Saturday, April 2, 2011

Flinging Mud

In the spirit of the Red Sox, I also had a completely bootleg opening day for cycling. Now, it's not that I stopped during the winter. It's just that my cold weather cycling was transportation-only, not joy riding. So, with today's forecast of temperatures in the 50s and sunshine, I was excited to get out and go down by the river, where it would not be flooded anymore.

I loaded up the Jenny, who does not go out when there is snow and ice on the ground. The plan was to ride around, read a book in the sunlight, and maybe stop for coffee before meeting up with friends on the other side of town. Everything is all set and ready to go, and I realize the tires are really soft. I usually make such observations once I'm miles for home. Oh, and I have no idea where my pump is. I had to unload everything and take Starry Starry Bike, which does not have a basket and which still does not have the seat/handlebar arrangement quite to my liking anyway. I like to sit upright, not hunched forward.

Since the tires are all inflated and I needed to get out for fresh air, I was not going to be too annoyed about it. Anyway, it's got working brakes, which is more than can be said for most local bikes.

The first thing I notice is that everything is out of whack. The shifting is rough. There are three separate sounds coming from the bike that ought not be. But the brakes work and the bike can move, which is all I need for the time being. I just wish it would be a more stealthy ride.

The public path is, of course, blocked with a gate. There's enough room to walk my bike around it, but a cargo bike wouldn't fit. This is total bullshit and there are other barriers that could be put into place that would allow bicycles to go through more easily, while blocking cars. Patrolling of the Riverfront is sporadic -- heavy during the week and less so on the weekend -- which is only a concern in so far as I wanted to immediately complain about the gate to someone.

So, there is a new crop of graffiti, none of which is impressive. Really, if you're going through the trouble of making illegal "art," why not write something worth reading? Step it up guys!

My irritation with how inaccessible this awesome path is continues. The elevators to the elevated plaza were marked "closed for season." It's April, sunny, and warm. What season are they waiting for? So, I have to either go all the way around from the edges of the Riverfront path (which I do) or I have to portage my bicycle up all the friggin steps. I can't walk up half the stairs without getting winded. Those are crap options.

A large section of the path is now muddy from what the Connecticut River gifted us when it overflowed its banks. It ended up being better that I took Starry Starry Bike because the Jenny's tires probably would not have liked it. As sloppy as it was, the mud only got on my boots, thanks to my fenders.

It was fun watching people sliding around on the path. Looked like the MDC trucks had trouble with the path too. Suckers.

When I got to the Riverside Park I saw that there was a festival of fire or something on the East side of the river.
One marvels at the things that go on over there. Fires. Dirtbikes on sandbars. It's comforting to have a river in between us and that nonsense. We only have to contend with uninspired graffiti and drunks passed out on the stone benches.

Like a drifter I was born to bike alone.

When I finally abandoned the riding around in circles aimlessly, I thought I'd stop off for a late breakfast. After manhandling the quaint sidewalk cafe so that I could lock up my bike, someone came over the inform me that the new cafeteria-with-canned goods has a bike rack inside of the parking garage next door. They might want to post signs advertising that. Anyway, I sat where I could see my bike just in case some ironic young professional decided to mess with it. Next time, the bike is coming in with me. If people can bring strollers into stores, I can bring my bike. There's nothing on my bike, after all, that wails or shits itself.

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