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25June
2010

from another galaxy

maura @ 11:23 pm

Sorry it’s been so quiet ’round these parts. I’ve been thinking on a meaty post for a while now but haven’t had time to get it out of my head. Sometimes when there’s a big ‘un brewing it makes me procrastinate posting something smaller in the meantime, as if I’m worried that I’ll waste all the creativity on an intermediate, less substantial blathering. Silly, is what it is.

So I’m back and have good news: I rode my bike to work today! w00t and YAY! I’m happy to report that I didn’t encounter any traffic-related problems, nor was I too hot when I got to work (I wore shorts + brought a change of clothes), nor did my bike get stolen. Even though it was the sole bike locked to the rack all day. I only went to check on it once, twice if you count when I had to go out for coffee because I stupidly allowed a meeting to end after 3 on Friday which means that all of the coffee locales on campus were closed, bah.

The route to work is pretty easy (downhill most of the way there) + straightforward, and nearly all of the streets I ride on have bike lanes. It was funny to commute with the hardcore bikers, clearly on their way to the Brooklyn or Manhattan Bridge. You could tell they were SERIOUS by their gnarly rides and the way they rushed past me as I rode my old lady bike (3 speeds! a coaster and a hand brake!). Dudes, it’s not a race! We’ll all get there eventually.

I still feel like a moron when it’s time to lock the bike up. I’m just not coordinated enough nor have I had enough practice to deal with the U lock and the cable (for the front wheel) and the variety of bike racks out there without looking like a spaz. It’s also kind of a pain to have to stash the bike in our basement. Bikes are quite popular ’round these parts and it’s hard to find a parking place.

But these are minor concerns, really. Yay for the bike and yay for the cute little cow, pig and sheep stickers I put on it, too! I recently unearthed some vintage Sanrio stickers so I’ll be stickerin’ that bad boy right up — I’ll post a picture soon.

les tags: , ,
16June
2010

spin that record

maura @ 10:36 pm

I am afraid to ride my bike to work. There, I said it! The bike’s been sitting in our living room for nearly 2 weeks now. It could be down in the basement hanging out with all the other bikes, but I keep telling myself that I’ll ride it to work tomorrow, yeah, that’s it.

I know I’ve whined about this before (here and here). I guess really I am still nervous about all of those things. It’s worth noting that I haven’t ridden my scooter to work since my fall last fall (ha!). That was ha! for the rhetorical turn, which Wikipedia tells me is called antanaclasis, not ha! for falling. Falling sucked.

I don’t rightly know what to do about this. It’s kind of ironic, because I just today told someone that sometimes it’s good to do something that scares you, because it knocks you out of your comfort zone which can often be good. The example I used was when I went to present at that conference 2 wks ago — I actually didn’t know anyone else there, which is sometimes hard for me (I kind of hover over the line between introvert and extrovert). But clearly I really should have used my fear of self-propelled wheeled transport, which is a much better example (and doesn’t sound all smug).

It’s not that I’m scared to ride the bike at all. We’ve been riding in the park many weekends (with a more or less whiny kid, depending), which has been fine. But there are no cars in the park on weekends. And I never lock the bike + leave it anywhere. And I’ve done it before which means that I know what will happen. And…

I never really think of myself as a fear change kind of person, but clearly I am, at least in some ways. I do feel like I’ve pushed myself in many respects in the recent past — this afternoon I had a conversation in which I was reminded that when I was younger I really, really didn’t want to do any teaching, which is pretty much the exact opposite of how I feel now. But it is just so easy to come up with reasons not to ride my bike to work that it’s totally evident that I’m just scared.

Things will have to change soon — it’s just getting too hot for me to walk to work in the mornings. Plus, I suspect that the bike is actually the fastest way to get to work, and with school ending and camp starting soon for Gus our mornings will shift a bit later, so I could use that extra time. Stay tuned.

les tags: , ,
14September
2009

moving, watching, working, sleeping

maura @ 11:10 pm

So, I bought a bike. It’s funny, I’ve wanted a bike for ages, pining after the ones I walk by on the street, and then I finally get one and I don’t even mention it. Partly that’s because I haven’t ridden it as much as I’d like. We got them (one for Gus too, a used one for $40!) in late July but have been so busy that we’ve only really ridden them a couple of times. Gus essentially taught himself how to ride his. It came without training wheels: he just jumped on and pedaled away like he was born cycling. This past Sunday he and I rode the entire loop in the park, 3.35 miles!

Even though we haven’t ridden much I love my bike. Love love love it. It’s an older, used girl’s bike in pretty good condition, with 3 speeds and both coaster and hand brakes. It’s sort of a cloudy gray color, nothing fancy, but very dependable. Solid, you might say. I have yet to ensticker it but rest assured that’s coming soon.

I am still a little nervous about riding it on the street, but it’s getting better. Today was a work-from-home day and I decided to take my lunchtime to do a trial ride to work and back, about 20 minutes each way (so fast!). There’s a good route from here to there with bike lanes on most of the streets, and other than the occasional pesky van or delivery truck parked in the bike lane it was pretty easy. I even stopped to practice locking the bike up. I do admit to a tinge of nerves, still, when I think of leaving the bike locked up all day while I’m at work. I hope that it’s too old + boring to steal, but what if not?

On the bright side, I am already making a list of the bike accessories I will need to get. The bike has fenders (a plus), but I could use a rack over the rear wheel with those awesome folding side baskets to hold my bag + stuff. And a bell, of course. And maybe one of those gel seat covers, oooh, squishy.

“But,” you may ask, “whatever will you do with your scooter?” Never fear, there’s still a place for the scooter in my transportation stable. I’m not really prepared to ride the bike into Manhattan, so when I have meetings I will bring the scooter instead. And one good thing about the scooter is that I can fold it up and bring it to my office, so I don’t have to worry that it will get stolen. On the other hand, since the wheels are plastic it can be nearly unusable in even a light drizzle.

Maybe changing it up a bit is the best way to go: a couple of scooter days and a couple of bike days each week. Sounds like a planonus.

les tags: , ,
18June
2008

bernice runs for her train

maura @ 10:38 pm

Wait, I was going to tell you about bicycles, wasn’t I?

I’ve wanted a bike for a while.* For green reasons, health reasons, fun reasons. But I haven’t been able to get myself to buy one. Partly it was a money thing: when we were on our eXtreme library school budget it didn’t seem properly thrifty to buy a bike. But there are other reasons too.

* I had a bike in college, but I didn’t use it for transportation as much as for health/fun rides along the lake between Hyde Park and the Loop. It’s a beautiful ride (and easy, too). But then the bike didn’t fit into the Uhaul when we moved east after college, so it lingered in the Midwest until Jonathan’s stepfather finally gave it to Goodwill (with my blessing!).

Reason #1: Can’t seem to find the time to go to a bike store. This is kind of lame, but bicycles are complicated and expensive, and it seems like it would take several time-intensive trips to a bike store to get one. I guess if I really wanted one I would make the time, right? Which leads me to…

Reason #2: See above re: complicated. I have a hard enough time doing maintenance work on the house and the car — it’s just not something that interests me. And I would feel bad about spending money on bike tune-ups when I could (theoretically) DIY.

Reason #3: What if the bike gets stolen? Would I have to get 3 million locks? What about the seat? I see some bikes with no seat — are they stolen or taken away by their owners for security reasons?

Reason #4 (possibly the most neurotic reason, certainly the most important): Brooklyn streets are full of cars driving recklessly. And, for that matter, they are also full of hardcore cyclists biking in a hardcore manner. I am not the world’s most graceful person. Reckless cars + hardcore cyclists + 1 klutzy cyclist who hasn’t really ridden a bike in nearly two decades cannot possibly = a good, safe commute.

But it’s getting too hot to walk every day. And it would be nice to have the commute be a little shorter, thus freeing me up to not take the subway home.

Enter: my new xootr! 0 learning curve. Can be ridden on the sidewalk. 100% fun. Also 100% dorky, esp. when I wear my orange helmet (yes, I know this is blue, but they don’t seem to have orange anymore). Jonathan said: “you look as cool as if you were riding a Segway.” And he’s right!

Just to really drive the dorkiness home, yesterday on my way to work I passed a little boy who exclaimed to his mom, “wow, cool!” Yes, even the first graders think I’m cool. AWESOME.

les tags: , ,