Thursday, January 18, 2007

Rediscovering rush hour

My legs were going crazy from lack of biking the past week - the flu is not very conducive to travelling anywhere. I seem to have recovered just in time for some short term contract work. Yay for an actual bike commute (for a few days anyway). I seem to have both forgotten the joys of commuting at office hour times and the joys of winter biking (since it just got around to arriving in Toronto).

And who needs coffee to wake up in the morning - an obstacle course dodging of downtown traffic will certainly perk you up. While ideally I'd ride out of the door zone, on King Street I was into the middle lane as far as I could go without hitting streetcar track. The parked cars are further out because of the snowy/ice crap on the sides of the roads, so I was preemptively ringing my bell in the hopes that hearing a bicycle would clue people not to open their driver side doors. No such luck and so its yell "Close your door!" and hope for the best (and they did, disaster averted)

I'm so excited to get off King Street, and take some quieter streets, particularly East Liberty Street as an alternative to the nerve-wracking King Street underpass. A couple years ago when I was commuting this route this street was not a through one - but massive new development has invaded the area.

On the return trip home I curse the logic of city planners who like to take four-lane roads and make them two with bike lanes, but then fail to provide winter maintenance for said bike lanes. (such as Strachan Avenue) At least with four lane roads I can take one and not obstruct traffic. Speaking of taking lanes, my trip east along King Street is wonderful. Its earlier, there is no parking allowed, and so I have the whole curb lane to myself. (I'm also equipped with a rear blinkie on the bike, one on the helmet, and a reflective vest.. unlike some totally darkened cyclists I'm seeing in the path of motor vehicles) And nobody honks. I think they see that the lane is actually too narrow to share because of the ice and snow at the side, unlike in the summer when they somehow think you're being rude by riding out when there still is not enough room. Still the idyllic ride becomes hairy again as "No Stopping" seems to just mean there are still parked cars but they happen to be positioned further out from the curb. And the rapidly changing weather is now mild and so melting and freezing of further road goo is occurring to have to pay close attention to.

Oh and you have to take a look at my water-crazed kitten.