Recently, the Lincoln Park Bikeshare station was expanded. Now, when I ride by in the morning, instead of an empty station, I typically see about 4 or 5 waiting bikes. This seems like a good thing. I think that even more pressure will be taken off the station once the 15th and Independence, SE station comes online, which I hope will be soon, as it will be my "home" station, insofar as it will be the one closest to my actual home.
Another day, another wet commute. Chilly, too, but nothing too dissuading. For the hardcores at least. Nearly everyone I saw was bundled to some degree. If not a helmet, at least a hat, which is just good sense.
Does anyone out there like charity? Not just the Christian virtue, but the thing where you give your money to people or organizations that previously didn't have your money out of the kindness of your heart. Well, in the month of December, I've got some half-baked idea that maybe I should be engaged in helping you help me help you (you follow?) transfer your monies to charity. So, here's what I'm willing to do: use this blog towards a charitable end. This will probably take two forms, the first of which is my buying a bunch of TFTS-themed "merch" and selling it you and giving all the profits to charity (I'm thinking WABA, but if you've got some better bike-themed organization in mind, please suggest). So if you want "merch" (and really, why wouldn't you? Everyone loves buying stuff festooned with the logos of their favorite lunchtime/bathroom blogging diversion), get ready. Think of how cool/awkward it will be when you roll up on another awesome Tales from the Sharrows reader (or me) and have the same button displayed on your pannier or backpack.
The second thing I'm willing to do, and for a much higher dollar value because this is clearly a much more valuable service, is blog your commute. If you give, I don't know, let's say $50, to WABA, I will meet you at your domicile or your office and ride with you and then I'll blog your (and my) irreverent observations. What a deal! Have you always wanted to reach an audience of dozens of some
So that's my charity plan. If I can figure out how, I'll set up some sort of PayPal dealy and we can try to make this thing go. 'Tis the season for responsible and thoughtful charitable giving and, in spite of that, there's this also.
I spent a good portion of my ride today thinking about bike commuting and gender difference, perhaps spurred on by a series I tweets I saw yesterday and recurring conversations with the Official Wife. I think I can say unironically that I'm a feminist, categorizing feminism as the understanding that men and women are equal and that societal, cultural and institutional relationships do not, but should, recognize this fact. (I spent most of my climb up Massachusetts thinking about this definition and that's the best I could do. If you ever want to distract yourself during a ride, that's one way.) I saw a number of woman bike commuters out today, pretty much the same proportion as any other day, in spite of the somewhat gross weather. I don't know to what effect weather considerations factor in the decision to bike commute, but, based on my anecdotal observations, I don't think that they impact the decision to ride for one gender over the other- that is to say, for those who have cleared cleared the initial hurdle in deciding to commute by bicycle, adverse conditions will cull riders in a non-gender-specific way. But, perhaps interestingly, perhaps not, most of the woman bike commuters I saw today were wearing jeans, which definitely makes me think that dress codes and "work-appropriate"appearance play a large and important role in circumscribing the number of woman bike commuters. (This isn't an original idea). I wonder what expectations there are for female professional appearance in heavy bike-riding countries.
Looks like it's raining now, so it should be a good trip home. Just treat the rain with equanimity and it'll be fine. And have lights and fenders and such.