Saturday, May 17, 2008

[Bike to] Work Day

On my regular daily commute yesterday I saw no more cyclists than usual, but throughout the day we spotted them on the busy street behind our shop.

Commuting once is much more of a project than commuting all the time. I have systems in place to help me streamline my daily load. Riding a long route, I want to use cycling shoes and I don't want to lug walking shoes, so I keep a pair of shop shoes at work. I can also leave some clothing there so I don't have to carry the complete change every day.

When I rode shorter routes in an urban setting I could ride in normal clothes, but I still liked the acceleration of cleated shoes in traffic. Keeping work shoes at work left more room in my commuting bag for lunch.

It's nice to have our own holiday now, even if it's mostly a token gesture. Also, with bicycling getting so much publicity, drivers seem to react more cooperatively, at least for now.


JLKasper said...

Here in Evansville Indiana, Bike to Work Day came and went with a newspaper headline that the mayor was reconsidering the implementation of the first bicycle lane in our fair city. Our "Greenway" is currently like the "United We Stand" snake on the old flag; a piece here, a piece there.
Saturday, I drove to Louisville, Ky, for a minor league baseball game and stopped in a downtown bikeshop/courier hub to kill some time. The place was full of single-speeds and touring bikes, with roadie stuff hung on the wall hooks, and mountain bikes dismissed to a corner of the 100 year old storefront. The salesman, after showing me his Rivendell in the basement, mentioned that fixies are hot among the teenagers, and business is improving. I also witnessed a rack full of loaner bikes at the HQ of a "health insurance provider", and a bike rental kiosk at the riverfront.
Two weeks earlier, I travelled to Bloomington for my nephew's commencement at IU, and saw a variety of cyclists in transit, often on singlespeeds. I didn't see anybody riding a red Masi with a fake Italian accent, however.
Despite living in a cultural backwater, there is hope in the real world nearby.

cafiend said...

BTW Day was different in different places. I try not to let myself get too excited by what looks like a resurgence of interest, in case the wave dies out and leaves only the same small cadre of dedicated riders duking it out for space among the armored vehicles. But I'm certainly willing to hope.

The fixed gear fashion is kind of funny. I started riding them more than 30 years ago. There are a lot more groovy parts available than there used to be.