Monday, December 26, 2005

Mission to Mexico

I am in Nogales, Mexico on a fact-finding mission to learn the truth about immigration. It is so complicated that only one sentence, uttered by an American consular official there, sums it up adequately: “Everyone knows what’s wrong with the helicopter, but no one is willing to reach their hands up through the rotating chopper blades to fix it.”

I’ve learned only one thing for sure, which I suspected already:
The fence idea is stupid.

At least I’ve learned the truth about bicycling in Nogales, which can be extrapolated from two facts: 1. There is no stretch of pavement to be found that continues on for more than two meters without an extreme level change. 2. There is no stretch of road, street or highway that is free of someone driving like it’s their last five minutes on earth.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Municipal Intervention

I’ve had it with Mr. Neglectful Abusive Bike Owner. I unearthed a doubled business card handed to me by someone manning a cycling promotion booth at the farmer’s market last summer. City of Portland Office of Transportation, said the card. Bicycing Resources. Bike lane need sweeping? Bike rack needed? Pothole needing repair? Bike lane suggestions? I called the number and talked to a man named Dan Bower. "Is it ok for someone to park their bike in the same spot forever and never EVER move it?" I asked, to which he answered,"No." Then I told him about the particular villain I was referring to and he said, "Maybe we could put up a rack out front, instead of clipping that guy's bike." He asked me some questions about the neighborhood, and when he determined that it was high density residential, mixed about 50-50 with commercial, he said he’d have someone come out and install a bike rack on the sidewalk in front of the building. He said this would probably happen within about a month. No charge.

Hmp. Too easy. We shall see.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Enlisting the Landlord to my Aid

The landlord dragged his sorry ass over to my hideout to tell me, in the most amiable and cloying way, that he was raising my rent.

Naturally I objected and saw that the time had come to unleash a string of complaints, one of which was the lack of bicycle parking. Not that this was the first time I’d mentioned it. Last time he responded by showing me an excellent spot back along the side of the building, easily arrived at by simply dragging my vehicle up some narrow steps, around a couple of tight corners and down a wee path where I could hook it to a banister but only if I were careful not to obstruct any escape routes.

He also promised, for the fourth time, to send out notices to all the tenants that whoever owns that bike should remove it. To my suggestion that he install a bike rack out on the sidewalk he answered, “If you buy it, I’ll install it.” As if that would ever happen. Good night, what kind of fool….