They're looking at me, like, who are you to stare at us? But hey, I'm just in total admiration.
Sunday, August 30, 2009
A politician from Idaho, that home state of mine where independence and autonomy are worshipped more than God and Mammon, has proposed laws to limit the length of time that cars can idle, to decrease local pollution that can rival LA (not really, but it makes a good sound bite). Next thing you know, someone will suggest that Idahoans give up their pick-ups, SUVs, and 80 mph freeway speeds. But don't mention public transportation or bicycle commuting since the former is for the poor and latter for liberal wimps (like me).
An analysis of police reports on 2,752 bike-car accidents in Toronto found that clumsy or inattentive driving by motorists was the cause of 90 percent of these crashes. Among the leading causes: running a stop sign or traffic light, turning into a cyclist’s path, or opening a door on a biker.
Thursday, August 27, 2009
I was just trying to be my recycling best, saving wire hangers to untwist and turn into garden stakes. So a bunch of these hangers are in the back of the volvo station wagon. I'm real late and drive to the bus stop with my bike pushed inside, parking a few blocks away. I pull the bike out; it's dark; I start riding, it takes more effort than usual but I press on to the bus stop. Bike on bus, then off; light enough to see now: a bunch of wire hangers entangle the back wheel and chain. The derailor is bent, maybe beyond repair--I'm distraught. I go to Costco, buy a new bike--I'm happy, it has disk brakes. Maybe this winter I can make one usable bike out of the two broken bikes now cluttering my garage.
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
The headlines screamed, "Mayor in Jeopardy," referring to the two-term mayor's third place standing as the early results came in. But I was more interested in the result of the challenge to the city's plan to place a 20 cent tax on all disposable shopping bags. The plastics industry put 1.4 million into ads against it and had its way. Supporters found a positive spin, saying the issue had at least raised awareness.
"Paper or plastic, sir?"
"Neither, thanks; I'll just stuff things in my backpack."
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Grade school I walked (I would have thought at least a couple of miles, but 0.97 miles by mapquest; what a disappointment).
Junior high school: 1.4 miles on my blue (color of my eyes) 3-speed Schwinn or when a new junior high was built, a 1.1 mile walk 1.1.
High school: ashamed to say that bicycles weren't cool, so I drove a 52 chevy until a totalled it. serves me right. Lost a front tooth as a continual reminder of the error of my ways.
College: lived on campus; subway everywhere else
Mission: walked, bus
Grad school: bicycle, classic Raleigh until I left it in the back yard and it was stolen
First jobs: carpool, then bus (every day across the Golden Gate Bridge; inspiring)
Post grad school: back to bike, sometimes subway, but bike was cheaper
Then several years wandering in the wilderness, until I returned to run/bus or bike/bus about a dozen years ago.
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Variation on a theme: last wednesday, had my backpack ready by 11pm, 26 pounds worth, then up at 5, on bike by 5:15, on bus 5:30. In nicer weather, with a lighter pack, I would have ridden longer, to a bus stop 6 miles away instead of 2. Arrive at 6:15, up the hill to the hospital by 6:30 for a 24-hr call. Next morning, bike a couple of miles to transit center, then bus to airport, leaving my bike securely locked. Sunday carpool to airport, light rail to downtown, bus to home. I'll run to bus Monday, pick up my bike, back at last on routine.
Thursday, August 13, 2009
A not unsubstantial number of drivers let me know when they disapprove of my selective disregard for stop signs and traffic lights. I see it as a safety issue. Suppose I'm lined up with a bunch of cars at a red light. The cross street has no cars. Which is safer: me in an empty intersection, or lined up in the starting box with a bunch of testosterone-maddened motorists?
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Shoes still wet, so will add a pair of socks to my pack. Gloves dry, thanks to microwave. Yes, I did think about putting the shoes in the microwave, but if Sage ever found out... Needed my rain gear in the morning, stuffed it pack in the afternoon for perfect cycling weather on the way home.
Monday, August 10, 2009
Sure, the weather forecast included rain, but so it had all week. So the gray sky this morning did not move me. And when I looked out my office window at 5:30 and saw it raining, still thought no big deal, I'll just make a few more phone calls, answer a few more emails. At 7:30, I decided raining or not, gotta go. I'm wet on the bus, and wetter still on the final leg home, thinking, where are my waterproof pants, jacket; my shoes will still be wet tomorrow; why don't I have fenders? A recent study showed that volunteers who cursed while their hands were in ice cold water experienced less pain than those who did not curse. Well, I don't know about ice water, but it works for bike riding in the rain.
Sunday, August 9, 2009
Yesterday was the first Tacoma-Seattle auto commute this year. I brought Bryn's car home because I'll have to take Sage to the airport Wednesday morning. It felt strangely strange to be driving. Bicycled to church today, arriving a little sweaty perhaps, but a small price to pay.