I left late this morning, but I was feeling quite zippy (two weeks off the bike will apparently do that to you — that and make you fatter, if you're not careful). Quicksilver seemed happy to be out and about (perhaps I'm projecting a bit?), and the weather was highly cooperative — about 70 and sunny. All told, it looked like a perfect morning for a nice, fast ride.
Except. For. The. Fact. That. I. Hit. EVERY. Stoplight. I. Could. Find.
Man! Because I was running late, I wanted to go fast, so I spent much of the ride doing what amounted to a stop-and-go interval workout. That strategy was less than successful — it still took me five minutes longer than my best time to make it to work. I did make it to work on time, though.
Likewise, I managed in several instances to time my arrival at the lights so the moment I slipped free of my toe clip, it was time to cram my foot back in ._. I can't really blame anyone but myself, though. I know how it works. Drop the hammer when the light turns green, and all you get for your trouble is another red light.
Perhaps I should revise my attitude and look at this as an opportunity to perfect my toe-clip skillz?
Late in my ride, I encountered a med student (I assume he was a med student anyway — could, for all that, have been a nurse or something) in scrubs on a fixie. He was quite fast. He got away from me at a stoplight, but that was okay. I do wish I'd taken a picture, though. I keep forgetting that I now have a phone with a real camera (OMG, 2.1 WHOLE MEGAPIXELS! lol).
Weather.com is predicting much better conditions over the next ten days than we've had for quite some time. I'm pretty excited about that, since it's been blisteringly hot and ... um ... drowningly humid lately.
In other news, I discovered some neat websites today:
APTA.com: the American Public Transportation Association (self-explanatory)
APTA's 'Telling Our Story' campaign: APTA is collecting stories — videos, pictures, and Word- or PDF-formatted texts — from public transit users. I think this is a great idea, and if anything will improve America's willingness to 'get on the bus,' stories from real transit riders are it.
Public Transportation Takes Us There: Another part of the transit industry's initiative to increase adoption and ridership. This site is devoted to helping Americans get more involved in transit advocacy.
I'm a big fan of public transit. Not only does it decrease the environmental impact of our daily commutes (at least, at certain levels of adoption), it drastically increases the economic opportunities available to those who, for whatever reason, can't drive.
There's a weird misconception out there that the adoption of better public transit means people are going to be forced to give up their cars. This kind of spin and rhetoric is pretty common right now — e.g., universal health care is equated with the eradication of free choice; closer regulation of businesses that have demonstrated themselves to operate unfavorably without it it is associated, by some kind of magical thinking, with the redistribution of wealth; etc (and before anyone assumes I'm solely a left-wing wingnut, I should also state that I am strictly opposed to any increase in gun control and also to most [probably all] hate crimes legislation — IMO, a crime is a crime is a crime, and they should all be considered as such — so I assure you, while I'm definitely a wingnut, I do try to be a bipartisan, nonsectarian wingnut).
Perhaps if enough of us offer up our transit-going stories, the good people of the United States will realize that those of us who would like to see more buses and trains and so forth aren't interested in the least in taking away their cars (or guns, or Bibles). In fact, most of the people I know who ride bikes and buses and trains everywhere almost all the time like having the option of driving if they want or need to.
I'm hoping that seeing transit riders' stories might help discourage the mistaken belief that 'only poor/disabled/unemployed/underemployed/black/Latino/Asian/urban/young/old/those/other people ride the bus/train' — most people I've known who don't ride transit imagine that all transit-riders are utterly unlike themselves. In fact, public transit in Louisville, at least, is like a bird's-eye view of the community at large: on one bus ride, you can encounter a CEO, a gaggle of high-school freshmen, a disabled veteran, a doctor, a young family, some grandparents... Essentially, people from all walks of life ride TARC (our bus system). The only people who don't realize this are those who've never ridden the bus. Unfortunately, that's a lot of people.
In other, other news, my life is about to become ridiculously busy. I have Orientation on Friday, then school starts on Monday. I'm planning to get a cycling club together at IUS — the life sciences department has several bike-happy faculty, some of whom commute by bike, so I don't think I should have any trouble finding a faculty advisor. Choir rehearsal picks up again on the 26th, and of course there's cyclocross... Plus work. Work starts to get busy this time of year.
I'm really glad that I live in a place where I can get everywhere by bike (though I guess, for me, that's a lot of places — I like riding my bike enough to be willing to trek 10 or 15 miles back and forth). It makes finding time to ride pretty easy.