The Sharrownator 3000, the machine into which I enter various bike commute "inputs" and receive a fully realized, borderline terrible blog post, is still in the shop. Apparently, it's increasingly difficult to find cathode ray tubes and the rare Norwegian butter it needs to keep functioning. That's the last time I ever buy a 'blogging machine' on CraigsList. Missed connection, indeed. Oh well. In place of my usual, here's a post from Lisa, the Rambling Rider, on tonight's ride home. Approximately, one million 'thank yous' to Lisa, who I absolve from the onerous responsibility of one million 'you're welcomes.' Read her blog. It's really good.
Going home, I always approach my commute with dread. By the end of the work day, I am tired, I am hungry, and I am wishing I could just click my heels three times and say "there's no place like home" and be home with a nice, hot meal waiting for me. Alas, I am not in Oz, and this also ain't Kansas.
But! It is now light enough that I don't need my lights or reflective gear, and it is warm enough that I don't need my flap cap or my scarf or my lobster gloves. Hooray! That makes me happy, and in this spirit, I unlock my bike and start on my ride home.
Intersection #1: where the car drivers and I do a little dance, make a little love, and play chicken. I wave them along, and then cross.
A few feet in, and then the pain starts. The saddle starts hurting me as I pedal. ow ow ow. And then downhill. Whee!
Intersection #2: where I wait for what seems like forever until I cross. This is where some bikers will cheat and either bike on the sidewalk to avoid having to wait for the cars or bike on the crosswalk to force the cars to stop. I don't do either, but there is a pedestrian who is waiting to cross, and for whom the cars will not stop for; I don't know why. Finally, she takes a step into the crosswalk and the cars stop-- and then this is my cue to cross. I do cheat by biking into the parking lot. Is biking through the parking lot better than taking the road? On one hand, the parking lot has its share of perils, like car drivers who back out of the parking space without looking, or kids who are running around, also without looking. On the other hand, taking the road means pedaling furiously uphill and making violent gestures to make the left turn. Some days, I open Door #1, other days, Door #2. The Tiger or the Tiger.
Intersection #3: another wait, but shorter. I signal a left turn, and ride in the sharrows. Some days, I am harassed by taking the lane, some days, it's smooth sailing. Today, no harassment. Good. I admit that I Idaho stop the stop signs, but I look both ways and slow down.
Intersection #4: lots of folks walking their dogs. I downshift, and downshift again. And then, The Hill. Today, I decide to granny-gear it and spin. I pat myself on the back (figuratively-- I don't want to let go over the handlebars at this point) for keeping an even cadence.
Home stretch. Uneventful, which is how I like it. I pedal on, glide up to my apartment, carry my bike up the steps, and fumble for my keys. The dog barks, as he usually does, and I open the door and arrive. whew. 23 minutes and 27 seconds.