I am extremely blessed to live in Madison, WI, which is a fairly
bike-tolerant community. I commute to work (about 1.5 miles)
year-round. The only days I miss are days when snow is falling and
the roads were already snow-covered when the snow started. My
bike is 6 years old and has never been cleaned. The rust and
grit are holding it together, in my opinion. I get 1 or 2 flats
per year, and as noted below, I had to replace my front wheel
once. Here are some
interesting things that have happened to me while biking.
But first, let me tell you about my NEW BIKE! The old Trek 720
mentioned above finally seized up in summer 2004. What can I say --
it served me well for 8+ years or year-round commuting. I now own
a Gary Fisher Zebrano, and bike technology has changed since the
mid-90s...this new bike is bigger, lighter, much more comfortable.
We'll see what kind of staying power it has. Maybe I'll even
clean it occasionally :)
- Monroe Street in Madison is an artery into Campus and the Isthmus.
I also use it occasionally to commute into work if I go to a bakery
on Monroe street to get a Cinnamon Bun. (Wild Grains for you Madisonians --
they also sell a killer Ciabatta) Between the coffee shop and my
office there is a long hill, which I climbed slowly, meaning the cars
in the curb lane had to slow down. This ticked one charming individual
off -- he drove by me, told me to get off the Fucking road, and then
turned off at Edgewood College, where he was dropping off his child
at the Catholic Elementary School there.
- My normal commute home takes me past a playground (that's really
a parking lot) at the church we attend. One day I thought I saw a
friend of my daughter's playing there, and I looked a little longer
than I should have. I crashed into the back of a parked Minivan,
taco-ing my front wheel. Fortunately, no one saw this beautiful
example of biking. My only injury was a sore jaw from where my face
hit the rear of the minivan.
- The railroad tracks at the end of street were converted to a bike
path. I took to riding the long way home from work sometimes -- 20
miles vs. the normal 1.5 mile commute. The day the dashed-yellow dividing
line was painted, I biked home and was astonished to see around my
head (on a clear, hot summer day) a rainbow! The glass crystals that
were scattered into the paint of the stripes were refracting the light
from the sun around the head of my shadow. It was an interesting and
unexpected visual delight. The crystals were all over the path and
the adjacent grass. After a few rainstorms, the effect was gone,
- The aforementioned bikepath is also a nice early morning diversion
into work, and I took to counting the numbers of rabbits I saw. (I
was normally biking at 5:30 or 6 AM). The most on the 20-mile ride
was 25. This was in early Spring. As Summer progressed, the number
of rabbits decreased. I also saw 5 deer one morning -- (the path goes by
corn fields) and usually saw 1 or 2 deer each week (about 4 rides weekly).
A typical fall hazard is geese which inhabit the waters around the
Sewage Treatment plant. They are nasty things to bike through. (This
bike path skirts the Sewage Treatment Plant).
SSEC // March 4, 2002 //