Biked to work this morning. I ended up trailing a guy by about a block for most of the ride. I was trying to let him stay in front, which wasn’t really that hard anyway. He was just locking up his bike when I got to the bike racks–wasn’t expecting that. Earlier, a car pulled out in front of me and then pulled to the right side of the road a few blocks later to pick up a passenger. Then put on its left turn signal, so I slowed and then stopped because I thought the car would be pulling out into traffic and I didn’t want to be in the way. Then it sat there, so I ended up waiting behind it before finally pedaling past, with caution, to the light.
When I went out this afternoon for a short walk for caffeinated sustenance, I saw that part of 4th Street northbound is blocked to traffic. The northbound bus turned to take a detour towards 2nd Street. I wasn’t looking forward to biking home, but it beats riding the bus with a detour.
I biked to the coffee shop for my weekend working date. Friday evening, R. helped me put air in the tires — I hadn’t realized how low they were until I rode on Saturday. Same route to work but so much easier! However, I have the following happen:
- I was cut off in the bike lane by a guy in an electric wheelchair. He came out from the left in the Kroger area and pulled into the lane and just slowly motored along.
- I almost hit a squirrel — two of them darted into the lane playing/fighting. The day I hit an animal on my bike may be the day I stop riding.
- I was almost hit with cigarette ash by a driver parked on the side of the road near the bike racks by the coffee shop.
# 4 – Downtown/Medical Center (4:13 pm)
One of the only days I rode the bus all week, and it was awful. The morning bus was pretty new and had the AC going strong — probably a little too strong for that time of day. The afternoon bus was older (on a scale of 1-4, with 4 being the snazzy new hybrids, it was a 2). R. and I had had plans to meet friends for dinner at 6, but that had been rescheduled. Thankfully, it turns out. I had planned to catch the 4 p.m. bus but got caught up in something, so I arrived with three minutes to spare for the 4:13 bus. Which showed up 5 minutes late. I saw it at the previous stop just sitting there as cars drove around, but it didn’t look like anyone with a wheelchair or extra baggage was getting on or off.
Instead, I’m pretty sure the bus was overheating. It beeped. A lot. We stopped at Ormsby and sat there another 5 minutes while two different types of beeping happened, over and over again. I considered getting off and walking but it was over 90 degrees outside and humid. A teenager did get off and walked north to Oak. The bus finally got going again, and the teen scurried to catch the bus again. Around this time, the next #4 passed us.
I finally got home around 5 and slept for 2 hours.
Where have the days gone? It’s been 10 days already. I can’t even say exactly which days I rode the bus — not too often in the last week because I’ve been trying to bike.
The biking has been nice, if hot. I spend the first 10 minutes at work cooling off — I have facial wipes and I stop at the bathroom to wash my face and get a damp paper towel. In the afternoon, I can just hop in the shower when I get home. The goal is to bike at least twice a week. Today is Tuesday and I’ve already met this week’s goal. If it gets any hotter, I may return to the bus, though.
Update: I remembered a bike story from last Thursday. I was stopped on Cardinal at 4th at the red light waiting to go straight. In the left turn lane was a company van: Rich James Mechanical, Lebanon, Kentucky. I spent half the ride home with “I’m Rich James, bitch!” stuck in my head. I told R. and we made up Rick James-themed mechanical-company jingles. Sometimes it’s the little things.
# 23 – Newburg (8:45 am)
Status: 2 minutes late
I arrived at 4th & Broadway 15 minutes early and thought I’d call my mom, but she didn’t answer her phone. So I sat on a bench and watched the traffic. Two, older bearded white men showed up talking to each other, but then one left. The other one hung around and said, “Hey, hey!” until I realized he was talking to me — we weren’t actually facing each other at the time. I turned towards him, and he was off. It was like he knew I had kept a blog and needed a story. Talking semi-incoherently about the Saturday bus schedule and missing a bus and waiting. He takes care of an old man somewhere and sits with him. Usually, it’s Monday-Friday, but this man was sick Friday so asked if he could come on Saturday. But the bus schedules! I agree the Saturday schedule isn’t great at all, but I couldn’t really have a conversation with the man, because even when I agreed with him, he corrected me.
I could walk a mile, but I don’t really want to walk in this heat.
It’s even worse when you’re coming from across the river.
He stays at a motel across the river (Indiana), and it’s so popular that they won’t hold rooms–you have to be there every day to check in, apparently. And if he’s gone too long because of the buses, he might lose his room.
Then, as it naturally does, the conversation, such as it was, turned to the weather. I know people from Louisiana who say this is great. I tried to respond with a comment on the “thickness” of humidity.
I don’t think we’re gonna have a bad summer at all, he said.
I don’t know, I said. It’s supposed to be 95 degrees today.
Who told you that? They were lyin’. I watch the Weather Channel and it’s only supposed to be 87.
When another man arrived at the stop, the man turned to him with the same script. When the bus arrived, he did not board it, so now I really have no idea where he was trying to go.
# 55 – downtown/Jefferson St (12:22 pm)
Status: 4 minutes late
Even though I often take the bus to the coffee shop, I don’t usually take it home. Today I did. I was gathering up my things when I saw the #23 westbound pass. I knew from the morning’s schedule that the next one would be in about 25 minutes. I stopped at the restroom and when I emerged, I saw the #17 westbound pass. Oops. I headed outside and checked additional options on GoogleMaps on my phone. The next #23 was due at 12:21 right across the street. The #55 was due at 12:22. At 12:26, the 23 hadn’t arrived, but the #55 pulled up. One man was on the bus. Two of us were at the stop — the second person asked the driver if the bus went to Broadway. It didn’t, so he waited for the 23. I boarded the bus where the AC was going strong. The other passenger got off before we even got downtown. No one else got on. I got off at 2nd & Broadway, where the driver idled for a few minutes before passing me at the light with his empty, chilly bus.
I have not ridden the bus since Saturday. It’s actually been kind of nice.
Monday: Despite a 40% chance of rain, I risked it and biked to work. Around 2, it started raining. No thunder or lightning, but pretty steady rain and I had no jacket or anything. The husband was driving past my campus a little before 4 and picked me up — the bike went in the back seat.
Tuesday: Only a 10% chance of rain. I biked round-trip.
Wednesday: I walked to work. The husband met me on campus for an appointment, and we drove home afterwards.
Thursday: Bike this morning. I admit I kind of dreaded the idea even as I prepared for it. My quads! The sweat! But it was sunny and about 63 degrees out, and it seemed silly not to. It was after 7:30 when I left the apartment to go to the basement for the bike. It was 7:48 when I passed the car repair place just north of Kentucky Street (.7 miles), the clock tower was chiming 8 when I rode up to the bike racks outside the library, and it was 8:05 when I got to my office.
Granted, this week has involved use of the car, but very minimally, and, overall, I think it’s a good trend. If only it doesn’t get too humid.
Last night, as we took a walk, the husband and I ended up discussing the Doppler effect. Confession: This conversation does not make me sound very smart. I said, I’m sure it’s just physics, but it always feels like cars deliberately speed up as they pass me when I’m on the bike. I think it’s the Bernoulli effect. Husband said it was Doppler. Oh yeah. Bernoulli is the shower curtain one, I said. He said, it’s how planes fly. I gave up after that — physics was not my best or my favorite class in school.
Meanwhile, TARC posted a link to its Flickr page. Check out these historic bus photos.
TARC has 3 sets of photos up right now: two of buses from the past and one of the 2012 design a bus winning entries. Cute!
# 23 – Newburg (8:45 am)
Status: 4 minutes late
Sunny, brisk morning. A perfect spring morning except it’s June now. I walked to 4th & Broadway to catch the bus to the coffee shop. Because of the breeze, I stood in a sunny patch of the sidewalk. Across the street an air-conditioning unit was being installed at the Brown Hotel. This involved a huge crane. The hotel is about 15 stories, and the crane was taller than that. It made sense to do this on a Saturday morning, since it involved blocking 2-4 lanes of traffic, but if I were a hotel guest facing Broadway, I’d be pissed to be disturbed before 9 a.m. by a crane.
Still, it was entertaining to watch from across the street. The other people at the stop seemed equally fascinated. The AC unit, which must be industrial-size, seemed so small compared to the crane, the hotel, and the sky. Similar to seeing an 18-wheeler trailer on a barge. As the bus approached, 4 minutes late, the unit had been lowered to the roof and the crane was lowering the lift.