Posts tagged Biking

Things about HOLY SHIT BOSTON STREETS

Oh, hey, I moved to Boston. Yeah.

I don’t know what the fuck the founders of Boston were drinking when they put together Boston’s streets, but I think they may have overdone it.

I’m pretty damn good with maps and directions and geography, so imagine my surprise when I arrived in Boston and immediately turned in 17 wrong directions.  Seriously.  I’ve never seen a city with LESS sense in its urban planning and development. It actually makes anit-sense.

It’s like someone threw spaghetti down on a map of foggy Boston Bay area back in the 1700s and was like, “I shall design this array of spaghetti-strewn geniusness as streets! The pasta gods have deemed it so!”

I don’t know who to blame for changing street names every 4 blocks. That seems like something that could have been fixed in the past 300 years or so. Lazy gits.*

Impressively ridiculous, Boston.

Tomorrow means time to get out my bike… so I can get hopelessly lost in Boston by a 3rd type of transportation in a week.

* Actually, when I expressed my displeasure re: Boston streets to a former Bostonian, his reply was something along the lines of: “Bostonians were too busy saving everyone’s candy asses from the redcoats to care about streets, motherfucker!”

Alright, fine. That’s a half valid excuse at least.

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Things that become messy

Apparently, the Des Plaines River Trail bike path is not travelled enough that it needs to be 100% maintained.

Within 5 miles of attempting to use the DPRT bike path to go from Arlington Heights to Chicago, I had carried my bike over railroad tracks, caked both feet and both bike tires in mud, broken a piece of my bike off, been on the receiving end of approximately 14 mosquito bites, and somehow ended up on a path that dead-ended into a rolling grassy knoll along the side of the highway.

After which I abandoned my billiant DPRT plan and reverted to the safety of city streets.

I’m certain this is more my own dramatic failings than any trail maintenance (although, honestly, having a two-way trail be the width of one bike tire in places doesn’t seem like adequate maintenance), but I’d much rather put the blame on someone else.

Des Plaines River Trail FAIL

Des Plaines River Trail FAIL

It’s okay, though. I needed to do laundry anyways.  And that antiseptic was just sitting there. And Krazy Glue is fun.

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Things that are both creepy and embarrassing

As previously discussed, my computer/internet is not what one would call “top of the line.”  For this reason, when I know I will need to use a computer for personal use for a lengthy amount of time, I will often stay late at work and utilize the privileges of fast internet and large hard-drive space.

Tonight, I decided to abuse said privileges to register for my Grad School classes and listen to one more painful Cubs loss. As per usual, my meandering takes much longer than I’d expect and at one point I look outside and realize, to my shock, that it is in fact pitch dark.

With further use of my high intelligence (and inspection of a clock), I discover it is actually 9:30pm. My automatic “Oh, crap” mode snaps in, and I attempt to finish what I can before total patheticness sets in, when all the sudden, things get creepy.

See, now, at work,we often have people over inspecting the roof for various reasons: leaks, HVAC stuff, solar panels, etc. Therefore, I am well versed in what it sounds like when someone is walking on our roof.

And tonight, my brain abruptly registers this dull sound.

Thump.

Thump.

Ba-bum thump.

I pseudo-ignore it for a few minutes while I clean up, trying to imagine it’s thunder, the wind, my overactive brain, whatever.

Thump.

Ba-dum bum. Thump.

Shit.

That is SO not the wind.

Okay, so sometimes people break into our office building, steal some shit. Whatever. It’s petty shit, right? We’re not in the greatest area, but it’s not terrible… at least it’s better than it used to be when we had a prostitution ring semi-regularly use our parking lot for transactions. It’s probably some kids, who somehow scaled the wall to the roof. They’ll leave, right? They see there’s lights on, right? I’m not in any danger, right? RIGHT?

Thump.

Ba-dum.

Bum.

Thump.

Okay.  Shit. My brain is going into overdrive, so I might as well call 311, and see if they’ll do a welfare check on the building. Then again, maybe I’m overreacting.

Ba-dum-bum-bum thump.

Thump.

Thump.

Okay, fine, I’m not overreacting. I dial.  311 decides my call IS an emergency and puts me through to police dispatch. I explain my situation, and pretend I’m not as freaked out as my brain is, and ask ever-so-nicely if they’d just possibly send someone over to check out the roof of the building. They agree, and after I hang up I have to decide whether or not I’m leaving or staying put until the cops get here.  After all, it’s just a welfare check, and this IS Chicago – it could take hours for them to arrive.

Ba-dum.

Thump. Thump Thump.

Ba-thump. Thud.

Right. Okay.
Staying put. Check.

I call a couple of people from work to keep myself calm and inform them of the situation, and, much to my surprise, after only about 5 minutes, three Chicago Police Officers show up.

On bicycles.

I graciously unlock and open the front door and talk to one of them while the other two circle the building. I 30-second sum up the past petty crime, the walking sounds on the roof, the fact that I’m in the building by myself when normally no one is at work this late. Mr. Police officer looks at me, and very kindly says:

“Oh. That does sound creepy, but are you sure it wasn’t the fireworks?”

Um.

Oh.

Okay.

Shit.

It’s a Wednesday night. In Chicago. And there are fireworks at Navy Pier in the summer at 9:30pm. Every Wednesday.

That’s why the footsteps sounded so constant. And started so suddenly.

Shit.

Shit.

Mr. Police Men are very kind and not insulting at all as they offer to wait until I go inside, lock up, and get in one of the work trucks to drive home.

So. Um.  Thank you Police Sirs, for indulging my extraordinarily overactive brain for Things That Go Bump In The Dark.  Also, I think you’re pretty awesome for riding bikes while fighting crime.

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84

I took my bike out today for its inaugural ride along the lakefront bike path (yes, I know it’s June and that’s late but I was injured and so was my bike so ha take that yeah). And, though glorious time and weather it was, by the time I passed Belmont, I was so irked I couldn’t handle it, so I started counting them.

I counted 84.

84 people, between Belmont and Hollywood Blvd. on the southbound bike path Not. Wearing. Fucking. Helmets.

What the fuck.

Do I really need to post more BIKE SMASHY pictures????

No, but I will anyways:

Wear your goddamn helmets

Wear your goddamn helmets

Bike smashies = BAD FUCKING NEWS.

It’s my new goddamn fruitless crusade: Wear your helmets, Chicagoans.  I promise, your flattened fucking hair won’t care.

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Things that are just plain stupid

I consider myself to be a fan of bicycling.  I’m not perhaps the most hard-core messenger-criticalmass-mountain-biker, but as I don’t own a car and have a love/hate relationship with the Chicago bus system, I biked to work on a regular basis into December this past year.  But… well, then it was winter. In Chicago. And I’m just not that bad ass.

That being said, the birds are now chirping and the month of May has brought around the beginning of summer in Chicago like a fresh cup of coffee that slowly awakens the morning. That’s a terrible metaphor, but go with it, I’m tired (hence the coffee imagery).  And so, with summer, come the return of the bikers!

“Hurray!” says the environment!  “Bloody shit,” say thousands of drivers.

Now, I say this as a bike-lover myself… sometimes the bikers in Chicago make no sense.  Most cyclists are fine, but the ones who aren’t stand out and give a bad name to the rest of us.  For instance: Any biker who rides on Ashland Avenue. WTF? Why? Way to bike someplace where there is not only no bike lane, but there’s barely room for two cars, so that people have to swerve into other lanes to go around you. Oh, and way to do it at rush hour.

But fine. Sure. Mostly it’s just asinine nitpicky things that different bikers see different ways.  But one thing I just find plain damn stupid:

Where the FUCK is your helmet???

Honestly, driving to work this morning, I counted the cyclists I passed – of the 18 I passed, only 6 of them were wearing helmets.  And 4 of them were obviously a family biking to school.

One woman had her helmet with her, not on her head, but naturally instead in her bike basket.

YES. BECAUSE THAT WILL SAVE YOU WHEN THIS HAPPENS:

BIKE SMASHY

BIKE SMASHY

For realz.  This is just plain damn stupid.

All I can say is:

Helmets are hot

Helmets are hot

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