Bulky Day :-)


I had to remind myself that oh, not too many years ago 21 degrees would have been an incredible heat wave.   I’m out of the habit of layering up… it is enough of an automatic don’t have to be awake for it thing, though, so it’s possible that Tuesday it could be 10 degrees and I’d do the same thing.    If it’s close to zero, though… I’m trying to remember when exactly last year we had full on polar vortex with wind chills so low that the U. and Parkland closed and the busses were free.  They didn’t even say “so y’all who are freezing can just ride all day.”   They just did it.

Climate change does have me riding the bus based on ambiguous forecasts, though.   Dangerously severe stuff happens more often and is harder to predict… so “snow and freezing rain late in the day” is enough to get me on the bus (hey, that’s not even ambiguous, though “late” usually means after I get home).

I’m past last January in mileage, but I didn’t record anything after the 11th.   Now, I had a car in custody so I suppose maybe I didn’t even use the bike to visit folks… I *like* getting out into the weather and figuring out how to navigate again.    So yes, I rode out to the bike party… as did Cynthia and Sheldon and we all had to bolt when a snow squall came up… and my tire was flat.   Happily Sheldon filled it and it held enough to stop one more time to boost along the way and get me home.   To my surprise, it was a regular sized hole in the tube — so I think that setup just lends itself to “slow leaks.”   I even knew where the patch kit was… so I still have a spare tube 🙂   … and saw another patch on the tire which supports my “it does leaks slowly” theory because that was a “go out to the garage and it’s flat” flat, not an on-the-road flat (where I swap the tube and maybe patch it later).

This morning shifting in the back rings wasn’t happening … I suspect riding in the rain and then cold means things froze.   It’s time to do cursory cleaning and … bring it by Champaign Cycle for actual maintenance, prob’ly new chain…  and … the tank is just simply 10 minutes slower on the commute and I need to add that in 😉

RIding again ;)


Sigh, I did get in a mile and a half yesterday because the top three layers of keys were inaccessible.   Waist bag disappeared last Tuesday that had spares tucked into the pocket.   Key keys disappeared Sunday after I brought bagels to my friend’s house.   I’m not sure why the one in a Secret Outside Place wasn’t there.   So I rode to my friend’s house (because when I made keys, I gave Pete one and he’s died since then so I know where his keys are)… snagged all the keyfobs and yea, one of ’em worked in the front door, which is especially good b/c I haven’t known where a front door key is in ages.   I’ll get an extra couple miles in swinging by Ace Hardware to make more of that and the Secret Outside Key which was inside on the Inside Key Place (that I need to make a better key place b/c it doesn’t have anythign to hang anything from).

Now, be it duly noted that the bus from Parkland … driver insisted “you’re fine! You’re fine!” with my slightly overdue annual pass and the final leg it was “that’s good 24/7!”  so I don’t even think he processed that the  month was over.   I’m still tempted to try to Not Get THe Annual Pass for a month and save myself 7 bucks and put that in the “found money” bucket… and wondering if I’d just waved the silly thing and not mentioned grace period if the first driver would have noticed (but … I suspect he would).   Not surprised when after a good ride, my hostile rumblings about paying for a bus and key issues … just don’t rumble as much.   People, GET OUTSIDE!!!

We’ve got awesome weather for another week — highs above freezing, lows barely below, no rain.   Still, 285 more miles to go to get to 5000… got one lap in today at lunch…

8+ folks on bikes on the first half of the morning commute.   None second half.   (URBANA rules 🙂 )



Yes, I could/should have dropped the rental off, riddenback and taken the cargo bike in… but we had a “dusting” of snow that had left ice on cars and “gusts to 30 mph,” and mtd.org said a 9A would take me to Parkland at 7:58.

Nudging towards bike was also my annual pass expiring end of November, but I decided to use my social skills and ask if there was a grace period since I’m pretty sure I, or somebody, got one one year.   It’s 12/2;  12/1 was Sunday, you can’t renew but too early and last week was Thanksgiving and you have to get the things at the terminal.   Ifigured the dollar saved would go to food pantry or my “bonus dollars” bin…

Bus is late enough fro me to check the phone at 8:01 … 3 minutes… it’s a tad cold (but pretty sure it would hvae been fine, rolling).

I board and ask and the bus driver says “no, no grace period, ” so I fish for the buck and am sad.  When he thanks me I cheerfully note walking away that he’s not particularly welcome… I’m thinking this isn’t a typical mtd experience… should I inquire?

Three folks get on the bus and  the first slides coins in and driver notes “that’s not even close to a dollar.”   He “hey, you”‘s the kiddo back to the front; kiddo’s affect is … very quiet… and tells him … if he doesn’t have the fare, just say so, that throwing money in there is like lying and is totally disrespectful.   His tone is not sharp, not angry, just … holding the kiddo accountable, who  goes back and finishes the ride to school, says something (“My bad?” I couldn’t tell), and gets off.  (Nobody else was getting off at the school at this time.   Oh, and the kiddo bore striking resemblance to person walking flat tired bike by this school when I was going to ride on cargo bike who asked if he could ride on back of my bike… and only half a mile later I had thought “should have given him dollar for bus fare.”)

Just near Parkland, a fellow in wheelchair was waving the bus down (it was a stop anyway)… and yea, I was point person for pulling the seat lever that threw the seats up to make room for a wheelchair, since I’d just parked in front seats (about 8 passengers in the bus).   SUCCESS 🙂 🙂 🙂

I can and do overanalyze the social dynamics … but yea, overall I was the snarkiest person of the day today.  (And maybe the driver has instincts and *knew* I had the dollar by how I asked…)   I knew the end of the month was coming, and while hypothetically it could have been a burden, it wasn’t. Time to do better …  oh, and a guy on a bike kept re-appearing along the route and I wonder how often he’s trying to stay ahead of the bus on his own path…


Green Street, revisited


Took Green Street with all its new MCORE stuff across town last night.   Sunday night so not too insane.   The bike path stuff is pretty good… and then it ends.   Mostly people were civil and it went well, though one person trying to turn right onto Green was ‘way out over the crosswalk, inching forward, forward… ever so politely waved me along but I had to get out into the traffic lane to do that, so I was compelled to say, “Usually we wait our turns, you little boy!”  … sigh, I’d have preferred it to be “young person!”  (who knows how they identify) as if I were a stern matronly authority… but I have never actually assumed that role so it’s hard.

I was speechless at the traffic light when I took my lane since it’s also right turn lane and lots of people do that… and this SUV driver peels right beside me, and I look over preparing to say “we don’t drive much??”  and got a stern look and extended finger — **exactly** what I have done once or twice (though he had to basically elbow the face of his passenger)– as the light turned green and I heard in my right ear, “The guy’s a d*ck!” as another cyclist came up beside me and rolled on ahead.

It got me 18 miles on the day, though — out to a bike club meeting, and  nice ‘tipping point’ towards “yea, it’s November with dubious weather, but you might just make 5K!”   I have 590 miles to go… with occasional 20 mile days I could do it even with days like last Thursday — 23 mph winds and snow had me on the bus for the trip home and back in Friday  … this Thursday we’ve got AM snow showers and teens at night.   I can do 17 but I gotta find all those layers 😉   … I dn’t do snow, tho’, because it’s slippery and cars are big, and the bus is fun *and* I’ve got STUFF TO DO because the silly times tables quizzes online are kinda working.   … but I also got in two laps at lunch today.

Keep on pedaling…

rollin’ rollin

Today was a “oh, it’s too blustery to ride!” day … from how it looked. Once riding, it was full of endorphins.

Yesterday really was too windy to ride … except it was tailwinds both ways 😉

Day before… I think this might be the first time this has actually happened to me… I’m coasting up to Mattis because … the left-turners haven’t been released on Mattis and that happens before we get the green — they go last, not first…. and there’s an irritated honk behind me. I speed up a tad in case he’s wanting to get on the merge-off-right lane but no, he passes me on the left. Of course, he’s got to stop so I’m coasting byhim as the light turns green… and then I get to pass him again at Country Fair because that light’s red, too. I gave him a wave…

… yesterday was much more typical – I waft into campus swirling everything in the wind, my jack-o-lantern springy antennae bouncing on my helmet and a co-worker crossing the parking lot breaks out laughing and says “I LOVE YOU!” (now… *maybe* she was on the phone but … this isn’t the first time that’s happened…)

Not so early ;)

Overslept (relatively speaking) so I beat the 7:40 Big Bus Scramble from the terminal but they were buzzing by me…. closely enough for the 1N that I’ll let them know unless I forget.  Since the bus stopped to let the30+ students out I had time to snap a picture of it.
Okay, that done 😉   I called it 1 N and then check the picture and it’s 1S 😉   They’ve got video so … I hate to be the one to make a day not go so well for somebody but it *does* seem to be a reasonably good and fair system and the driver needs to know.

Now, the 1??  that was on White could have been the same one;  there was a cyclist much closer to it (I almost caught them at Fourth and Wright, which did *not* detect me last night when I wasn’t quite as far left as I try to get; it did detect me Monday, further left in the lane).    I noticed the driver did the full “defend the curb” practice before turning right on First, angling the bus so the cyclist would be less likely to try to squeeze in on its right.   I thought it might be a thing thye knew they didn’t have to do for me … but if it’s the same driver then… might be a driver that just hugs the right… heard sirens a few times and was thankful as always they weren’t for me, hoping they were the stuff of “an abundance of caution.”

And 20.1 miles yesterday 😉

Fun times for unicorns

Yesterday on Country Fair I pulled up behind a car at a red light.   Kid in the back — 5 years old, maybe?   (Not a mom, so could also be 3…)   Looks at me in some confusion and uncertainty.   I smiled… he smiled… it’s a long light… before it changed he’d poked his little sister in the car seat to get her to look too.  (Kiddo black, me white so might also be “never know what white people be like.” Glad the smile worked 😉 )

Good times!   An 18 mile day including Bike/Ped advisory meeting where once again we were informed that the City Can’t Afford Anything.   Unfortunately, we have … current folks in charge who’ve decided to slash and burn staff positions to get back to fiscal balance that took a long time to get to.   Still, we had a good discussion of Vision Zero… and yea, we need to keep being vocal… little statistical gems like there being 12 pedestrian/bicyclist fatalities in a ten year period starting 20 years ago… and *20* in the past ten years.   As in, almost double.   And Cindy Combs didn’t count because she was run over out of town.   Don’t know if Matt Wilhelm was in the borders or not.

Got started 7:10 today, noting to myself I’d have time to pause if there was something pauseworthy.   When I went by the Virginia Theatre at 7:30 there were people on bleacher seats and … radio station van.   I pondered the likelihood of it being an event where there was swag and decided because my legs were enjoying the morning too much that … it wasn’t pauseworthy.   I went in the back way on the perimeter instead for the extra half mile 🙂   (Oh, and I’d topped off the tyres so things were rolling smoothly ;)) Yesterday’s 17th day of the month and I had 341 miles… not sure I’ll be able to get to 600 but tomorrow is “Cycle to Suds” so I might get to 20 then, too… but we’re forecast rain of the weekend.

Moving right along…

I used the car thing of a Saturday morning to go get a toilet.

It was almost a critical mass of people Not In Cars.   Scooters, skateboards, bicycles… only almost, though, so I’m afraid Just Higher Risk.

Switching to the tank b/c its generator works and … the sun goeth down.  Almost equinox so it’s pretty Directly In Face.   Hoping to get 600 miles on the month — thanks to Labor Day’s 71 I’m at 283 right now… and FOUND my BIKE PROJECT KEYS because we had a thunderstorm this morning that ended right before I had to go to work but I put the rain pants on anyway and oh!  THAT pocket.   Whew 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂    I lose things all the time so … I know when to be worried and I was worried b/c I knew it should have been “on the top layer of life.”   It hadn’t been that long since I’d had them… and … going back to TBP was part of my decision to go ahead and challenge myself to add more to my plate and … good grief, was this already too much?   (I was inspired by singing at a funeral for a young man … and … knowing that Eagle’s Wings needs the descant.  No, it needs it.   No, I’m not really a soprano but … it needs it.   I made myself do what was required to do it instead of “being comfortable in my own skin” and accepting that I’m an alto.   Then I wondered what else is equally “needed” that I could be doing.)

So… now on to the next thing 😉


and it’s Thursday

Duly noted:   going Eastbound on Clark/Logan crossing Neil, where northbound and southbound lanes are separated by a small business,  my light goes red Eastbound but the N/S doesn’t go green.   This caused ire in other cyclist …  but  I’m pretty sure it’s green Westbound and sometimes I’ve seen a green left arrow when I’m going westbound.   Methinks they fear blockage in that little space. If there’s no traffic  I’m tempted to roll it (esp. since the folks sitting in front of red lights prob’ly wouldn’t think I was Running A Red Light)… but it was weird watching two westbounders pause uncertainly and then seeing I was stopped, eke through.   (I’m thinking the arrow doesn’t always show?)


… so, don’t know if it’s a Chrome Doesn’t Like WOrdpress thing but I can’t seem to keep writing on the same post … bikeWithLamp

This is today’s lamp and that shade seems like a blank canvas  😉   Granted, I’m using up my drivel-time with this post but I’ll try to search how to decorate lampshades… I’m shre there are some nifty Instructables out there… (yes, the shade is perpendicular to the lamp right now.   That’s how we haul things 🙂 )

Pretty sure both sides of the bridge under the railroad were occupied … as was the car I went by yesterday and noted that the bike and cooler on the back and the pretty extreme quantity of fabricky belongings inside spoke of it being a dwelling.  (Yesterday I was rolling an hour later.)   No, we still don’t have a men’s shelter.   We had one; it was sold and the company that bought it closed it.   It’s gonna get cold 😦 😦 😦

I’m at 100 miles on the month thanks to a wonderful Labor Day excursion to Monticello and Allerton Park.   Had a flat tire but erm, the tire’s old enough so it came off and went back on easily and there was CO2 handy… *perfect* weather for … well, the folks who added a mile when we got back got metric (I had 11 more for assorted other goings and comings).   That said I am not committing to full “after season Pleasure” ride tonight because I said I’d put a Geogebra video up Sept 4 and it’s not there yet…

Oh, and LAB sent out a survey b/c the U. is going for Bike Friendly again.   I gave credit to the people working so so so hard to make things better, with significant successes… but … people, the lip service parts are pretty awful.   The years of construction on what you claim to be a bike route… the failing to clear the wonderful new infrastructure when it snows and ices… the parking on the routes…

And now back to your regularly scheduled program!