Sunday, January 25, 2009

No Parking.... or be careful what you ask for!

I am now living in the Conch Republic, better known as Key West. Yes, technically it is in Florida, but the vibe and architecture is certainly far more Bahamian than American. Moving here after a dozen and a half visits over the last 10 years is a dream come true. The friendly people, the amazing weather, the island's charming general weirdness and the amount of bicycles have drawn me here year after year. So, how's living in a bicycle centric city!?

Lemme tell you, Portland and Berkley ain’t got nuttin’ on the bicycles here. Many people don’t even own a car to get around the four by two mile island. Bicycles, racks, pedi-cabs and trikes are everywhere! Unfortunately, this can actually be a problem when trying to get to work on time. My first waiting job ever is at the Turtle Kraals, right on the water at Key West Bight Marina; and finding bicycle parking at 10AM can be hard!

Here’s the restaurant’s employee only bicycle parking! Almost full! I got a spot this day!

But here’s a shot near the front of the restaurant with no less than seven actual bicycle racks completely full! Overflowing actually!

Even the giant anchor had bikes and trikes chained up to it! Dang! It's not even a bike rack!

This shot is for el presidente de china. Folding bicycles are actually super popular here. And the biggest retailer for such steeds? West Marine, a boating supply store! Why? Many live-aboard sailboats are anchored off shore and the owners will float in on a dingy with their folding bike and then use it to get to work, run errands around town or get to the bar. (or prolly a combo of all three) Now, that's a sweet multimodal commute!

There are many, many sweet rides all over the city and I’ll be posting more pics as soon as I can. There are mostly single speed beach cruisers, but also many mountain bikes with wide slicks. In the mean time, check out Conchscooter's blog, Key West Diary for two recent posts about bicycles: Duval Bikes and More Duval bikes. Great posts!

I met a dude who rides old school fixed gears, I mean OLD school as in pre-1900, but haven’t seen any of his rides yet! I hope to soon. I am told there’s a dude on a blue track bike too, but I haven’t met him or his bike yet. And that’s is for fixies! TJ, come visit and bring the Steamroller!

Its super convenient and really fresh to be in a town where the bicycle is truly the preferred way to scoot around town! Life is good! Ride on!

ps. there ain't no mo' to read!


El Presidente de China said...

Chillwill, I'm glad things are going well for you, but this post is just hurtful to those of us still weathering the charms of late January in central Connecticut. It's like texting a celibate friend to let him know what you're up to while you are having sex.

Brendan said...

no way!

texting while you're having sex is way weirder.

El Presidente de China said...

Sure, it's weirder. But in terms of the emotional effect on the recipient, it's on par.

Brendan said...

still don't agree. if I were the recipient, I'd be weirded out and/or disgusted.

El Presidente de China said...

Disusted. That's how I feel about Will living it up in the tropics. The only reason I'm not weirded out is because I had a lot of time to prepare myself mentally for his going there.

Joel said...

Yo Will, I like your mark up of the photo. Very helpful for our readers.

chillwill said...

i promise... no text messages or posts while "in congress" my lads.

hey prez, it ain't all fun all the time: i'm working hard for the man! starting a second job next week. only been out in my 'yak once so far. and this weekend, a cold front is gonna bring nighttime temps down into the 50's! (ok, sorry about that last one)

props to the "year of bike commuting" fellas, i think i got the idea from their posts!

Ominotigre said...

Good to meet you, Will!
Though, not on a blue track bike, ha ha.
No lycra fraternities, no helmet nazis, no hipster scene, just everyday people riding everyday bikes.
The only downside to bike commuting in Key West: the buckets of sweat.

chillwill said...

duude matt, if the bikes here are everyday bikes, then everyday life here is sweet indeed, ohh wait, i already knew that!!