Thursday, November 30, 2006
I realized on the drive (ack! Yes! I drove... how *do* people do that every day?? And it has definitely not frozen on the roads, though anything out in the open has a coating)
... on the drive home that in previous settings people have found me difficult to deal with because I don't quite blend in for about a million different little reasons which I won't be vain enough to recite.
Now, I am that lady who is the bicyclist. So many of those minor eccentricities (never could dress fashionable :)) are cataloguable and, therefore, acceptable.
Getting ready for that parade!!!!
Monday, November 27, 2006
Why do so many drivers think "roads were made for cars, don't you know that??"
It's a natural social condition, but one that can be changed (though some people will always persist in thnking the big guy has the rights). For example, for the longest time, higher education was for the able-bodied only, as was access to many public buildings and businesses.
Think of any exclusionary situation or any powerful vs. powerless situation; the ones in the position of power simply don't understand what the problem is. It's no problem for them, so why should it be a problem for anybody else? WHy are we disrupting the "natural" "right" hierarchy of things?
With bicyclists in the minority, any time drivers are hangin' round they're going to be agreeing with each other about those annoying cyclists and building their own, self-supporting definition of rights and privileges.
CHanging laws has a seriously limited effect when the public opinion is ingrained (think South and segregation). I'm ready to meet and strategize for becoming a slow but inexorable force towards changing that "roads are for cars and bikes aren't vehicles" mindset :-) Think about the stuff that's worked for other minorities. We have one significant advantage over many other minority groups - the non-cyclists can become cyclists.
Saturday, November 25, 2006
If you tell people you're out there to try to make 8000 for the year, they don't treat you like a newbie, even if you're on a hybrid :)
Saw Rickey pretty early on, heading back, & turned around to say howdy... then took wrong turns before I caught up to 'em. All the roads look familiar ... but all those attempts to memorize the route ten years ago helped.
Found green arrows in the road and followed them until I hit 25 miles, then came back. Lots of rolling hills and big big farms; Sort of like Illinois but more mixed deciduous in between.
Most people were riding alone or in little groups. I didn't see any pacelines except our little clump starting out. However, there was a constant flow of riders.
There's a strategy: make THE ROUTE... and when there are always people on it, cars expect you there. Drivers were very civilized.
Time to play games iwth the nieces/nephews!
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
Here's a concept that I've often considered while riding: it's better for people to have to *think* sometimes, instead of being able to drive vegetatively, directed by signs and lines and what have you.
Of course, in America, that would be horribly inefficient... more thoughts will ferment...
Saturday, November 18, 2006
Never ridden that far, that late in the year... maybe a 1/1 metric isn't out of the question! I understand there are those who do one 12/31 as well for a "leaving/entering" concept, which of course I could do b/c of my schedule, if the weather is at all cooperative.
Friday, November 17, 2006
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
C'mon big biz, let's market this thing... if we live longer we can spend more!
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
Today was mildly slimy. Packed trainer into bike with backpack and bags of clothes because I'm going to the indoor training ride after work. That many changes of clothes ends up taking lots of space.
It's drizzling - just a tad heavier than a mist, so it's enough that I wished I worn the techamphibian shoes (for professional waterfall climbers, especially when I slipped all over the pedal getting into the toe clips. Still, with the layers under the rain suit, I'm perfectly comfortable and cruising happily.
Yes, I'm going to be a little late; no, I'm not going to hurry in the slime.
I reflect that being unique has its advantages as I reckon that bus driver and I didn't go through the reverse chicken routine ("you gonna go?" "I dunno, you gonna go?") because s/he knew that the lady on the skateboard bike didn't blow through four-way stops.
Green Street's quiet. Cop with lights between Wright and Sixth. Small prayer that it's something trivial. I make it through both lights on one green.
Green or Clark? Green or Clark? Not sure one is faster...
I will follow that van, that very interesting van with two bikes on the front and strange anomalies in the paint job and who knows what on the roof. Ah, he is turning, so I shall turn.
I've bonded with this van. Clark, it shall be. And I shall never see him again, as he gently accelerates forward... another unrequited bond...
Red light at Springfield and he's in the left lane, I'm in the right. I get to check out the bicycles in the front, which are much like the van. INteresting colors and definitely not new.
Green light. The venerable object accelerates even more gently through the intersection than I do. It's several hundred yards later when I glance over, and he's easing by me. What will our interaction be? Silly? Ambiguous (always, but how much)? Warm? Too warm? Cool?
He lifts his hand from the steering wheel and makes a slow, almost solemn gesture: a peace sign.
My heart sings "Amen." My smile covers the whole lane. Can he know that yes, I'm riding because I can't stomach buying gasoline without extreme provocation, because I really believe it contributes to the greed and carnage we are so thoroughly insulated from? Oh, probably not, but MAYBE. Maybe my drizzly self has brought him some joy, too. If I weren't the klutz that I am, I would have returned a gesture, but I'm a both-hands-on-the-bars rider.
and yes, I know, this is kinda like a 13-year-old with a crush on the lifeguard, reading all kinds of things into the tiniest gesture, but one lives in hope :-)
Oh, let's bring it back. Let's unite for peace. Let's communicate our unity, admit to a tiny bit of hope. I am going to practice. Even toting trainer and backpack, I should be able to make the secret sign. Let's make it not so secret.
Friday, November 10, 2006
Whew! Now that's off my chest, and I can go back to work! Just had to tell somebody...
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
Monday, November 06, 2006
Recently the news announced that a Meijer's (big box store I think I have darkened twice in my life because it's on North PRospect) will be built at the corner of Windsor and Philo Roads in Urbana.
While some folks were simply rolling eyes and saying "all we need is anotehr big box store!" and mourning the apparent "progress" of the "blighted Philo Road business district" to a "Philo Road Strip Mall," it occurred to some of us that perhaps we should take the bull by the horns and see if we could at least budge things in our direction. To wit: encourage the Meijer's folks to make their store bicyclist-friendly.
We start many rides out at Meadowbrook Park. This is going to increase traffic dramatically, and of course bicycles have not really been included in the road planning. I am told that this is largely because the planning happened before things like the Bicycling and Pedestrian Advisory Commission happened; I will believe this, rejoicing, when (if) I actually **see** something actually, physically DONE that makes way for active transportation... but yes, it can happen; I know it has.
If the store had a sheltered, secure place to park bikes and a way to get to the store without wandering, invisibly across parking lots and dodging distracted drivers, it could be a veritable *hub* for cycling and end up being a more desirable starting point instead of less. Imagine being able to drop in for munchies after the ride! I've already heard from one rider that Meijer's has more kinds of Clif bars than Wal-Mart. If they stocked tubes and CO2 cartridges they'd have our loyalty forever :-) (Okay, Miss JOnes does not indulge in Clif bars, as they give her gas, but perhaps they have PowerBars, too?)
So! I am going to compose a Publisher document, since I just went to a little workshop on using it, explaining that many citizens of Urbana are Greenthinkers who would enthusiastically swarm to Meijer's on their respective skates, cycles, and shoes, buying useless plastic items and superfluous regalia en masse. Or something like that.
Have yet to put 'puter on Gazelle. Rode Xtra today 'cause I'm going to the inside ride tonight and that enclosed chain isn't going to go on a trainer, methinks! Longing for a Tray Bien so I can carry the blue bike on the red bike.
Only the blue spoke light worked most of the time, so I ddin't look too much like a wannabee constabulary. On bumpy spots, the red and red/blue ones did their thing. It was also much later and rainier quieter than usual. We'll see how things go when campus is more active :)
The Gazelle's sizes of everything are Dutch, so it took research to determine what tube & tire size will work, even though the current ones are fine.
The forum on bikejournal is livened up with a "tourtoise/hair" contest between this turtle and HRLaughed, who has decided he wants to catch up to me in mileage (which has something to do with me daring him to do it) by the end of the month and reach 8000 for the year. I've got 350 miles on him but he's going to try to do 70 today... but that's for bikejournal :)
Now, for that publisher file...
Friday, November 03, 2006
and the moon will be just beginning to wane. How about a 6:00
pilgrimage to St. Boniface from Countryside Day School (Staley & Kirby,
Chamapaign), with hot cider at the end? (I promise, *not* the same
cider from last month, which would be applejack by now :))
I'm anticipating a crisp and silvery silence, with brilliant shimmering
shadows and magnificently magnified moonglow. You can truly connect with
your inner autumn and the seasons of the earth, with no bugs in your
teeth. It'll be FUN!
Or, let your motivation be wanting to get a few Outdoor November Miles
in... what's your yearly mileage goal?
How To Get Layered:
It promises to be in the forties, which means heavier socks and gloves
for most humans. Tights and sweats (or some other combination that
means two layers) can prevent the dreaded chapped legs; two layers under
a jacket works on top. WHen it gets "really" cold (whatever that means
for you), putting on two jackets makes a world of difference, but for
Yours Truly that's under 20. Ear coverage is a good idea.
This is *not* cold enough to make those ice crystals form in your lungs
if you breathe too fast :) There's also the Furnace Factor: you'll be
cold for ten minutes, then warm up and be toastier than you thought
possible - and if you want to avoid that prerequisite chill, just run in
place inside or jump rope or hop on the trainer for as much of a
headstart as you want to have.
See ya out there!
This 70-year old rode his bike to the airport, did the best he could at parking it, and found that the airport security had cut it to pieces by the time he came back. Seems this was enough to make a politician take note...
His 3-speed is up to speed now, and there's another surprise
One man -- and his bicycle -- can make a difference.
Doug Grow, Star Tribune
One man -- and his bicycle -- can make a difference.
At a news conference Wednesday afternoon, U.S. Rep. Jim Oberstar said that two words would be added to the next Federal Aviation Administration trust fund.
"Bicycle storage," Oberstar said of the addition he vows to make to the $3.5 billion fund.
That means airports will be able to apply for grants from the fund to build places to ride and park bikes safely.
With a big smile, Oberstar, a Democrat from Minnesota's Eighth Congressional District, nodded to airport officials.
"I'm betting the first applicant will be the Twin Cities airport," said Oberstar, the 16-term congressman from Chisholm, who this year is being challenged by Republican Rod Grams.
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
Nice thing about blogs is I can put all the followign stuff down and then edit it when it's passe :-): it's the bike club email of the day...
You'll find the newsletter at:
There are other websites focused on cycling in C-U:
www.champaigncountybikes.org (advocacy, etc)
http://thebikeproject.org/ (bike co-op)