Should I get a cart?
Journal of a mature, non-Olympic woman in the process of converting to cycling as a method of daily transportation. Dealing with weather and assorted perils; exploring equipment, psychological fortitude, and diet; experiencing our surroundings on a smaller, closer scale; saving gas & boycotting the car industry.
It took me a little over ONE HOUR on the MAX to get to Beaverton, not counting the walk to the train. The hardest part was remembering to get off at the station called Beaverton Central and not the one next in line called Beaverton Transit Center. No doubt dozens of people a day waste hours of human resource potential getting off at the wrong one. The smart person on the station-naming committee must have been in the bathroom when those names were put forward.
Today I'll be travelling from one place I fear -- a suburb to the east of Portland that starts with a G, to another place I fear -- a suburb to the west of Portland that starts with a B. Suburbs, at least in this country, are places of sprawl with the unit of design being the automobile. On foot, one feels like an ant; on a bike, one feels like..... another ant.
I’ve sort of been trying to ignore the bad news that already yet another cyclist has died, in the same manner as the last one -- being cut off by a large work truck making a right turn. I was succeeding in not thinking about it for as long as the victim was still anonymous.
That means that besides having this idea in the first place, the person had to hold the idea in his head long enough to go somewhere else, procure the appropriate tool, return to the site, remember what he was doing, and complete the task. That's a skill set worthy of a resume. Too bad about the other stuff that goes with it.
I wonder if this is really what happened. Is there an underworld use for trash can hoods that I don't know about?
I just want to point out – since we humans think we’re so smart – that every single time we invent something that’s going to supposedly make our lives better, it herds in a whole flock of new problems we didn’t have before it was invented. And usually no one wants to look at those because they’re too busy playing with the new toy, and if somebody starts pointing out the new problems that go with the toy, that person immediately get called a giant party poop.
I’ve long wondered what happens if they catch someone on board the trains without a ticket. For the first couple of months I rode the Max regularly I never saw this happen, nor did I have anyone ask me to show a ticket. Then one day as we rolled into a station, a girl looking out the window called out the word “inspectors” in a loud but casual voice when she saw two yellow coated men on the platform. At that moment, every one of the six or seven passengers in my section of the train stood up and headed toward the nearest doors. As the doors opened, they all peered attentively down the length of the train, and then at some unseen signal which apparently conveyed that the inspectors were not in fact boarding, they all changed their minds and returned to their seats. This, in addition to a few conversations I’ve heard on board and on the platforms, gave me the impression that a huge number of people ride ticketless.
I visited the ghost bike for Tracey Sparling today. Heaped with flowers – even more than the other night. You can hardly see the bike. It’s hard not to cry in front of it, even if you don’t know her. I wished I had vases of water for all the cut flowers to keep them alive. I wish that it could be continually replenished with dozens of fresh bouquets and more pictures of her --indefinitely into the future. Why not? It would be a way of remembering her, and also reminding people that this can happen.
The only thing wrong with my obtain-a-folding-bike campaign is that it entails acquiring yet another ITEM – which seriously conflicts with another campaign I’ve got going on, which is to vacate a certain storage unit.
The thing that’s most different about me from the self of a few months ago is that I have in my possession a most marvelous thing, namely: a Tri-Met public transportation pass, good for the entire year on any busses and trams in the city. It has my picture on it (so that only I can use it) and lives in my wallet. Since I got it, I almost feel that I have been given wings. When I say “been given,” I’m afraid that’s a big part of the fabulous feeling. I was given it without cost. I feel like I can now get absolutely anywhere with the total freedom of not having to shlep a vehicle along with me.
I'm thinking that when it's too dark, or too rainy, or when the distance is a little farther than I have the time or energy for, I'll start adding the public transportation to my commuting strategy. Three things have been discouraging me from using this option so far.
I’m probably the only one in Portland who didn’t know about last night’s bike fatality till I got home tonight at around 8:30. It so sickened me to hear it. I’m very familiar with the exact spot where it happened, I was just there the other day. I ride by there all the time.
Here’s the promised photo. The owner of this bike must’ve been mad as a hornet. Are you listening, Tri-met? We need safe places for our bikes if this public transportation thing is going to work. Safe, and dry, please.
Here I am in my hidey hole and I forgot to bring the magic cord that sucks the pictures out of my camera and squirts them into my blog. So the photo of the vandalized bike will have to wait till tomorrow, sorry.
The other day when I locked my bike up to the bike rack at the Hollywood transit center, another bike locked there had had its wheel stolen. And I know it wasn’t just taken off by its owner as is sometimes done to prevent theft, because for one, it was the back wheel, and who does that? takes off their back wheel and drags it along? No one. Two, the bike was left resting on its derailleur mechanism smack on the concrete, so obviously the bike owner wouldn’t have done that either. I took a photo I’ll post tomorrow. It looks so ravaged.
I heard exclamations accompanied by the thud of – of what? landing bodies?