Friday, February 23, 2007

Random Observations

  • Too much cold weather is giving me a bad case of February blahs. I was momentarily ecstatic by the spring-like feel when the temperature finally rose above the freezing mark for the first time in thirty days earlier in the week. Yay I can happily ding-a-ling my bell because my hands aren't so bulked up to keep warm that I can't push the button. But now back to deep freeze with wicked winds.
  • On one of the springy days I took an old bike out on my street to test ride which I've been fixing up to sell. (call this my bike maintenance learning project) The brakes of course required more fiddling. Its a narrow residential street with on street parking and with the still piled banks of snow from the plow, not room to move over for the car behind. Our street is supposed to be getting speed humps installed but I thought I could be the human speed hump variety. Ha. Not recommended. Dude hits the gas to intimidate me towards the snow bank and then guns it through the bank on the other side spraying me. Thanks a lot. At this point I was only 150m or less from the stop sign.
  • Biking is quite a social form of transport, but as I've mentioned before in winter its a bunch of cyclists bundled up in balaclavas. I miss the socialness of taking public transport, where there's the possibility of running into a friend you haven't seen for a while and you can just sit and chat as the world goes by. So far this year 509 km of biking to 3 one-way transit trips. Alas the social appeal is not enough incentive for me to want to pay for transit, or to have to be stuck with its schedule vs the freedom of the bicycle. And the number of times you actually meet up with someone to chat to on transit vs. getting annoyed at loud and obnoxious passengers is probably not the greatest ratio.
  • Of course in figuring out the cost of cycling I can't forget to add the cost of a tea or coffee at my destination in order to warm my numb digits.
  • What happened to the bike lanes on Beverley? I haven't used that street in a long time, and I was heading along it from Dundas to College... definitely I nominate that for worst bike lane in the city. At some point they must have dug a big hole all the way along the edge of the road to put in new pipes or whatnot, and filled it back in with that temporary pavement stuff, but at nowhere close to level. Whee. Mountain biking in the city. (while the bike lane is psychotically wavy, the adjacent lane is normal)
  • The bike lanes on College are always pretty much useless due to lack of parking enforcement, but with the winter snowbanks pushing the parked cars out entirely into them (well I blame 50% snowbanks and 50% bad parking jobs), they are now entirely useless. At least there are 4 lanes so I don't feel so bad about commandeering the next lane over. With snow piled Dundas bike lanes, two lanes and heavily used during rush hour, I pick a different route. I'm not big on constant blaring of car horns.
  • While taxis unloading in the bike lane may be a necessary evil, please dear taxi driver, realize I am a moving vehicle that cannot stop instantly before you cut me off.
  • Today I closed a door that a taxi passenger opened in my path and it felt immensely satisfying. I had yelled "Don't open..." first.
  • Despite it still being damn cold streetcar track reconstruction season has begun. Dundas between River and some point a couple blocks west seems to be the first target, narrowing traffic to one narrow lane per direction. I try to avoid these routes if possible, but if I come across them I try to cycle fast to not piss off the driver behind me too much as you really don't want to attempt to share these. Cold air + February hibernation + trying to bike fast = wheezing me.