Monday, November 28, 2005

One bike. One lamb. No problem.

We had another lamb roast. The butcher, an older man whose parents are also from Northern Epirus, assured me that though he has sold many lambs, he has never had one carried away on a bike.

A 70-pound lamb seems like a lot when you’re buying a lamb. But in truth, it’s not hard to carry on a bike. But then I’ve never carried anything on my bike that I thought was difficult to carry.

[Well, there was that one time I was zipping along in Amsterdam carrying something large in my right hand. A fan, I think. Or a large box. Somehow (during the day… sober), my bike decided that it wanted to veer right. I couldn’t stop it. My parcel somehow prevented any evasive maneuver. I ran pretty hard right off the bike path and into a sign post. I was going fast, too. Somehow, best I remember, I didn’t hurt myself, my bike, or my special delivery.]

Anyway, the lamb was pretty much evenly divided into four bags. One bag in each basket. One on top. One in my messenger back. Vegetables in hand. I think those are the legs sticking out of the bag. Carrying two lambs might be a challenge. As would carrying one whole lamb. Though one whole lamb on a bike would make such a nice sight. I always have this strange image of a lamb falling off my bike and a small riot starting as hoards of Astorians scamper into the street to claim the pieces.

I also got some tireflys for my bike. Little blinky lights that you screw onto your tire valve that light up when your wheel is in motion. Except that one of them seems to need more motion than just the turning of a wheel to stay on. But if they worked right, they seem like a great way to be more visible. You can see them if you zoom on the picture. The nice part is there’s no on-off switch to worry about. But that’s also a downside as they’re on even when you don’t need them. The three watch batteries are supposed to last up to 200 hours (“in ideal conditions”).

I don’t know if this bike has been pictured in this blog before. This is my normal cruise-around-the-neighborhood steed. She’s a heavy one-speed with a coaster brake. But she handles herself very well in Manhattan traffic when needed. Many years ago (1996?) I found her abandoned in Inman Square. I fixed her up with a new fork, a front brake, fenders and rear racks, narrower tires, and a paint job. It’s been a great bike. Rides very well and doesn’t complains that it’s not allowed in the house. I like how it looks junky but the astute bike-loving eye can spot a few signs of its inner potential.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Bike friendly Toronto

I was Toronto over the weekend. Kind of underwhelmed by the city, but it’s a bike friendly town. A lot of bikes. It’s pretty far North. But to be honest, not really much further North than Boston or Chicago. There are a fair number of bike paths. And bike racks everywhere! The same kind they use in Cambridge. Why don’t we have them in NYC?

Here’s a typical bike rack (in the shade).

This style of rack is nice in that they’re easy to lock to, they don’t take up much room when not used, and they’re kind of aesthetically pleasing.

Meanwhile the City of New York is busy cutting off locks and taking bikes that people ride to the subway in Williamsburg. Uh, that’s not bike friendly. Too many bikes, the city says, locked where they shouldn’t be (you, know, by public transportation). And just why are my tax dollars being spent to keep people from biking to public transportation?

Of course, the city could just take three parking spaces from cars and provide bike parking for about 30 bikes. This shit makes me want to move to Portland. Or Canada.

Monday, November 14, 2005

If only they all were so nice

I was biking my slow bike under the tracks on 31st Street last Saturday night. I was rather enjoying the weekend congestion, life, and hustle-bustle of our dear neighborhood, Astoria. A car pulled up on my left and from the rear passenger-side seat, a woman, relatively attractive, started yelling at me.

“Uh oh,” I’m thinking.

“I love bikers,” I hear. “I love bikers!” she screams. She’s about two feet away and leaning out of the car trying to give me a high-five. She adds, “I’m single. You’re gorgeous. I love bikers!” She might have said something about being drunk, too. I’m not certain. It didn’t really matter.

It’s nice to be flattered when you least expect it. Though I gave her a big smile, alas, I wasn’t able to continue this conversation. As I was on a bike, I was soon far far in front of my not-so-secret admirer.

Why didn’t this never happen to me when I was single? I think this is the first time in all my years biking that I’ve ever had a positive experience with a person yelling at me from a car. A guy in a car in Boston did once give a rose to a girlfriend of mine as we were biking around. She was sexy. And I guess it was a nice gesture. Except she was my girlfriend. And I wasn’t giving her flowers. We didn’t go out for long. Hmmm.