I had a talk with this guy who had a sign on the back of his bike. He said that he has lots of different ones. I asked him if the sign made it harder to ride when it was windy and he told me that it did not make a big difference. I have the sense that all of his signs are positive. I wonder what kind of sign I would display if I had a setup like his. I have a couple of favorite bumper stickers. One says, ‘Bumper Sticker’ another says ‘Eschew Obfuscation ’. The sign man asked me about my panniers. They are made by Ortlieb and are waterproof. More than one person has asked me about them. I often get into bike-oriented conversations at the bike racks in front of City Market. People comment on my bike or I ask someone a question. I have talked about lights, brakes, panniers and the challenges of winter riding. The bike racks are like the hitching posts where people used to leave their horses. Luckily bikes don’t poop!
Sunday Morning Ride
On August 20th I left the house at 6 AM with the goal of getting home again by 11 AM so I could be at work by noon. It takes me about an hour to get ready for work and then ride there. I rode up Route 7 and then took Route 2. Early on Sunday morning there is not much traffic on those two roads, when it gets busier Route 7 does not feel safe. Instead of riding back on Route 7 I took another route home, but it was a longer ride than I usually do in 5 hours. I try to stop every hour or so to have a snack and drink some water, but on this day I rode for two hours before taking a break. The ride I took that Sunday is one I have taken many times before, so I knew where I was going to stop. If I had been going for a more casual ride I would have stopped after about an hour at a bridge over the Lamoile River. Instead my first stop was the Community Center in Georgia Center. It is usually open on Sunday morning but that morning I was too early. I had three more stops, one in Fairfax, one in Westford and one in Essex. I had snacks for each stop during the ride: a banana, figs, dates, peanuts and raisins. These kept me going but I was hungry when I got back home. The photo is of a toy spider I saw during a break at the Community Center in Fairfax. I could have taken the spider with me. It would be a nice prop when I sing Itsy-bitsy Spider at a story hour I do for the Family Room but I decided to leave the spider there. Using the spider for a song might have been a bit disturbing for the Family Room participants! On a ride like the one on Sunday I always see or experience something unusual. This year I have not taken as many long rides as I did last year. Weather has been one factor and also I am teaching a Friday morning class which I did not teach last summer. Friday was the day when I did not do any work at all. Last summer I was able to take early commuter buses to Saint Albans or Middlebury and then ride back home. Last year at about this time I took the Saint Albans bus and then rode the Rail Trail to Sheldon. I came back by way of Cambridge, Fairfield, Fairfax and Westford. It was a beautiful day and a great ride although half way through the ride I had a terrible allergy attack. No ride is perfect!
This summer the city put a new bike lane on North Winooski Avenue between North Union Street and Riverside Avenue. It is a big improvement but car drivers are parking in the bike lane. I put a post about it in Bikeable Burlington Now and got quite a few responses. One of them was particularly useful. I found out that you can call 802-540-2380 for parking enforcement. Or you can email at [email protected]. If you have the time I urge you to contact parking enforcement if you see a car parked in the bike lane.
This summer, while walking, I have been memorizing a new poem called ‘Thomas the Rhymer’. It is a Scottish ballad about a man named Thomas who meets the queen of the fairies. She tells him that if he dares to kiss her he will have to serve her for seven years. He does kiss her and so off they ride to the land of the fairies. ‘Thomas the Rhymer’ is the first long poem I have memorized in a while. When I am finished it will join the cycle of poems that I recite when I walk.