Thursday, May 31, 2007
My brother had risen before me and driven away in the dawn.
I've got a check in my fanny pack that I gotta get in the bank.
Can't think of a last line to rhyme - I've got sleep deprivation to thank.
Hoping for a moonlight ride this evening but the skies may not cooperate. (I heard the moon will decide not to be blue and full. )
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
... I hear S. Race Street is hot and tarry and soiling clothing and bicycles. Bleeccchh! I don't know if the cyclist in question had fenders...
And starry, starry night I hope tomorrow for a full moon ride!
Back from the side... I'm waiting longer than usual at Prospect and ah! car behind me. I scoot over so he can get by... look back for the wave nad smile... and he's scowling and muttering disparaging things, and they do seem to be loosely directed at me. I suppose my existence is his bane, and I should have moved my shadow more quickly. FLashed him a peace sign to complete being my stereotypic self (I ductaped the one back on the backside of the Xtra this morning) and went on my way. Hope something mellows his mood before long... a blessing on him and anyone he endangers this day.
Construction is still very yucky at Bradley. Will they really have the entrance open next week?
Car title made itself manifest at 1:22 a.m. after finding several cycling gloves (two of 'em even matched and weren't together), my birth certificate, pictures of an old SO, some humorous scraps that I won't incriminate myself about, and that touching farewell composite of my face in assorted movie shots (done in 1980's technology: school copy machine). WIsh I could say things were tidier - but I can find the top of that big desk!
Now to get that "seven day driveaway sticker" ... and sell the litle car.
Monday, May 28, 2007
Not daunted by menacing radar and cloingy fog, I ventured out to that show and go and five folks assembled and we took off for a really nice ride out to Sadorus and Ivesdale. Alas, favorite people *were* dissuaded by radar. I might have been had I seen it... but it also didn't feel like it was going to rain and that's always worked before.
Sometimes it really stinks being half Vulcan. One never knows if it helps or hinders.
Friday, May 25, 2007
CafePress Crosses the Line on Cycling Products
"What on earth would possess someone to promote and sell promotional materials that makes light of - even legitimizes - hitting and verbally abusing cyclists? Ask the folks at CafePress, because I'm not sure I can answer that for them. They are an on-line store that has loads of other products that are clever, humorous, ironic, pointed, self-deprecating, off-the-wall.
"And then they have artwork that shows a cyclist getting hit by a motorist, with an accompanying explicit epithet that anyone that's ridden a bike in the last 24 hours will likely have heard, along the lines of "excuse me, but I think you are in my way." They have it for bumper stickers, mugs, T-shirts.
"I wonder if they also have klever klan merchandise encouraging folks to break race laws. Perhaps snappy graphics showing people being persecuted for their sexual orientation or religious beliefs of other lifestyle choices. Is there a line in humorous "I support torture" stickers that flout international law as well as domestic laws and good taste?
"So why would they think it is OK to glorify violence against cyclists? Free speech - to promote behavior that kills and injures people every single day of the year already? We'll be waiting to hear from them."
What galls me is that CafePress does, I do believe, have the usual standards that you can't post things that promote terrorism or violent crime (don't know about, say, smokin' stuff) - and clearly they don't think this is in that category, though I do suppose it could have slipped in under the radar. Let's just see how long it takes them to respond.
Thursday, May 24, 2007
How about bringing your own? Google 'reusable bags" or:
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
This a.m. I looked out the door and a cyclist was going by; picked up the helmet and walked out the door and an older couple on cycles was going by the other way. Hopped on my bike and eased down the driveway and an electric car was scooting up the street. (No traditional automobiles were moving.)
Wake up, C-U... the future is here!
And... another case against sidewalk riding, with apologies to that van driver. I was heading towards the Parkland entrance on the Bradley sidewalk (believe it or not, I really do forget "take the Southern route to miss the construction these two weeks") and thought I had it timed. The guy on Clayton wouldn't get to turn right until the line of traffic coming towards me was through, and there were two cars left just as I go there... welp, except I couldn't see their traffic light at all (the E and W lights are separate) and it had gone red and those two cars stopped as I blithely road right in front of the guy on Clayton, who had already eased off the brake (but not started anywhere). I would like to think that the light hadn't actually **changed,** but I can't say for sure. It was another reminder that important little things like traffic lights aren't placed so that you can easily see 'em if you're not on the road. I'll be on the road tomorrow...
The latter section grants public entities absolute immunity from liability for injuries resulting from a dangerous condition on a “trail used for” certain purposes, “including...all types of vehicular riding,” or on an unpaved road that provides access to such activities. "
Welp, it's pretty clear. It's not a road, it's a trail. They don't have to make it useful or safe. Heavens, why would they want to be responsible for that ?!?
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
Had a hokeyspokes happy last night, I believe... that car turning from Washington into Anderson was gong a lot faster than it took that curve - I do believe the orange side-glow made for slowing down a second earlier, for another non-close-call.
Okay, it's a slow week so I *will* get around to reading this document and sending comments, and I'll post 'em. They'll take comments until June 6.
Monday, May 21, 2007
So. He was too tired to make it a century - but he'd had to pass me, and at the end of it all, I was definitely not feeling baked. (Perhaps slightly sauteed, but not baked.)
If we raced, he would soundly thrash me. It's the converse of the "if you want to train for racing, you don't just do miles, you have to do quality miles." He was doing "quality miles" by racing definition... I *suppose.* I have to wonder, though. We do have this remnant of Puritanism (or something related to a form of savage honor per other ancient cultures) that puts a value on pain. Yes, since the difference between first place and the other guys is often "who is willing to suffer," riding in that threshold is good practice enduring pain. However, if I don't *need* to be first - if I just want to get there strongly - do I need that practice? Do I need to learn to be insensitive to pain? There are disadvantages to that for my well-being as well as others. There's ample pain that I don't inflict on myself, I do believe :-)
Now, I have been perusing mine on archives and I promise to wander back to more commuting comments, tomorrow :-)
Okay, first, I'm really wishing that I could be one of those Trek Five Women Who Ride. I want to Try New Gear... wishing they'd post something online and keep me from holding my breath.
And, for a shorter reading: the Secret is not to push things so that they actually go out of balance. After 91 miles my muscles were fatigued, but not in pain. THe habit of frequently easing up on the saddle meant my but was sore, but not very. Minimal chafing 'cause I picked the right shorts. Minimal sun-fatigue because zinc oxide is GOOD. Will remember gloves and glasses next time. Had no problem hopping on the red bike for another 17 miles after a shower, without being a danger to myself or otehrs.
Rode in this morning and there's a little fatigue but I'm ready to roolll.
Long version: Got up at dawn and put on the shorts & T-shirt and forgot the Pig SNout. Yesterday I was Just Another Rider. Stuffed 3 power bars into my fanny pack, the pump & stuff in the camelBak, had a bagel and cheese and a big glass of tea, filled the bottle with Gatorade and was on the bike and rolling by 6:10.
Teeny pretense of a headwind (by Illinois standards; probably 3 mph) and basically no traffic made for a nice ride out to the Monticello Lions Club ride, which still has the annoying habit of having the rest stop for the 16 mile rout at... 13 miles. I saw a rider off in the distance once, but it must have been somebody faster than I and I decided *not* to chase it down.
Therein is The Main Secret, I *think.* When it's long, stuff the competitive stuff and stick to "pushing a little."
Ticked off the mileage and affirmed the accuracy of the speedo, which I seem to have guessed right the first time for calibration, tho' I will compare my speed to otehrs one of these nights. Went over the horrendous "old route ??" (Ten?) stretch of so-called pavement patches and then through Whiteheath and thought fond thoughts of Whiteheathens here and too quickly gone. Noted where the official route cut through and went on by for the stretch of 55 mph road... since not a single car went by, that didn't matter.
Monticello, 8:15. THe group who'd also ridden out was there, but I let 'em start ahead of me. I took off and just enjoyed the miles and miles, passing about 20 people and being passed by 2 until the very end, and a soul or two who saw me in their mirrors and took off :) At the end, many of those horses sensed the stable and charged by... I was thinking of the ride back. Had pork chop sammich and tea, which completely revived me.
Ride back was reasonably strong and fast with prob'ly a 6-8 mph tailwind. Wished I had sped things up a *tiny* bit because I could have almost made it back in time for the 1:00 bike coop meeting.
Arrived home at 1:15. Pushed enough to average 2 minutes better than 15 mph. because I went for 15.1 until town, when traffic's more important than speed.
SHower, gatorade, email check and it's off to chat about bicycles and Champaign, and the Places of Concern (can we say Prospect Avenue?). Side trip to Champaign Cycle for gloves and glasses and saying hello. Side trip to Kaufman Lake Path to show fresh pavement (but confirm that getting under the interstate is still nasty).
*Two* packages of ramen noodles and a two beers. That should restore the carbs :)
Go to bed and dream of Trek Picking Me and trying, oh, that week of brevets up Wisconsin Way ... I'm sure they'd let me off work... these delusions of grandeur will pass...
Saturday, May 19, 2007
Proud to say that we only went 10 miles (to TOlono) before I actually *checked* that wheel to find the brakes were dragging. Now, when I get it down to the first stop to rest that you need bcause a rider is working too hard...
Friday, May 18, 2007
Thursday I dropped by my LBS after work for its "repeated application of penetrating catalyst," which sort of almost seemed to make things move a little bit... but not really. By my ankle there appeared a thing of beauty - a vintage Montgomery Ward battery charger, cords neatly looped and clamps tidily arranged, with a bolt wedged into it and the words "save bolt" indelibly inked beside it.
HOw many things do we have that are that simply mechanical, reliable, that we're not going to throw out in three years because the electronics will be obsolete? It made me homesick for sheds and workshops with old, reliable tools; you could see how they worked and maybe even fix them when they broke.
I studied it before I used it so I could try to return it as tidily, and there was a bud vase hanging around, so it was returned with a couple of roses from the bush in the yard (which my man who does the yard with that kind of equipment pruned back and it's full of buds and blooms).
My car battery is now fully charged so I can take it to Good Year to get all kinds of things done so it can make the transition from Garage Loiterer to Independent Taxi: New tires, oil change with synthetic, and a good once over - and yes, a new headlight would help. Hmmm... p'raps I should ask about local painters.
THe charger was my only success last night, but today I successfully put that computer on my fast bike. Amazing :) Might just get one for the other bikes too.
Pause at LBS for wrestling and lubrication and yes to pick up charger.
Going up John. Meet 7.2FX at Mattis/John. Take off and he goes to sidewalk; I do street and gain many yards. Classify him as sidewalk newbie.
He is beside me, asking "How does that work?" I explain Xtra. He is impressed. He's also having no trouble keeping up but it's uphill and I *am* carrying a flogging battery charger! But on the downhill he says "now it is fun," but I speed up too.
But at Prospect he goes right, and sprints out into the left lane, dodges traffic and bounds to sidewalk and then is on the road again one block up continuing East (as we were on John).
So I think he is that guerilla style commuter that uses both sidewalk and street for max efficiency (as young males would be prone to)... I considered the options and figured that those transitions from sidewalk to street were a little too risky for my taste (and acceleration).
Thursday, May 17, 2007
38 people and I think it had the "critical volume" (to avoid the connotation-laden "critical mass") so that people felt that "hey, there's solidarity here" feeling. It was impressive looking from the rear and I think the route was a good one for visibility without danger. And hey, I even accidentally went the right direction so it was mostly right turns! And I got a birthday dinner and birthday black and tans afterwards even :)
THinking that the flags I saw from another group would have been good.
Bike to Work Day tomorrow... but I *haven't* committed to doing anything and I'm taking the day off :-) So... should I sleep in or oh, knock off a metric by noon?
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
8 miles (Google says 7.9), and of course it doesn't print nicely from that setup. Hmmm...
I didn't count - tomorrow I may - but it seemed there really were as many cycles as cars on the roads I used this a.m. (Northern route.) There were five bikes on the rack when I put mine on there. Guess that tells me it's not students who have been riding in - most of the bikes were familiar. So, marketing mavens, that would indicate that staff/ faculty are more likely to pedal than students, whom we might have assumed were more amenable to a less expensive alternative? What are the factors - speed? (Students may need to get to their next destination quickly, whether it's the day care center or the job or the party) Cargo? (Books. Books. Could also be the reason I didn't see faculty/staff bikes before - they may have less to carry this week.) Mindset? (Students are mere sheep being led by the conglomerate forces whilst faculty/staff are occasionally independent thinkers? SNork :))
Monday, May 14, 2007
I *think* I have everything I need to make smoothies at the Monday ride tonight. Last year I ran late so I just did a little ride and then cooked 'em up. Hoping to do enough to keep on that 1000 mile pace.
... succeeded, tho' I turned back at St. Boniface so it's a 39 not a 44 mile day.
Friday, May 11, 2007
Knees were a little sore and muscles a little tired from Wednesday's 42, and the seat is still low on the Xtra, so I figured if I wanted extra miles I wanted easy extra miles so I'd ride home and take the Trek out.
It got very quiet at work about the time Rich posted a "show and go, level 1.5-2, 6:15."
... to make a long story short, I borrowed a 5200 and had *really* easy extra miles, 22 of 'em, though right now I'm ready for a nap!
Imagine that blues piano hammering out the rhythm... imagine Saffire (uppity blues women) at the mic ... okay, there oughta be some choreography too... (c'mon Trek, sign me up and I"ll give you rights to it :))
I'm holdin out for a carbon fiber frame
Nothin' gets me strokin' like a carbon fiber frame can
My legs can't wait to straddle
That carbon fiber saddle
And ride that baby all day long.
I've shared my chamois with aluminum toys
They're light and fast like a bony little boy
All that bumpin' and a grindin'
Is too hard on my behind and
So I'm lookin' for a carbon fiber frame.
I've gotten close and comfy with a frame of steel
It's strong and it's supple and I loooooove the way it feels
But it takes so long to get it up ... to speed
A carbon fiber frame is what I need.
CODA: A carbon fiber frame is what I need!
... and if I can't have the whole frame, I'd settle for a good fork...
... now that I"ve ridden one, maybe there's a third verse? A new song?
All that bumpin' and a grindin' is so hard on my behind
Thursday, May 10, 2007
Trying to summon the moxie to at least ask about rental car options for the week of GITAP. WOuldn't any car dealer be proud to provide the sag wagon for the week? DOntcha think??? Maybe??? (except the dealership's here and the ride's up there...details...)
No confrontations this a.m. commute, even though it was by way of Marketview and Office Depot. Perhaps exam stress has subsided. Knees are talking to me, urging me to raise that seat - but I'll need the rubber hammer to encourage it. Rode home via BOndville & St. Boniface which did nice things towards a big mileage week but I didn't have it in me to make a pie and chat at the same time. Gotta make those fresh eggs happy meringues, though... tonight :)
Wednesday, May 09, 2007
Yesterday's saunter was a big group that got broken up quickly... coming back a gardening lady referred to us as "brave!" and I was asked, "what did she mean?" which is encouraging; my fellow biker apparently didn't think it was horribly courageous to be On The Road With Those Big CARS!!!. It *does* require some courage... now the big question is whether the gardener in question thought such courage was either unattainable or ill-advised for mere mortals, which would be a pretty pathetic commentary on our culture.
However! The last stretch of Bradley was pretty hairy; it's whacked from four to two lanes with intense concrete-rending construction right there in your face. I hopped to that sidewalk and breezed past the waiting folks and saw that construction implement tossing debris every which way, and was getting stuff in my eyes even from 20 yards away, so I decided I wasn't going to cruise between things (as the cars were) but would go the extra half mile to Duncan... even though there was no more sidewalk. So out into the skinny lane I go, anticipating that those impatient drivers would soon be on my backside, trying to climb the jersey wall to get around me.
Here comes this big ol' truck in my rear-view, except it's not getting any bigger, 'cause he's just hanging back, letting me proceed my uphill speed until I could turn off. Green View was its name. I think I like Green View.
Tuesday, May 08, 2007
Duly noted that the Trek monthly email had Xtracycle as its gizmo-of-the-month :) :) Maybe they saw it at one of them thar trade shows... or maybe it was on one of the applications for "women who ride." It *didn't* name the five selected so of course I'm still holding my breath. Made it hard to ride today :)
OF course, I still commute *home* on exactly the route I've deemed inferior in the morning. It's still got left turns on it - tho' not with the visibility issues of Randolph & John, and maybe it's those only-partially-caffeinated folks, though I've always felt like drivers were more dangerous in the afternoon.
At any rate, on the morrow we're going North. (No, not to Alaska :-))
This week I've been going for the extra half mile John Street Route. Based on the sample size of 3, I'm going back North. Getting across Lincoln isn't really so bad tho' I can see a need for improvement. The bus behind me on Gregory was nice & didn't pass me before it turned... crossing at Neil and Hessel was a breeze... but then going left on John I got to play chicken with a driver who didn't see me, saw me & slowed, reconsidered and started forward, then stopped after all... since his window was open I found myself saying, "Pardon me?" in a non-supplicatory, yet non-sarcastic voice. He donned a silver star and badge, so I imagine there was a security guard somewhere soon to be relieved. Hopefully he can figure out that there are these people on bicycles using the roads, too, and we're not some kind of hallucination to be ignored.
Then there was the Prospect headache. No, not the "problem" of waiting for the traffic to clear, but the problem of those "nice" drivers in the right lane making a break in the traffic line to "let you across" without realizing that there is a *left* lane where these things called other cars go streaking by. I *think* this driver now understands (after all kinds of stalls and starts and different cars in the left lane doing their things) the issue but I'm not sure. Clark & Prospect has a less-well-defined "clear" period but I prefer that... tho' there should be a better way...
At any rate, Green Street proper is consistently more pleasant and less conflicted; the complicated Clark/Main/Logan/White combination even more so.
Friday, May 04, 2007
Stolen from the "I want to see, too!" blog (http://picsiechick.blogspot.com/) called "torch song," and I hope she doesn't mind a little visual publicity. Which by the way* Nanci Griffith has an album of. (Welp, most of her albums had a lot of them, but this album is all about 'em.) Hoowwwwl.... ;)
* This nonstandard sentence construction confounds me because I can't think of another way to say "and proceeding to a somewhat related topic..."
Media aside, the meeting was well-attended with over 60 folks. Show of hands at the beginning indicated that 30+ people had heard about it via email; roughly 8 folks via fliers or bike hangers and about *3* via radio/TV. I would think this doesn't mean to forget the fliers - we want to be a *presence* that the general public is aware of, even if they don't come to meetings if they're not already invested enough to be on an email list. Recreational riders were also in the acute minority; over half the people there used the bike for practical purposes and had a green-looking lean. Hmmm.... can't remember any other questions (nobody asked "who's got more than 500 miels? 1000? ... :-)) The media didn't seem to notice that.
Then Ed Barsotti showed a good Powerpoint about different cycling route options. The media didn't seem to notice that.
Then we each colored in our personal copies of the regional map with our ideas. Of course, Ed's got my whole map that we spent a lot more time on... but I highlighted my favorite issues - overpasses, access over the RRs, and for my student, the downtown area.
Then we broke up into regional groups & I picked the NE because it has an overpass and there were just three of us there.
The nifty thing was that basically, the six groups were harmonious. ONly one table cited having "different kinds of bicyclists" - in other words, a fair number of people who thought bicycles Needed to Be Separated Completely, vs. experienced cyclists. (Ed Barsotti's p[resentataion addressed this. The media missed that, too.) Generally, there honestly weren't a lot of "we need bike paths! we need bike paths!" people there. The tone was more "these are the places we need safe bicycle acces to," and people actually focused a lot of attention on arteries, not teeny side roads that people could ride on for a half mile for their exercise and look like bike paths.
The other nifty thing was that so many different groups had priorities which were contiguous with the next group's. So, we noted access to downtown from NE... and downtown noted access to us.
We did have a brief commentary from a member of the previous bicycling commision, drily wishing us luck, stating that his nose was a bit out of joint because in the past, cycling commission contributions were simply ignored. I can't tell if it's freshly out of joint and/or why ... I'm glad to say that speakers were able to address the history brought up because actually, yes, they did know about the failed efforts to make California a bikes-only lane. I think the comments by Brandon Bowersox about that were on target (as opposed to political blather) when he noted that we simply know a *lot* more about what works and what doesn't work. What *I* don't know is what kinds of things those folks put forward... and how much effort they made in educating people, as we're going to have to persist in doing, to keep that "bicyclists want paths" mindset from paving over all efforts to do anything different.
I suppose we're also going ot have to figure out a way to prevent the public from being afraid of cyclists on the streets, too.
Thursday, May 03, 2007
Meeting tonight at teh Urbana Middle School Cafetorium. Going to try to prevent it from interfering with my Big Mileage Goals! (Lights are good :))
Successfully got drum brake back on *and*, oh happy day, managed to bend the fender holders back so the fender doesn't rub on the tire.
Can't make left turn from Country Fair to Bradley; had to ride the wrong-side sidewalk because I decided not to take Duncan the long way around.
Wednesday, May 02, 2007
“When I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the future of the human race.”--H.G. Wells
1903: Benjamin Spock, pediatrician and author, (Baby and Child Care) is born in New Haven, Connecticut.
1921: Satyajit Ray, Academy Award winning filmmaker (Apu trilogy), is born in Kolkata, India.
1924: Theodore Bikel, Austrian-Jewish singer, actor, (Fiddler on the Roof), is born in Vienna, Austria.
1936: Engelbert Humperdinck (born Arnold George Dorsey), Anglo-Indian singer, is
born in Madras, India.
A boy told me
if he roller-skated fast enough
his loneliness couldn’t catch up to him,
the best reason I ever heard
for trying to be a champion.
What I wonder tonight
pedaling hard down King William Street
is if it translates to bicycles.
A victory! To leave your loneliness
panting behind you on some street corner
while you float free into a cloud of sudden azaleas,
pink petals that have never felt loneliness,
no matter how slowly they fell.
--Naomi Shihab Nye