Sunday, December 27, 2009

40s and bike racks

My mindset about temperature is shifting. Now temperatures in the 40s seem like nice weather for a ride, and that being the case this afternoon I took the opportunity to run some errands via bike. My ride to the local big box stores, which are nestled within a quagmire of parking and limited pedestrian space, was uneventful but purposeful: new ink cartridges for the printer and a gift from the bookstore.

Locking up was tricky since neither a bike rack nor any solid anchored beam were available. My two options were a small standpipe tucked close to a wall and a gas meter. I chose the former thinking a gas emergency would lead to my bike being chopped by a fireman's hydraulic cutting tool. You'd think that a bike rack amid so many book purchasers is a no brainer. It was an issue I needed to press inside.

When I entered the bookstore I asked an employee if they could arrange for a bike rack out front.
Me: So, do you think you could get a bike rack out there?
Him: There were demands for a pedestrian ramp at the entrance, but the management company wouldn't even provide that for wheelchairs...
Me: Couldn't you prompt the mall property owner?
Him: I don't think we have any sway overal mall people...

Alas, what was I thinking? Why would an entity renting 40,000 square feet have any sway over mall people? It's more important to sweep a sidewalk without a bike rack impeding the broom pusher, or access for the disabled hindering traffic. And besides that mall, people rely on cars. Nonetheless, perhaps a call to the mall property manager is in order! Surely they will consider an artistic bike rack.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Bright skies and dingy gray shoulders....

Needing to obtain a last minute gift, I hopped in our trusty Civic mallward bound. And then hit an insult of traffic! I returned home and grabbed my Trek 800. Much better! The 2.6 mile route passes across old state roads now crowded with poorly planned commericialism, alongside a dog food factory, and over train tracks and small hills. Aside from a tractor-trailer's stinking blast of exhaust and dust, and an intense squeeze of traffic underneath route 15, my ride was relatively uncomplicated. After locking up to a guard rail, I then walked past smoking teens into the mall with my bike helmet proudly under arm!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Snowed Berm

That pile of snow in the berm/shoulder of Market Street was sufficient cause to abandon cycling to work, not to mention black ice that might slip me onto macadam. Some coworkers of mine see it differently, suggesting that I attempt to fit through the gauntlet of unBikeLaned streets and the snow. One even mimicked the sound of a car driving over me! Is weather or latent ridicule an explanation for the paltry numbers of Americans who ride their bikes to work? It's a sad situation, given that about 30 percent of us need only 14 or fewer minutes to DRIVE to work, which may well equate to a commute feasible via bike.
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Monday, December 21, 2009

26 degrees and smoking

Driving seemed an easy choice this morning, being 26 degrees outside with snow slush blocking the space in which I normally ride.  But soon after driving my white whale away from the garage I saw a figure pedaling ahead of me in the distance. It wasn't the green bike lady. Instead it was a man riding eastbound on the side of the road opposing westbound traffic (always suspicious). When I passed him I could see a cigarette in his right hand, his short haircut hatless, and his seemingly thin sweatshirt open to the cold wind. He pedaled patiently and slowly; nonchalantly. Perhaps the cigarette kept him warm, or was metabolic inhibition catalyzed by the coffin nail dangling betwixt his numb fingers? Hard to say, but in either case I admired his choice of transport.

Friday, December 18, 2009

29 and clear

I vacillated between riding and not riding to the local bookstore this morning, with the chilly 29 Fahrenheit a concerning factor. In the end, I donned my wool balaclava and several layers before heading out. Lest I think myself crazy I came upon another biker about 10 minutes into my ride, and stopping to chat at an intersection found that she was in fact crazy, ranting in a high pitched voice about gambling policies and the governor, then urging me in near hysteria to advocate an end to card tables as a source of revenue. Her bike was green with fenders.

Garb considerations: too many cotton layers and a top fleece layer did not shield me from wind leaving me with a cold chest. Nose and cheeks need better coverage as well. Seek plastic/synthetic windbreaker.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

One Mild Skid-Slip / 44 degrees

Today's commute, amid dark grey skies and a damp penetrating low 40s air, was quickly interrupted by a westbound motorist intending to turn left through a gap in opposing traffic. We just saw each other as I headed east in the shoulder of the Carlisle Pike, my tires skidding and sliding perhaps six to eight feet in reaction. We eyed each other with plain faces.

Later I stopped to make a photo at one of two major intersections on my ride:

Two other bicyclists on the road today: one older & bearded, the other well equipped in outdoor cycling gear with a whistle at the ready.