High On Bike

A Bellinghamster On Wheels


Will Ride For Pizza

Little Shop of HorrorsIt got up to a scorching 84 degrees the other day but I barely noticed. I had three fillings and my last wisdom tooth removed. I’m hyper vigilant about dental care but thanks to bad genetics and living where they refuse to fluoridate the water, I’m basically screwed. Thank goodness for nitrous oxide, I may be screwed but at least I can get a high out of it every once in awhile. I initially thought I’d ride my bike to the dentist but there’s really no good way to go by bike. I may figure out a route someday but not on a day when I was getting a tooth yanked out of my mouth and had to ride home post-nitrous and numb to my eyeballs. Plus I strained my knee a couple of days before taking a hill a little too aggressively and another day of rest wasn’t a bad idea.

So I came home, whined sufficiently to my husband, popped some Tylenol, grabbed a book, and read for a bit as I waited rather impatiently for some feeling to return to my mouth. I don’t know why they can’t come up with an antidote for Novocain that actually works and doesn’t cost a fortune. They came up with a little blue pill that can put lead in a man’s pencil for next to nothing so you’d think they could give you something after a visit to the dentist so you didn’t have to walk around wondering if you had a line of drool dripping out of the corner of your mouth for the next several hours.

DooThe minute a little feeling returned I ate some ice cream with chocolate sauce to fortify myself before I tricked our little girl kitty with some cooked chicken so I could catch her and put her into the travel cage to take her to the Vet. She’s lost some weight recently and because she’s 12 (that’s 70 in human years in case you needed that bit of cat trivia) we decided we should get her checked out. Here’s where I tell you that I get super stressed and anxious taking my cats to the Vet. The only reason I don’t yowl and meow plaintively on the way there is that I try to set a good example for them. They don’t buy it for a second however and complain vociferously despite my best efforts. Fortunately our Vet is only about a mile away. I thought about taking my bike for about a second. Strapping a cage filled with an unhappy, loud cat is probably doable but just because it is doesn’t mean you should. Kitty is fine. But we were both exhausted from the trauma. It was 5:00 PM before I realized it was hot, but then I was too worn out to care.

Trader JoesThe next day though, was a different day and about 10 degrees cooler, I had full feeling in my mouth, my cat forgave me (a healthy portion of chicken helped), and my knee felt good enough to ride down to Trader Joe’s to pick up stuff to make a pizza later that night. I just wish they’d get their bike parking issue solved. Last time I went the already large bike rack was so full I had to lock my bike up to a bench. After fielding tons of complaints, the property manager has decided to do something about it. But who knows how many studies they’ll have to do before they get it resolved. I could resolve it in two seconds— just put up another bike rack! But that’s me. Worst case scenario: I just ride around the lot until some space opens up, aggravating all Canadians in their SUVs who come down for the cheap prices, vying for their own version of a parking space. Fortunately there was room on the rack and I didn’t have to annoy our neighbors to the North.

If you’ve read this far and are not comatose, you’re probably wondering what’s the point of this post. So am I. Just kidding. As much as I love to commute by bike and do so at every opportunity, there are times when it’s just not possible. It makes sense to pick up pizza fixins by bike, but not so much taking kitty to the Vet or riding with a nitrous hangover. But I eat pizza much more than I ever go to the Vet or dentist so there’s always someplace to ride.



Chicken On Board

There’s not a lot that gives me more of a kick than putting a whole chicken in my panniers, hauling it home, and cooking it on our rotisserie grill. It makes me feel like a total bad ass. Not in the super hot, Mossad-trained-female-assassin-turned-NCIS-agent sort of way but hey, when you look like this…

it’s as close to this…

as I’m gonna get. Especially when picking up said chicken happens after I’ve spent a couple of hours with my knitting group. The other day I was telling my knitting buds that my next stop was at the store for a chicken pick-up. They all thought this was totally cool and hysterical at the same time. One of them suggested that I get a yellow “Chicken on Board” sign to put on my bike. In the Bad Assery department, it would, admittedly, not be as bad ass as having a sign that said “Magnum .357 on Board” but then, if I did have one on board I’d have to dig it out of my panniers first which would make the whole point of having one moot anyway.

Oh man! Once I’ve cooked that chicken up, it tastes totally awesome. Seriously, you haul a 5-6 pound chicken up hill a few miles, along with whatever else you couldn’t resist buying, and see if it’s not the best damn chicken you ever tasted!

Anyway, if you happen to be one of the few moronic drivers in Bellingham who don’t like sharing the road with cyclists, fair warning. DO NOT mess with me when I’m carrying my chicken. I will stab you with my knitting needles.


More Bike Racks Please!

I love living in this mostly bike-friendly town. On any given day particularly during the summer, you can see numerous flashes of ANSI yellow or orange (we’re also a fairly safety conscious town as well) dart through the streets. Everywhere you go, there are cyclists pedaling their way to unknown locations. It makes me smile just to think of it. Bike racks adorn almost every downtown street and shopping area and they get used. Depending on the destination or day though, sometimes there just aren’t enough racking spaces to go around. Several times now I’ve pulled up to a bike rack only to discover that it was completely full.
Just the other day I rode to Trader Joe’s and their sizable bike rack had so many bikes crammed into it I wondered how anyone was going to actually get their bikes out. I ended up locking my bike to a heavy iron bench. The Barkley Library is another place that hasn’t quite gotten the message. Their rack is only big enough for two bikes! I’m a frequent visitor and I always have to rack my bike to a lamppost because that mini rack is consistently unavailable. Then there was the day I rode to the gym and found no room for my bike at the main rack. I eventually found another one and it was completely empty. Not surprising because that’s where the smokers hang out during their cigarette breaks. Thankfully, on that day I missed the smokers but the entire area reeked of old cigarettes.
Lampost as Bike Rack On one hand, full bike racks make me glad that so many people are out on their bikes. On the other hand though, it can mean a frustrating search for someplace to lock up my own bike and requires some creative solutions.
Where was the strangest thing you ever locked you bike to?


Pedaling Groceries

Happy Cats
Yesterday I decided to run all my errands by bike. After I rode to the gym and worked out, I went to Walker’s Healthy Pets to pick up a package of Greenies for our cats (because if kitties aren’t happy ain’t nobody happy), dropped off Ira’s library book, and went to the grocery store to pick up a few things since friends were coming to dinner that night. Excited to use my trunk bag at full capacity hauling groceries home, I failed to keep in mind that the “few things” mentioned above were the operative words. But in my defense, few is a relative term. I passed on getting a jar of salsa because of the weight but should have given more thought to the bananas and oranges. Still I left the store with fewer than 12 items and even though my panniers were full, it didn’t seem like that much…until I started pedaling home.

GroceriesOnce I hit the slow grade going up, I felt like I was cycling through molasses. Then came the steeper inclines where I used all my lower gears, wishing I had more. Slowly I made my way home, exhausted but psyched about my first shopping expedition by bike. Ira was waiting for me and took the trunk bag off my bike. Shocked by the weight, he laughed and said, “I can’t believe you made it up the hill with that!” I was a little surprised myself and took a badly needed recovery nap. Next time, I’ll be a little more circumspect about loading up the panniers, but there will definitely be a next time.