High On Bike

A Bellinghamster On Wheels


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Sometimes I Just Need to Gnaw on a Big Piece of Meat

Rain dropsIt rained last Thursday…a lot and all day. So much so that we broke a rainfall record. I know! Saying we broke a rain record here in the Pacific Northwest is like saying Florida just broke its own record for how many geezers live there. It’s either amazing or completely banal; take your pick. So with more than just little disappointment, I left my bike in the garage and took my car to the knit shop to hang out with my knitting group followed by a trip to Trader Joes and the pet store to do some shopping. It’s been a long time since I drove a car to these places and it felt strange. It’s not that I haven’t been in my car at all; there are just some places here in town and out in the county where it makes better sense to drive. But if I have a choice, and it’s not pouring buckets of water (or geezers), I’d rather take my bike.

Walking into the shop, I instantly missed feeling flushed and invigorated from the ride through the woods, the wind in my face, and the smell of the fresh air. The only consolation was that I wore one of my handmade scarves and received some oohs and ahhs from my fellow knitters. No one oohs and ahhhs when I wear my cycling gear. Odd. At Trader Joes I missed not having to search for a parking spot even though the bike rack there is usually full, which is cool, but they really need to add more parking for bikes. I missed the exhilaration of hauling my groceries uphill and home even though I took advantage of the opportunity and bought more than would have fit into my panniers. The 25 pound bag of cat food I picked up at the pet store would have been a bit tricky on my bike too as I would have had to strap it to my back using bungee cords and I’d have probably been followed home by about 50 cats.

Doodle NappingThen I got home, put the groceries away, had lunch and took a 1-1/2 hour nap with my cat. It was a super cozy nap, admittedly, but I woke up feeling like one of those big banana slugs you see on the trails. I had pizza and wine later for dinner, felt like an even bigger slug, then drooled in front of the TV for a couple of hours. (My cat decided to continue said nap for several more hours. Cats are sooo cool!) Sure, I would have most likely done all of that anyway had I taken my bike but at least I might have been able to skip the feeling like a slug part.

In a Newton’s-First-Law-of-Motion way, the more I use my bike for transportation, the more I want to use it, and the more I miss it when I don’t or can’t. Although the following Friday morning when I met with my personal trainer to work on my core muscles (which currently suck) I decided somewhat at the last minute that taking the car might be the better part of valor. Good thing too because after my trainer kicked my ass for an hour, (Her motto is “If you don’t leave whining, I haven’t done my job!”) I could barely drive home without crying let alone ride my bike home for almost 6 miles….uphill. But you get the point.

A part of me would love to be able to give up my car all together just like a part of me would love to become a vegetarian. It’s doable but not practical given the American culture, my lifestyle, the weather, and the fact that sometimes I just need to gnaw on a big piece of meat. So I do what I can as much as I can and not worry about the rest.

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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?