The Queen of Practical
The other day on my way across town I met Marsha. We were riding along one of the bike boulevards at the same speed, so we got to talking. That's the way biking is -- you're not all closed in from other humans, you're right out there.
For those of you not from Portland, bike boulevards are just the smaller streets through residential areas that are not major arterials and therefore are not highly traveled by cars. Cars don't like the stop signs every two blocks, they prefer the big noisy streets with the more infrequently placed stop lights. Certain of these residential streets, quite a number of them actually, have been designated as bike boulevards. Maps have been made showing these streets as having been designated for bikes. You can cross town on these, with minimal contact with the big hairy scary streets. Little arrows topping round discs with bike symbols are painted onto the surfaces of these streets. There are very few cars to contend with.
Anyway I was complimenting Martha on all her weather proof bike clothing, and she said she got it all at a construction supply store. We stopped in the middle of a street and she pulled a couple of other items out of her basket to show me -- most notably an orange construction vest. Much sturdier than most of the flimsy ones I've seen (and bought) at bike shops, and according to Marsha, much, much cheaper. She had protective safety glasses she got there for a dollar thirty nine, as opposed to the 37 dollars you might pay for them if they were labeled bike glasses and sold in a bike shop.
She has a major point there. I'm definitely going to go have a look. The store she named started with an S. I wrote it on my hand, but unfortunately have bathed since, and now I can't read it.
As for safety glasses, I don't need them....... since I am reputed to have emerged from the womb wearing a little pair of lizard specs. Meaning that as a lucky glasses wearer, I don't need yet another pair of glasses to keep debris from flying into my eyes. As for the other supplies, though, I use everything, and I'd love to know of a cheap source.
Next I have to tell you about the use or non-use of safety equipment in Italy.