Lake any way, but didn’t get back to the snacks, but got back riding in the wind ’til she wearied and picked up a ride the rest of the way from a farmer checking his fields.
Three others went out and did their own 16 mile route and went to Riggs Brewery, then joined us for the picnic.
The rest did the loop, some duly noting it was (about 4 miles) longer than advertised — but with the “okay, pushed a little further!” attitude, not “YOU SAID IT WAS 32 MILES!!!” (a cultural thing ;))

It was awesome for getting rid of most of the leftover snacks from the August 21 ride. The folks I asked to do things like grill felt good about it — as in “don’t ask me to be on the board, but that was cool.” And “pot luck syndrome” happened. Foods just appeared on the table. I LOVE our diverse community because nom nom there were ALL KINDS of things from hummus to Not Americanized Potato Salad so it was potatoes and radishes and … not a bunch of fillers and sweetners… but there was also barbecue beans, all sweet and american.
And between yesterday and today I got in oh, over 70 miles if you count goin’ to church and the store. And my fraying tire did not go flat. We speculated that it might be sunrot, not wear… it feels good to have for the first time in a decade a “worn out like SUe JOnes wears things out” tire even if it’s not all *worn* out.

only at night ;)

It was misty, foggy, riding-through-cloud weather so I turned the helmet on. I wondered whether drivers would be acting as they have at night — nope! That Freedom truck flat out cruised through the red light at Vine and Illinois (no real danger; I was the only other creature and … I could see he wasn’t stopping, but I informed him it was a red light and he should have stopped in my 10-year-old voice…)

On Country Fair a car pulled up on my left with right signal on… didn’t righthook or anything but drivers have been *hanging back* (as in five car lengths) withthe helmet on at night.

So it’s not the unicorn 😉

Third day that I saw a school bus ahead of me on Main Street as I turned; first time a kiddo got on and an adult went back in the house. Past two times… it was stopped there but then, as I got closer, the bus pulled away. Hey, kiddo, GET TO SCHOOL, okay? (and c’mon, can’t y’all be texting each other about this?)

Big concrete cylindrical pipey things at Main and Lincoln as continued Signs Of Progress.

Folks still masking even outside except for the occasional, usually young white male, exception or the jogger. Of course many of them are about to get on a bus but it’s not “I’ll stick this thing on at the last minute…” Must have been four or five folks where I’d take the bus from home. I wonder if the cuts in service mean that one’s more crowded or if there are just that many people this season. I hope they can get more drivers! They announced two hydrogen-powered buses yesterday.

And the Covid numbers from yesterday were oh, about 5 fewer cases in the state than last week… a bit under 3000. I keep hoping we’ll get to where it’s few enough contagious folks so that they don’t contact unvaccinated but this thing is so contagious… and deaths just keep happening, enough so that I wonder if it’s significantly more deadly.

But! Time to tackle work stuff!

That helmet

…. It happened yesterday and today. I had the lights on on the helmet — not the weird fade flash, just solid. Yesterday a driver just . stayed. stopped. at the fourway. Even for a bit *after* I’d turned.

Today I’m waiting to cross Washington, which is kinda busy and has right of way and a driver just stopped like half a block back. I thought, “turning in?” but once I was across he proceeded. I’m wondering just what the deal is…. I didn’t have my blue wheel blinkie going either (people do kinda pause at blue…) Now, my helmet has a blue-flavored rainbow unicorn, too, but I’m pretty sure it was too dark to see it…

Product Image of color Sky

Missing Pink

Okay, yes, it seems I’m having to say “it’s called a stop sign!” more often but… going West on Washington the car comin’ up behind slowed and put his right blinker on so that I could ease into the middle lane in front of him ’cause I go straight. To be At My Place At 8:00 means adding about 4 minutes because I have to walk through more of inside buildings to get there… so my “how late am I?” measures need to be shifted. I see my SIMCOE rider still, west of Wright (instead of on Main in Urbana). The Orange…. doesn’t go by me 😛 Used to be I knew I was good if I saw the Pink coming down Country Fair but that route is on the “oops, we don’t have enough drivers!” list so… nope!

The new construction has highly reflective surfaces that are blinding to the west bound folks in the a.m. — it’s bike path not cars so of course they didn’t consider it. At night it has a more interesting effect: it’s got red and blue lights and if there’s a car parked under the lights, they reflect off the windshield so it seems there’s police presence.

The runaway COVID train is slowly slowly slowing down…. just hope it doesn’t find a metaphorical hill to pick up speed….

Statistically significant?

I’m pretty sure I’ve had to do the “It’s called a stop sign” thing about 10 times as often as usual this past month. OK last night it was somethign like “you should really check before you turn into a place.” End of chorus and I was behind Toby’s (I think) big ol’ white SUV leaving the parking lot and this guy just pulls in as if I weren’t there and yes, stops before he hits me but the whole stay on your side of the road thing wasn’t happening. He just … stops there, so I ease forward a bit… his window’s down, I say whatever I said and … no response. He just … stares. Two cars behind him, I don’t know what they’re doing so I’m disinclined to pull out into traffic, eh? Finally he eases on in, and one of the 2 cars behind pulls in too, the other goes straight…..

….I really don’t think any of my bling was blinding — the headlight wasn’t on the brightest setting, the spoke light is a blue blinkie, the string of tiny LEDs on the basket are… tiny!!! and the red and orange and white on the helmet are none too bright. Yes, the tail lights are brilliant so he probably could see them blinking but it was behind me, as was the glowing orange plastic trick or treat bucket. Did I say I’d put a *lot* of lights on? I hadn’t turned on the second blinkie headlight… I do wonder if I created something Just Too Weird, or perhaps in the “Uncanny Valley”??

Numbers just a bit better than last week… to my relief da gubner is still talkin’ tough about vax requirements, not “oh, numbers goin’ down we can chill.” They’re only going down BECAUSE of vax and masks.

Student asked as I came in why I was dressed as I was. I wondered about my choice of attire, but it was the helmet. Now, she might have been wanting to know why I had a rainbow unicorn festooning it… but she didn’t ask. I just said “I ride a bicycle, and it’s easier to wear it than carry it.” Doesn’t everybody have rainbow unicorns on their heads?

Monday :)

Had awesome Moonlight Ride Saturday night. About 50 riders, including a first timer with underinflated tires. I need to put on my TO DO list to find my CO2 cartridge because I didn’t feel it was worth attempting to fill it with a frame pump and my puny arms, tho’ they were 35’s and probably pretty. darned low. We were going down a hill and I noted that I’d decided to get smaller tires when I noticed how often I’d be pedaling while my friends coasted and … she had just noticed that 😉

One of the Things I didn’t remember about that other commute was seeing CU33180 again 😉 No, didn’t do anything hazardous but I felt compelled, as she was to my right at the traffic light, to inform the dog leaning out the window of the car infront of me that the driver of that car sometimes didn’t look when she pulled out.

This morning I was only Almost Running Late 😉 Greeted a fellow in Jamaican colors and got an enthusiastic reply, so I replied “It’s Monday!” as evangelically as I could… then crossing University a pedestrian decided to start at “3” at the countdown and jog it… I said, “You got this!” but … she looked like she was crying. So actual prayers in that direction.

And progress continues at Main and Lincoln but they haven’t been jovial of the mornings.

There’s a new bake shop on Goodwin at the swanky new apartment complex. It’s got five dollar pastries… I stuck to Einstein Bagels, which had enough of a line for me to just prop open the door and lean and let the line build behind me. Happily, when I ducked in, a few folks kept the practice up so for a good ten minutes there was real air flow into the joint. There was one maskless dude who just got drinks and left… everybody else to code, but … Delta would have been just happy happy happy in there.

And apparently a bottom bracket is on order for the red bike. Hoping!

Oh, and … I would *swear* that coming in to Parkland — with lots of traffic because I was basically on time so everybody else who needed to arrive at 9:00 was getting there — I was going to have to get all assertive to go between cars to make my left turn, except a driver just slowed down and made space from several cars back as if they’d seen me and anticipated the need. (Hey, I know some folks think everybody’s out to get them, so I guess I balance it out?)

the daily fun

Chatted at work w/ person who reminded me how easily we make false assumptions about what is “convenient” based on habit. Bicycling just gradually took over… and then driving was the weird, inconvenient thing. (They were figuring out acquiring another car.) No, really, it’s about 3 times a year that Having A Car Would Have Made That Easier. So many more times when Not Having A Car Makes This So Much Easier.

TOday’s commute just had so many Little Biking Things that I knew I had to blog about it — but work was crazy busy so now I won’t remember half of them. I ducked down Anderson instead of turning and … yea, that’s the smoothest road around ;0 Had a holler out the window at me “I Love your Bike!”… and at Main and Lincoln it’s all dug up and crazy and I was compelled to say “Thank you! It’s going to be beautiful” at workers whose faces just made that face when oops, nope, I didn’t say what they expected. I figure they’ll hve figured it out and smiled by the time I got to the end of the road 😉

Now that they’ve almost finished construction so that a person can use the “bike route” (that’s on the map, but has only been usable for less than 20% of the past 5 years b/c they keep putting new buildings in), the “oh, we can’t make a curb cut” is painfully obvious. I hope we wear down that triangle quickly.

Had a rare horn thing happen when yea, there were two cars trying to get past on Church westbound. I couldn’t figure out which person was horny, but … I caught up to them all at the light. Yea, they could have just … gone ’round like most of ’em do… but it was my fault, too. I’d just gone much further to the right than usual b/c a person slowly pedaling the other way on the sidewalk and I had to exchange radical smiles… and hadn’t gotten back out. C’mon, Sue, your full-endorphin-beatific smile doesn’t need proximity. (Sigh. I still haven’t figured out how to capture the beatific tone of voice except on that one video…)

Got out iwth the Green and … *totally* outrode it!! Usually if things go well, I see it again at the terminal — today it was half a mile *from* the terminal when our paths crossed. I had to wait Forever And A Day (okay, probably a full minute) at Main and LIncoln going home — happily, no confusions but OH yea, NOW I REMMEMBER … there was just a Full Midwestern Wait Your Turn thing where we all just ignored the precise “who has the right of way” and … the guy made a left, the next guy went, and the other guy knew he could go next and nobody had their faces in their phones… You sorta had to be there but it was mildly beautiful.

And finally, I’m going east on Washington to the Dreadful Four Way at Washington and Vine, and oh, the kid and maternal type look like yes, they do need to cross there — and all the traffic stops as mom seems to be explaining that they’re going to be there a while so I say “I think they’re ready for you to cross!” clearly and she looks up and says “Thank you!” and gets goin’ and I’m the big fat cover bike slowly starting across but yes, they’re all waiting.

That’s how we roll 🙂

(On the other hand… so many candles for Alura who died crashing into the tree… and somebody else went SCREAMING up the street just now.)

Beautiful :)

It was the second time a man riding a tandem solo went by going the other day — and he called out to me that I was beautiful 😉 And I saw Kathy and the Allant on my Coop stop (sigh, I don’t like their beer selection but I haven’t been back to B Spirits since customer and cashier were chatting mask-free…)

Yesterday I tucked in behind Geoff of Itty Bitty Bike Shop and when he turned right on Urbana, I kept going. It’s a daily decision point — tucking north on Urbana to ILlinois then left means getting traffic light to cross Vine, Vine being a royal bunbite road, and even with the light the intersection isn’t fun, especially w/ bright Eastern Sun. It’s a four-way stop if I just take Washington, and yes, it’s smoother because they totally reworked it (summer of 2020 when all that traffic was sent down MY street instead)… but they only reworked the surface. Couldn’t afford to do it right, so it’ll be potholed before too long w/ the traffic there, and … yea, lots and lots of lanes for a 4-way stop. (Should be a roundabout.)

The mess of cars were clear by the time I got there, though — the Illinois light cycle does that 😉 So! I gained about a tenth of a mile on Geoff 😛 and saw him heading west on Elm as I went down Race. However, different day prob’ly could have been different story. If he got green and I had to wait…

Main and Lincoln is different every day…. when the inner two lanes of the four on Lincoln are blocked off, then YAY!! We have that “median island” we’ve b een promised for, what is it, 2-3 *years* since “it’s the next thing!” because the pedestrian/cyclist traffic counts there are ridiculously high… and that’s *before* the rather massive residential/retail “Gather” thing opens. In a truly progressive town there’d be Places To Hang Out Without Your Car as an Important Thing — there’s Einstein Bagels across the street… oh, across *Lincoln…* but I am *hoping* the work renders it so that’s possible (not sure what goes on behind Gather; it’s pretty much right on top of Lincoln).

Today there were two folks behind me at Randolph and University — I let them pass b/c there was a ton of construction and I needed to turn left and didn’t want variables… one of ’em went elsewhere but I’m pretty sure the other was on the other side of Bradley as I headed into Parkland.

I pondered the differences/similarities between “beautiful” and the other term sometimes used, “badass,” and yea, I like ’em both.

tailwind ;)

Nothing like little tailwind and 60 degrees to make the morning commute sweeeet. Saw my regulars and the one person check her watch when she saw me 😉 I think she was running a little late; if she knew that and saw me, running early, she’d have thought it was later so would have checked. Yes I have that much power over the world!!!

Sigh, almost 6000 cases today, but still, give it a week because … about 8 times as many tests in some places, because testing happening at schools. But still, it’s spreading. I hate that they don’t post anything over weekends any more.

The Famous Sue Jones

…. talked to Kathy (Cathy?) on an Allant at the food coop and when I said I was Sue …. she asked if I was the famous Sue Jones iwth the bike blog 😉

Nothing like knowing there’s a reader or five to inspire a post or two!

On the ride home, the path through campus has been OPEN — tho’ I’m not sure it is in the morning. I think they’re still doing some construction. Yes, the U has “bike routes” that in the five years they’ve been “bike friendly,” have been closed for 3.5 of them, and they know that. Part of the Ruby “lip service” category in my book…. no, they can’t make a curb cut for us so yes, I can cut through and then have to dive right or left, take sharp turns on the pedestrian cuts.

And there were two blivit-faces today…. one on University where there was a parked car on the right and the car in the left lane slowed to turn, so the poor guy in the Mercedes had to slow down for almost 3 seconds before laying on the horn going ’round me. To their credit, not a close pass. Then crossing Lincoln — which is awful because they’re doing construction so it’s one lane southbound — when somebody slowed to turn which created a gap, I went across and CRFTN5 decided he could make a left anyway. He may not have seen me because he looked “defensive white male figuring out if he has to punch somebody” when I hollered “Usually we wait our turns little boy!!!” at him. Dudes, if the sun is in your eyes, wait. (And don’t have a vanity tag if you’re going to break the law…)

Riding is faster if you pump up your tyres 😉 but I still don’t have the Xtracycle back… I’ve been riding the fast bike on the Saturday Saunter because it’s been so hot that going slow just happens.

I’ve been matching the Green on the ride home most days — see it leaving Parkland, at the terminal, and again coming up Race Street. Not today — didn’t get out fast enough, and … that might be normal now that Students Are Back when I’m leaving at 5.

and … this weekend is Labor Day. Fall’s comin’ 😉