Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Bike to Work Week - Day Two

Time: 43 minutes 51 seconds
Distance: 7.71 miles (12.4 km, for Kiwis)
Temperature: 46 degrees F (<8 degrees C, for Kiwis)
Wind: WSW @ 26 mph (22 knots)

Sally is off to Okanogan County again this week, so there was scant incentive for me to ride to her office. Instead I did my business, grocery shopping for essentials: roasted red pepper soup, honey, and beer. There are three grocery stores within a mile of our house, so shopping by bike is usually neither a challenge nor an accomplishment.  Given that and my desire for more of a ride, I chose to peddle to Huckleberry's, halfway down the hill to Spokane. As the weather was not optimum, I again wore my "breathable" pants and jacket. In addition, I took the opportunity to try out Sally's Climitts, which are fleece-lined, weatherproof covers that attach to the handlebars over brake and gear levers. 

Anyway, I had a nice ride to the store despite the wind, which made braking at stop signs unnecessary. To my delight, upon checking out at Huckleberry's I learned that they are granting an extra 5% discount on all purchases by bike riders this month. Hooray! Premium ale at discounted prices! Yes, well, soup too.

I was surprised that there weren't more bikers out and about. Perhaps they do not have "breathable" outerwear, and were thus dissuaded by the weather. Perhaps they were not as willing as am I to take their chances with the notoriously bad Spokane streets and notoriously aggressive Spokane drivers. In an effort to ensure our safety, Sally and I have added new Mirrycle Mountain Bike Mirrors  to our stock of bicycle gadgets. I am now confident that, just before my demise, I will get a good look at the car that kills me.

One of the mottos of the pro-bike community is Share the Road. It's a great idea. After all, bikes do have all the same rights and responsibilities as other vehicles on public byways. Sharing the road with a Dodge Ram Mega Cab Dually with a gross vehicle weight rating of over 5 tons certainly seems like the way to go when you're riding a 20 pound bike, especially if you're wearing "breathable" outerwear.

In spite of my town's reputation for trucks and SUV's, the problem of biking in Spokane isn't the large size of the vehicles on the streets, but rather the diminutive brain capacities of their drivers. It is in their honor that I reveal, for the first time, the Spokane Truck and Auto Driver's Guide to Sharing the Road:

1. If I'm on a street, it's mine.
2. If I've ever been on a street, it's mine.
3. If I can crowd you off of a street, it's mine.
4. If a street reminds me of the street I used to live on, it's mine.
5. If I decide to take another route, it's mine.
6. If you're going faster than I am, the street is mine.
7. If your stopped at an intersection, the street is mine.
8. If I need the bike lane for parking purposes, it's mine.

I write this with apologies to the individual(s) who first coined these as Toddler Property Laws. Though tongue in cheek, I did note that one concerned Spokane citizen wrote a letter to the editor this week worried that all the money that would normally be spent on street maintenance is going to be diverted to promoting bike riding. 

How much bike promoting can a city do with $1.75 ?

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