Posts from the ‘bike commute’ Category
This post probably won’t mean much to anyone but a few of my local friends – Jenn, Jeff, Sarah, et al. But it’s kind of a big deal for me. We’re getting closer to seeing the completion of a big extension of our local Greenway/walking/bike path. Once finished, it is going to be a more convenient way for me to get into and around town, avoiding some of the most congested roadways. The current section under construction is at least a mile or two closer to me (on the north), and I really look forward to avoiding some traffic-hassle in getting to points south, including downtown.
Over the weekend, we ran into Jeff and he mentioned that we all need to take an “inaugural ride” once the new section is completed (yay!). I am looking forward to the day, although the current state of muck-ness through Tinsley Park appears to be a long way from being in rideable shape, even with some knobby tires. Hopefully things will dry out, and they can re-grade at the very least … maybe drop some gravel? I’m not sure if there is a plan to pave this section?
Mostly, I’m just waiting for the thing to be somewhat contiguous; I’ve never quite understood the method to their expansion plans – very piecemeal and disjointed. There are short sections on the north end that have been completed and paved for several years, but never connected to the rest of the path, making them virtually useless. The same thing occurred on the south end at one point. But I suspect it has something to do with obtaining right-of-ways or permits or funding.
Anyway, it’s exciting stuff – seeing the bridge completed and the heavy equipment in use … I really do look forward to the maiden voyage from north to south.
So I had to make a quick bike run to Target today. I arrive, go to lock up my bike at the rack, and spot this lovely little arachnid along the building next to my bike. It looked suspiciously distinctive, and upon closer (but not too close) look … yep, a black widow. (And yes, she was fully alive and well.)
Now it’s not that I have any big case of arachnophobia; I happen to think spiders are kind of cool – as long as they are not crawling on me. But this one, being a little package of poison – I swear she was eyeing my bike and thinking how nice and cozy it might be to sneak into my panner while I was in the store. It looked like a mighty nice home, rather camouflaged, nice and dark, an easy place to hole up … and wait.
Yes. I’m an idiot. And my mind runs in ridiculous directions. Never the less, I moved my bike to the other side of the building. Just in case.
It’s been strange weather. Very warm, pretty windy. Fronts coming through. Rain. It’s like the weather can’t commit to becoming winter-like. Sigh.
Days have been filled with errands, commuting, and not much else. I am keeping my fingers crossed that the weather will return to cold and crisp and sunny over the next few days. Also hoping there will be some Thanksgiving break rides with my boys, home for the holidays.
Meanwhile, wishing everyone a peaceful time with friends and family – and a very happy Thanksgiving.
the things YOU carry
A big thank you to all of my great friends who took time to share their own photos of the things they carry – on their bikes and otherwise. I love how individual personalities are revealed in such a simple photo, and within the collections of the items they use each day. I also happen to covet some of your stuff! (Lol.)
I might try to revisit this idea again in the future … so if you missed out this time, or want to send a new collection, I’d love to have you send your photos to me: shebicycles at gmail. Thanks for sharing. 🙂
the road home
There are moments on my bike where I wish I could magically bring along a non-cyclist, put them in my pocket or carry them along somehow – just so they could experience the incredible feeling and the beauty of traveling home quietly by bike.
It is a glorious time of year to be on a bicycle. I love coming home in the late afternoon light with the trees glowing and the long golden shadows, there is a chill in the air, and I have that wonderful tired-but-fulfilled feeling that comes from a beautiful day spent riding from here to there. I know that a warm bowl of soup is waiting for me in my warm kitchen. Maybe some spiced tea and a good book later. I wish there were a way to share the feeling with someone who’s never experienced it.
Why would you want to travel any other way?
things we carry
I’ve seen several other cyclists post pictures and discuss the stuff they carry by bike – especially among my commuter friends. It’s interesting to see. The stuff of daily work, laptops, cell phones, keys, locks, cycling caps, spare parts, cameras, snacks, books, Moleskines … It’s as varied as the bikes they ride.
And I’ve recently been following a couple of very visually interesting sites: What Do You Carry and Things Organized Neatly. They’ve made me think about the things I carry every day, and the ways I typically carry all of this stuff I cart around – especially when I’m on my bike. I always have some bike “emergency” items (multitool, spare tube, levers, etc.) stashed in a small saddle bag – but for my daily-use stuff of every day life, I typically use a Rickshaw bag, a Chrome messenger bag, an Ortleib Back-Roller pannier … or, of course, any bag/purse/tote on my Xtracycle. They all serve me extremely well, form and function.
While the contents are not always so neatly organized, I thought I’d lay things out just to see what I carry nearly every day. It was an interesting exercise. Here’s the (rather ridiculous) list of the inventory:
- a snack (today it’s an apple)
- sunglasses (usually on my head)
- camera (varies – but today, my 7D with 24-70mm f2.8L and 50mm f1.8)
- “Wreck This Journal” by Keri Smith (an ongoing project … long story)
- eyeglass cleaning cloth
- lip balm
- reusable shopping bag
- three Lamy fountain pens (different nibs and ink colors)
- Moleskine journal/sketchbook
- journal pen/brush assortment
- Flapper Girl coffee cozie
- watercolor field set
- green tea mints
Sorry, no bacon. Or beer. If you have any interesting photos of the things you carry by bike, I’d love to take a look and share them on my blog. Neatly organized or not. 🙂
the gallon of milk
Although I am tempted to rant about our local grocery store choices (or more accurately, lack of choices…), and the disappointing assortment of over-processed, over-packaged convenience foods within our horrid chain stores – we have no Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, EarthFare or anything remotely decent within a 25 mile radius – I will spare you my whining. My family is weary enough of my complaints. But I like to cook – and I like to cook real food. Food “from scratch” as we used to say, rather than out of a box or a freezer case.
And today as I was heading to the grocery store on my bike thinking about all of this, wishing I had a decent grocery store/market within riding distance, I was reminded of a wonderful 3-minute video I had seen earlier in the week by the amazing people at Streetfilms: Moving Beyond the Automobile (Vimeo).
Of course it features the incredible cycling infrastructure improvements of the Big Bicycle Cities (NYC, Portland, SF, etc.), but what really struck a chord with me were some of the statistics about the exponential increases in ridership when safe, protected cycling infrastructure is provided to the public. The old, “if you build it, they will come …” idea. Tenfold. One-hundredfold. Exponentially.
As (my hero) Rep. Earl Blumenauer so perfectly states:
“People shouldn’t have to burn a gallon of gas to get a gallon of milk … “
He goes on to talk about the need to give people safe and accessible transportation choices of all types – choices that will reduce the demand for using the automobile, which can ultimately save people time and money, while improving their health and “ultimately enriching their daily experience.” I couldn’t agree more.
So I cycled to my poor-excuse-for-a-grocery-store and got the gallon of milk. And a few other items of “real” food. And I dreamed about how wonderful it would be to have a bike lane, or even a little bit of road shoulder, to easily cycle to some Real Foods store … Maybe someday.
Do you ever have days when a tiny voice inside says something along the lines of … “today is not the day”? The planets are not aligned, there is a feeling of bad karma, an inner hesitation, clouds overhead. And of course I completely ignore that little voice. Serves me right.
Rest assured – nothing truly bad happened. No crash/collision, no flat tire, no mechanical issue. Just a multitude of basic annoyances that began with getting rained on (and having no rain gear, of course), continued with wasting energy (Staples no longer carries the type of photo canvas I went to buy), and included a superabundance of discourteous Friday motorists (the left-hand turn cut-off, the texting-while-driving twenty-something passing too close for comfort, and the barreling log-truck driver apparently late with his delivery to the pulp mill).
There are not many days I am happy to get off of my bike and off of the road, but today was one of them. I should have listened to the little voice.