Interesting trips ;)

Today it was traffic light tripping. Main and Race I’m sitting there, car behind me … I missed hte sweet spot. It’s not changing. After a few years, I motioned the car behind me to move forward. It took twice but they did and then we got that perpendicular yellow 🙂

Then White and Fourth, which has a much harder “sweet spot” to find, but the BUS in front of me should have done it! Waited… waited… but there was a group of walkers crossing the street and I implored them to hit the walk button and one did 🙂 Victory!

Other lights and traffic were such that I left 3 minutes earlier and arrived about 4 minutes later this morning, even though yesterday was rainy.

Oh, and they still leave the walk/bike route free of construciton equipment 🙂 All semester!!! (It’s not a great route, but … it’s even notter greater when there are vehicles obstructing. They keep them *all the way off* the wide sidewalk.)

It’s also fall 🙂 47 degrees this morning.. .sweater and jacket… Yay endorphins!

Just Riding Along ;)

And no, nothing’s happened, yay!

People love my “hat,” or my helmet — I think it’s interesting that it gets called a hat almost all the time.

Joe Blow died Saturday — air came out the wrong end. Champaign Cycle had some Planet Bike pumps so I acquired one … and yea, a set of the expensive daytime head and tail lights and some Tri-Flo (I had to resort to the rancid vegetable oil last week to stop the chain from crunching). The lights are mainly for when I’m riding the ‘fast bike’ — daytime visibility on the longbikes sort of takes care of itself with massiveness. They can’t *get* entry level bikes so … that’s not so nice “for the economy, stupid.” March, maybe?

It’s been oh, going on 3 years since Main Street was going to have major improvements, this summer honestly! … but the fine City of Urbana has … well, pretty much decided car culture is more important under the strangling budget constraints.

While I see all kinds of folks wearing masks even just out walking around with pletny of space, apparently they’ve netted 1000 cases already, and they’d hoped for 700 for the whole semester… so there’s a two week semi-lockdown for campus and then… maybe have to go back home or something.

THe health folks say the cases are campus, campus, campus from parties, parties, parties: I really, really hope so. I really hope the masks work. I really wish we had testing at Parkland … I really wish we had better leadership at Parkland but that’s another story (a really lousy one).

But I also really, really like riding my bike as autumn approaches. YEsterday I was riding ‘cross parking lot and thought “I should go back ‘way round, no, maybe not” and the air informed me: “GO THE BACK WAY.” 30 seconds later a car going other way stops… she’s desperately seeking the H wing. I get her to public safety and hopefully to the H wing.

Okay, granted, she *might* have passed me if I’d just gone the short way 😉 but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t much later that my brain reviewed a little conference proposal I’d submitted Monday that had had its due time extended to today and … informed me that I’d attributed a quote to the wrong keynote speaker in it. I wasn’t *really* thinking about it — that’s what you can do on a bicycle going the back way 😉 Checked it, fixed it.

I know if I were reviewing proposals — and that’s my next task 🙂 — that … that kind of mistake would be a slap. Spell educashun wrong but … don’t be all sloppy about who said what!

New School Year!

Definitely not as much traffic as usual, though I’m going in 8:00 not 9:00 and that’s most of it.

I was cruising West on Church and this humongoid truck from Midwest Rental with a pretty big tractor on it is just ahead of me and we’are approaching the Prospect light and I’m thinking oh, dear, I get to wait behind this creature and maybe make the light, maybe not… and he pulls on forward into the left lane 😉 He’s stopped at the light and now I get to coast up and anticipate the green and ease up on his right… I cruise through (and I made all but University and Randolph that way this morning 🙂 :)) … and he drives on forward and well ahead of me eases back over into the right lane.

I choose to believe he was Just Being Nice To Me 🙂 He got a wave, tho’ I don’t know if he could see me back there.

(Oh, I didn’t *roll* the light at Main and Race, but it did recognize me and go straight to yellow and give me left turn lane.)

About the only people out w/0 masks were people running. It’s day 1. Let’s see if we make 10 before schools shut down…

… and *plenty* of parking, tho’ the difference between 8:00 and 9:00 is always significant. Our enrollment’s down about 20% — admins think we need to market better while they slash jobs of people who work with students and they don’t grasp the possibility that maybe people aren’t getting through the system to *get* enrolled. I know several people waiting days to get in contact with an advisor.

Trike it!


Last week my pastor said Mass from Ivesdale, 25 miles away, and they did drive-by Communion.  It was too late to consider getting down there on the bicycle. I discovered too late from folks posting on Facebook that some local churches did it, tho’ not mine.

This week the bulletin announced that we would have it from 11:00 to 11:45, with directions :  communion

Oh.   They got a reply from me about having no words for being specifically excluded.

Then I realized I have a tricycle.   I rode over … partly preparing for confrontation and hvaing ye olde cell phone handy to record but … also thinking it wouldn’t happen that way.

. I started out  and rode by a house that said, “Thank you for wearing a mask!” and oops!!! so I rode back and got mine, stuffed it in my waist bag. I haven’t got the cargo bag on the back yet…
… so I cruised through town, waved at the cyclists along the way — EVERYBODY is riding (hope they do okay, it’s the first HOT day)… feeling a tad incognito because half the town knows me on the regular bicycles.
I considered going to where the beginning of the line was supposed to be, but that would mean crossing without a traffic light, so I went the way I usually would. I didn’t see a line of cars, so I thought “okay, not so manyh people!” but saw traffic directors. I got a smile… and I said “I’m here for Communion.” and got a bigger smile and was waved forward.
I went by one more traffic director waving forward, and past the collection basket (I have been riding out to church and … I know the little door with the side porch and the basket on the table where a person can drop a little envelope) … and nobody looked at me funny. (For cryin’ out loud, I was in line for Communion. Ya just look reverent…) and then “oh yea, put on your mask!” so between people I did that.
I pull up and Father Fredi asks how I’m doing… (I assume he recognized me — I’m in the small choir, and when he throws out questions to the congregation I answer tho’ in a Catholic voice, not southern 😉 ) … and he’s like “pull down your mask” and I did, but  I’m like “here is my hand.” Yes, it’s been on the handlebar grips but … they’re not groty and no, you do *not* need to be near my mouth. Ain’t happening.
Communion happens 😉 …

I ask, “would you have done this if I were on a bicycle?”
“The directions say no.” I ride forward on the bricks, loppity lop… turn right on Sixth and see the “line proper” and that they’d planned out and the “line of cars” was in the parking lot being let out one at a time, so technically I’d “cut in line” when I was waved in. I waved at the traffic directors and headed back.

I’m prob’ly going to sell Kermit — she’s fun but I think she’d rather be ridden more.  And I don’t need her to get Communion 😛


May the sixth


I’m playing with ways to get mileage in without getting further than walking distance.  Hmmm… maybe that’s also a reason why I’ve been jogging in the mornings — when I have had to do a flatwalkback … I *wanted* to jog.  (Not having running gear makes it less comfortable, though.)   I had been staying East of Vine, sort of … but realized tonight that my “stretch loop” near campus is also nice and I could have done a tad more.  There was really hardly any repetition 😉

I want to be able to work it a bit; the longer back and forths are good for that, but stop and go kinda works, too, especially when I actually try to do it efficiently.  So!   5.7 miles at lunch, 11.8 on the “commute home,” and who knows?   I might make tomorrow a ride instead of jog morning…


zeke’s muscle magic

It’s “Bike month!” I’m using the “Love to Ride” site as inspiration aiming at 500 miles. It’s a challenge because I’m working from home and while I had been riding the bike for my commute… I started jogging instead in the morning, I’m not sure why. I just go up and down the streets until I’ve run 20 minutes or so.
The other morning I noticed oh, I’ve got muscles in places 😉

We read a story as kids about a boy who goes to Zeke who’s lounging under a tree and asks him if he can give him muscles and Zeke says to let him think about it and while he’s thinking, go saw those logs…. this kind of thing happens every morning and end of some time the kid says “when are you going to tell me your magic trick forf getting muscles?” and Zeke says “you’ve been doing stuff all week, don’t you have ’em?” and of course he does.
IMHO we need more of these kinds of stories 😉  There seems to be a shortage of delayed gratification these days.

No club rides … and the weather is *not* “let’s go outside!” weather, thankfully. Less work because they’re still cleaning everything from the “incident” last week so no access to the important student data, which is needed for the stuff that took up half my days.  Classes “end” Thursday, Finals week starts Friday… I don’t know when summer classes start.
We had a big uptick for 4-5 days of double digit COVID cases here… the meat processing plant in Rantoul has 34 now.    I think the stores are not going to wait for bare shelves to limit hoarding but… we’ll see.   Wondering if squirrels and rabbits will be fair game before long…

It’s still here…


Working from home now, and … not riding much.   I was jogging before work, riding at lunch, riding after… but pulling a muscle and cold snowy/rainy weather have made it more like 4 miles on a given day.

A few weeks ago I was cruising to friend’s house for a distance hand-off of something and  was on the left part of residential street to turn left where I have right of  way… a family of 5 was proceeding across the street in front of me and a driver in a swanky white sedan stopped… and then started going forward.  I could see her not seeing me — eyes on the kids on the bikes, hand on … her phone… so I paused and did a little schoolteacher tsk tsk point and she saw me and … gasped, “I’m so sorry!!”  … I went onward, did the dropoff, went back out to bike and … she had turned around and was stopped in street in front of the house.
She was so glad I’d come back out because she really, really wanted to apologize, we’re *neighbors,*  … we chatted a bit.  She was watching the kids and … it’s so crazy right now, she was talking to her mother… she shouldn’t have… hey, we have to watch out for each other.

I’ve seen the car since then and I pass their house on my commute for one of m y common paths.   So … that’s where she’s seen me.   Mental note to self as “another house I could go to if need be…”  and pondering of how being on a utility bike turns one into a “neighbor”  that people care about and of course… whether that would be so true if I were oh, a differnet demographic or even if I were riding a road bike…

But today’s Saturday 😉   and … I have been doing bagel runs (swabbing credit card and hands down w/ alcohol.. .wearing a mask… )   Yesterday I rode out to church and yes!   They still have the Eucharist in the Romero Center, and a man was kneeling in prayer in front of the door.   I paused in the parking lot… and that’s a nice roughly 5 mile loop.   The ‘circle ’round 5 friends’ 2-petal daisy … well, I’ve been doing one of the loops this week and the pulled muscle and aching back are subsiding **and** it’s going to get warm.   So!   Monday will be New Year’s Day and a fresh start! (And I hope to sneak out for a solid hour or so today… but there may be a once a year kind of trip out to Farm adn Fleet… but this stupid virus is not a game so if it’s crowded we turn around…)

For the past week or so we’ve had between 0 and 2 new cases a day here… state bringing in total of average about 1200/day, w/ 125 deaths in one day.   I watch the governor’s updates unless I’m working w/ students and … I’m grateful that they keep reminding us these are people, not numbers.

… and I’m gonna get off this chair and go out!!!(huge tactical error when I tried to work from a card table… I’d always thought my posture was either so good or so bad that I didn’t need to worry about ergonomics.   NOT.   Better now… but I long for when I was up and around so much more often workign w/ students.  )

It’s here…


First confirmed local case yesterday at Carle in Urbana, and since it was somebody who was in contact with somebody who’d been to Italy (and not too many details in the news) yes we’re to assume that there are lots more unconfirmed; that basically everybody is positive.

I am at work — it’s spring break and we have “limited services” so I’ll be here from 10 to 2 and I seriously don’t expect somebody to think their math questions are important enough to be out here.   I do wish I’d sent my card home with everybody when I was telling them they could send me questions via email.   (It’s also spring break and that will be extended a full week and … it’s not normal.    I’d either not be worrying about school crap at all… or my inner Hermione would surge and I’d be Getting So Far Ahead It Is Silly.)

The ride in?   Not much traffic, but … it’s spring break.   Construction happening madly.  Oh, and there was a “road closed” on Washington (I went a slightly different route because I voted first), and it seemed so local that I wondered if it were… where the confirmed case lives.

An hour later than *ever*, a guy I often see at a bus stop was at that bus stop, stuck his thumb out as always, and I said, “social distance, dude!”  which got a laugh, “yea, six feet…”

Now the 3 folks sharing a cigarette out in front of Eden Living (assisted living apartments for folks w/ disabilities) were jovial, too… and that made it seem like a higher percentage of people out and about were smoking; could have just been me looking for it, or could be that … people in denial of what’s healthy persist in that.

Saturday 3 of us had a delightful ride out to St. Joe to dine at the Wheelhouse, getting back in time to find the governor is having everybody close down tonight.   I surmised it was related to St. Pat’s and yes, it was actually a response to the stupidity of people over the weekend. I’ve got shamrock socks on 😉    There’s a ride out to Monticello today too… but I’m at work ;  Yesterday I basically Did Not Go Out… it was raining and I went into Snowday mode as would happen when I was a sleep deprived teacher, even though I’m not sleep deprived.   Naps happened.   It reinforces my hypothesis that … getting started is a really big deal. Routines and all that a bit, but for me, it’s mainly Get Started Doing whatever it is, routine or not.  It’s not a trait; it’s decisions.  So I’m behind a *little* bit for getting 500 miles on the month as I did in 2018… but basically ahead of most years and ahead in annual miles …

On the Xtra


Successfully dropped off the Tank at Champaign Cycle Wednesday — got to work as snow started (literally — it started during the 7 minutes I was on the bus getting there).   Bus Thurs and Fri, Saturday … I have symptoms, I just slept in.

Today I remembered that stuff called tea, rode to church … then did errands.   Had to wave wave wave a driver who really wanted me to cross in front of them — and they were turning so they’d have to pass me anyway!   I’m struggling in vain to recall the other Thing Like That that happened.

I despise the University and Wright intersection — they’ve put in a “delayed green” in honor of pedestrians.  Well, if I’m on a bicycle, wanting to turn left, in back of another car that will be turning left, and they’ll have to yield to a car coming the other way, I know ahead of time that the 6 seconds left in the cycle will only probably not work, so the best strategy, which I used, was to pedal around to the right of said car in front of me, work around the pedestrian, and cruise down the trafficky University until my right turn.   (No, the light doesn’t honor bicycles at all, so waiting through a cycle can mean infinite wait.)   Happily of Sunday MOrning there wasn’t much traffic so I didn’t even annoy anybody.

Oh!   The other thing – so I went to the bank atm and a car was coming in just behind me and … no, I didn’t really know where all my crap was.   So, not to be That Person I just pulled through, looped behind, and dug out my crap, dropping a bill on the road and having to get off the bike and pick it up, exactly what I *didn’t* want to have to do in front of somebody waiting to get their money.

The guy at the ATM is lightning fast, gets his stuff and then … looked back and  *apoligized* to me 😉   as if he’d done something wrong.   I’m not sure what he was saying — English not his first language … but I got my dollars and went along my way.

Back insaddle


… Last Wed-Fri were on the bus, tho’ Thursday I did sneak over to Marge’s to discern that her street was solid ice, so bus on Friday.
Saturday got in an errand or two and Sunday was of the “She rides in the snow and everything!”  but it was flurries… the freezing rain and sleet all happened during church and by the time I came out the ice was sliding off the car windows and melted on the street.   Yes, 33 degrees and wind and rain is a bit bracing but it was 1 mile to get bagels, another mile to drop them off and a half mile to home so I was never out in it for more than 6 or 7 minutes.   The trip to the Friend’s Meeting House is also under 2 miles and … fun with Gore-tex.   However, I deigned to grab a ride to the bike meeting rather than swap out of all my very slightly dampened gear.   It’s one thing to ride hard in cold wet weather to get home to a hot shower; another thing to then have to sit near people at a bike club meeting ;0     Some new board members so interesting chemistry but things went well.
Rode in today w/ headwind 🙂   Also checked the log and I *did* ride more than 100 non-commuting miles in January.   That’s not likely February simply because don’t have the winter holiday break days.
The phrase “what would Jesus drive” has been revived so I’m going to see if I can find the much older article about it that I blogged about…