Thursday, April 03, 2008

Signs of Spring

I'm having a little trouble telling that its actually supposed to be spring here as we're off to a pretty chilly start. But there's always some telltale signs:

  • Changing tires: bye bye inefficient knobby tire, hello speedy slick tire. Or so I thought I'd get a spring burst of speed. But no, the beater is feeling as clunky as ever. Now that the salt appears to have vanished I can hunt down the city bike version 2.

  • The long way home: variety in routes is always good but the winter really only had two well-cleared choices. Now I can take the peaceful and relaxing bike path route with a car-free bridge across the Don (yay nobody gunning for the expressway onramps)

  • The sudden reappearance of toy bicycles: if the pedals are merely for decoration, and cannot be used to propel the vehicle forward, its not a bicycle. I find it a source of amusement to pedal past the e-bikes. (for those unfamiliar, these electric-motor bikes have special regulations allowing people to ride them without a license or insurance, but are speed limited to 32 km/h, and are allowed to use bike lanes and paths) Not so amusing is when the owners lock one of these to a bike rack crosswise. Fortunately in the photo below its not actually locked to the rack, so there is still enough clearance for bicycle parking.

  • Lovely mounds of cigarette butts exposed by melting snow (I'll spare you the disgustingness of a photo)
  • The return of road rage season. I had a glorious road rage free winter of cycling. Spring seems to signal to drivers the return of laying on the horn. Maybe its because I look like I'm having more fun on the road than they are. Fun, not allowed.
  • The first wave of increased bicycle numbers. While this always warms my heart, I find the appearance of bicycles from all directions rather unnerving. To the fair-weather-only psycho-kamikazes, at least a vague adherence to the road rules would be considerate to other users.
  • With the return of lots of bicycles, the bicycle thief returns from hibernation (or a winter spent nicking snow shovels, who knows) I've seen innumerable locked bicycles missing key parts lately. I was saddened one of them was the cheerful looking orange bike that I'd noticed the owner tuning up for spring not so long ago.
  • The thought that biking 140km with a lung-hacking-up-cold is a sensible thing to do. Or rather the hopeful oh please get better because I'm really itching to enjoy the first non-winter-like weather of the year (13 degrees!) Wanna ride too?