A Day ‘In’ The Bike

by William J. Hughes, June 29, 2016

I have not owned a car since 1987 for both financial and earth-wise reasons. When I need to I will rent a car. What a pleasure, once I figure out all the buttons.

No gears, no speeds on my red cruiser bike. No hills in Sacramento and I'm not ridng any great distances so pedal power is all that is required come rain or shine. No real winter to deal with and the privilege of being out "in" it is just that.

I've had at least six or seven bikes stolen over the years, thieves are everywhere. You can only keep your guard up for so many minutes over so many days.

Each day begins with coffee. Today is a gorgeous Tuesday in the middle of June just a few blocks to Old Soul Weatherstone — old reliable. I have to remind myself to stay off the sidewalk. A woman here in town was run over on a bike on the sidewalk — she was left with permanent damage. She has been leading a campaign to leavy a heavy fine on anyone riding a bike on the sidewalk. I'm certainly guilty, but less so now.

Plenty of bike parking at the coffeehouse. Sacramento has a long way to go in making the city more bike friendly, but it's better. Suburban cars coming in still dominate, but there's been progress.

I progress back to my apartment for a bit of work, locking up my bike at a rack downstairs, only carrying it the one flight when I'm done for the day. I've got to trust in my super lock. So far so good. A somewhat recent theft of my orange cruiser bike is still with me.

Now just one block over to my Spanish bar and restaurant for a light lunch, auto traffic on one-way J. Street, a constant river of it, waiting for a kind soul to stop above the crosswalk to let me cross over.

Only one bike, mine, locked up at the restaurant. Customers for the row of stores filling up their parking meters, increased pricing to help pay for our new $300 million taxpayer-paid arena. "First you're born, then you look for parking."

Lunch done, now for a longer stretch to the central city library for some research on a novel I'm working on: A Monkey Wrench Gang on Confederate War Memorials throughout the South.

One-way I. Street where bike lanes don't exist. You can feel the cars and the giant SUV mirrors close by, but this is the most direct route, sidewalks empty and tempting but no way.

Still trying to teach myself to obey red lights. While the cars wait I do continue on through. Hey, I'm on a bike, saving the air, so I deserve— Stopped by a CHP officer once. That could have been a $350 fine. I'm still trying to obey.

Lots of bikes at the Central Library — something of a homeless way station.

My library work done, it is time to pay some bills around town. So it's very careful up, down, and around the city blocks to several different locations noticing how many bikes there aren't and how many lovely ladies are out riding.

My riding gear is t-shirt, shorts, flip-flops, no helmet, ever. I know, I know. I want to feel the weather on my head and I don't want to look like a "nerd."

Now I'll stop for a drink at my HD sports bar, no bike racks at this busy place. Once again I will mention it to the manager to no avail. Bikes locked to signposts and parking meters. Always feels good to lock up to a parking meter, but it shouldn't be that way.

Groceries, ample bike rack at the budget market. Shoulder bag larger enought to carry supplies, still no bike lane on Capitol Avenue until 21st and none on L.Street to my none on 22nd Street.

Drop supplies and go for a ride, along the tree lined streets of midtown. Stay off of our fabulous American River Bike Trail — too many Tour de France wannabes blowing by.

By the time it's about 4:30pm and the car commuters start to clog the streets, it's time to retreat for the day.

One Response to A Day ‘In’ The Bike

  1. LouisBedrock Reply

    July 5, 2016 at 2:03 pm

    “I’ve had at least six or seven bikes stolen over the years, thieves are everywhere. You can only keep your guard up for so many minutes over so many days.”

    Yes, I know the feeling. I’ve lost about the same number of bicycles. A beautiful green 12 speed Raleigh stolen from the faculty parking lock by cutting the heavy chain; a blue Schwinn 12 speed stolen off the balcony of a second floor apartment of a friend while we lunched in her apartment; my own house broken into and my black Fuji stolen.

    I’m in favor of hanging bike thieves.

    I own two good bikes now–both made in America by unionized women welders of Cannondale in Pennsylvania. The company has now moved its operations to China. I have a fast blue road bike and a heavier silver hybrid. I put a lot of miles on both of them.

    When I go shopping, or to a doctor appointment, or to a bank, if the bike is not allowed to come in with me, I do business somewhere else. I never leave the bike chained anywhere–even with a Kryptonite lock.

    Good piece. I enjoyed reading it.

    Please consider wearing a helmet and safer footwear.

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