Thursday, May 17, 2012

How's Your Bike Week?

As the many cycling blogs I follow have mentioned once or twice, this week is Bike Week in the USA, a time when we collectively think about how different and better our lives could be if we accepted cycling as a viable form of intra-city transportation... before jumping in our minivans to drive half a mile down the street. As this is my first Bike Week as a transportation cyclist in a city with a large enough cycling population to support Bike Week activities, I wanted to partake in a few of the events, even though I'm not really a very social person by nature or in practice. "Unfortunately," I've also been busy with writing stuff: I've really felt a lot of drive to work on my short stories lately, and haven't done any cycling outside of the minimum amount of nine miles per day. That's more than 99% of Americans, but less than 85% of bike bloggers. Mea culpa, except not really, because my short stories are very important to me.

My bike, after riding to work in the rain. Note the frame sticker.
My "festivities" this week have been pretty much confined to riding my bike like always, although I must admit knowing that there were going to be bike counts this week (and that I pass two of the checkpoints on my daily commute each way... four "counts" in all!) influenced my decision to ride to work Tuesday in a fairly heavy rain, although I've found that even when it's raining, I never really regret riding to work. I think I've maybe missed two commutes because of weather in the six months-plus I've been doing this, and both times I spent a good portion of the morning thinking "man, I really wish I would have rode in, I'm such a chumpette." And anyway, the rain was over by the time I got to work, as happens more often than not when I set out (the other possibility, of course, is that it gets way worse and I have to wring out my pants/skirt in the bathroom, which is annoying but still probably better than taking the train). I thought about going to the Ride of Silence but I didn't know about it until the last minute, and I had a writing group meeting. It's something I think is really important, though, and I'll definitely be doing it next year as it is apparently a yearly, nationwide event.

Tomorrow I attend my first Bike to Work Day, which I assume will be just like a normal non-capitalized bike to work day, except that I'll get free stuff. I'm hopeful that there will be a lot more riders on the road... but it will also make me sad, because I know that for many people, this is only a once-a-year thing. Then a week later is Baltimore's first Tweed Ride. Being a committed citizen of the 21st century, I don't have anything to wear for it, and I'm debating showing up in rags with dirt smeared on my face, as this was the style at the time among my coal-mining ancestors. (Who probably didn't even own bikes, and just walked everywhere until their feet fell off and then couldn't afford to buy new ones, which was also the style at the time.) But I could also just get a nice hat at one of the four thousand resale shops along the Avenue and duct tape it to my head. At least my bike is vintage!

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