Saturday, December 24, 2011

Unacceptable Absence

What the hell, I just started this blog and already I abandon it? Well, I have a good reason...

Even "in this economy" I managed to find a new job, which I will not talk about for important life/work separation reasons (yeah, having a bike blog isn't exactly like putting drunk pics on Facebook, but close enough), but suffice to say that employment-wise I'm as happy as I've been since 2007. After such a long time being unemployed, and then experiencing my second worst job of all time, I can scarcely believe my luck in the employment arena.

In bike-commuting terms, this means that my commute is over twice as long as it used to be, and I couldn't be happier about that. Every day I get to see a nice little slice of Baltimore, from where my commute starts out riding the scenic, almost car-free Fallsway right next to the Jones Falls Trail, then onto city streets, which are (for now) completely un-laned but also relatively calm at 8:30 when I hit them. I need to take some pictures, once I get a digital camera that can fit in my pocket and doesn't take forever to warm up. I don't know that my commute is the "best part of my day" because honestly my job is pretty killer but it's a really great excuse for getting in an hour of exercise every day. (And as a bonus, light rail is very convenient to both my job and my home, for when it snows or rains... which hasn't happened yet!)

The downside to my new commute is that the return trip is entirely dark for now, and I have to ride with traffic for most of it (at least for another year until the Jones Falls Bikeway is complete... and check out that link if you want to watch someone who obviously doesn't ride try to talk about bike infrastructure*). In order to not die, I picked up a Nite Rider MiNewt 350 headlight at my local bike store (Twenty20 Cycling in Hampden), and while it worked fine for the first two weeks, three days ago it just didn't come on after work. Apparently, I'm the first person ever to have a problem with this light, and it's currently being repaired and/or exchanged, so I will in fact be able to post a glowing review of it later. While at the LBS, I also purchased a pannier, as my quick-release Wald basket no longer fits on my hybrid due to the headlight. No review needed, as it's just a basic pannier, but I will say that I now find panniers to be a much better stuff-carrying system than front baskets. I still worry that it's going to hit against a car or fall off for no reason, but I can get way more groceries and things in there than I ever could in my basket, and even with twenty pounds of stuff, there's no noticeable fishtailing.

So, yeah, right now life is pretty awesome, despite being winter and the holidays, i.e. my usual least favorite part of the entire year. I have every hope that 2012 will continue to be as awesome. And that I will remember to post to this blog more often.

In closing, my current favorite bike-related Youtube clip:

*Okay, so I have more to say about that post but I don't want to start another post about it so let me just say that it's really sort of insulting to see someone who's willing to throw cyclists under the bus (literally!) because we're "good for the community," in other words scenery. I pass through Mount Vernon twice a day, and look forward to not having to ever pass through it again once the bikeway is complete, because the drivers are insane, and the streets are way too narrow to accommodate a double line of parked cars, plus cars in motion, plus bikes. Yes, people also park on the street in Hampden and the rest of North Baltimore, but we're nowhere near downtown. Also, pretty sure the streets are wider here, because we used to have electric streetcars. Mount Vernon could be a decent neighborhood for bikes if  they got rid of the on-street parking (why people are allowed to park on the street so close to downtown flummoxes me) and put in lanes instead but that will never ever happen ever. So fuck yeah, I want to ride next to a prison if that's the only way I can be almost completely separated from deathmobiles. Man, I just should have made a new post about this.

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