walking around in tap shoes and pyjamas since 2010 - my cycling log (opens in new window)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Hilarity Ensues

Okay, maybe not hilarity. But I'm sure the good people waiting for the bus were at very least amused by the gymnastics I did while locking up my bike briefly at lunch time today. Suffice it to say I wound up with a big ol' chainring stamp on my trouser-leg. My left trouser-leg.

Louisville, my city-of-the-moment, though probably not my lifelong home (as much as I do love it here), is particularly bike-friendly. I didn't always believe that; when I first started riding here, I was absolutely intimidated by what I perceived as very aggressive drivers and a relative lack of bike lanes and paths.

I was quite wrong.

In fact, Louisville has a good many bike lanes and paths (enough for an urban cycling novice to cut his teeth upon, if he happens to travel between downtown and Frankfort Ave or the Highlands or the West End), and the drivers — once you know how to handle yourself in traffic — are mostly very accomodating. One does encounter the occasional jerkwad, but that is how one develops the brass ... ah ... tacks, yes, brass tacks to ride on busier roads and in other cities.

What Louisville does lack, however, is adequate bike parking in much of downtown.

Fortunately, we don't have those crazy laws that will get you ticketed for tying up at the nearest parking meter or whatever looks suitable, provided that you don't block any driveways or otherwise hinder the flow of traffic or commerce. The problem for me is that I use a shorty of a u-lock — the OnGuard PitBull Mini — that forces some creative lockup solutions. It's a damn good lock, though. I am absolutely an OnGuard man, these days, especially now that my Knox lock (for which I paid nearly as much as I paid for my PitBull mini) has permalocked one of my steeds to my house /:

Sometimes those locking solutions require gymnastics: like today's, which involved the streetward side of one of those big metal municipal trashcan superstructures, a fair amount of fumbling, and the afore-mentioned chainring tattoo.

It's all good, though. The tattoo-ed trousers were scheduled for replacement anyway (I noticed this morning that they're looking kind of grotty, and also that I'm outshrinking them). I plan to wear only grey (charcoal, mostly) trousers to work from now on, so if I decide to snag a ride at lunchtime, any resulting bike brands won't really show.

Likewise, the ride that followed was completely, utterly, 100% worth the price of admission. Five and a half fast miles at a sustained pace of 20 MPH -- and I returned to work ten times as awake and alert as I left (I was groggy even after this morning's 7-miler), and fun, fun, fun. It blows my mind how much faster I am without my backpack. I know that probably sounds like weight-weenie-ism at its finest, but I'm not that much of a weight weenie. Then, it might be an aerodynamic problem. I suspect it may be a bit of a parachute.

Also, I encountered another guy out for a ride, and he said, "Howdy!" which totally made my day. I try to be a friendly cyclist, so I'm always happy with others return the favor.

In other news, I'm debating whether to bother bringing my backpack home today. If I wear my long-johns, I won't need it. I sure as heck don't need a parachute slowing me down as I'm fighting my way up Baringer Hill (which I'm planning to do again today).

Of course, the day I leave it here will be the day I need my poncho.

Maybe I'll find a way to strap it — the poncho, not the backpack — to my bike.

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