Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Ma Cousine, une salade et corrals vélo que j'aime

We got about four inches of snow in Flagstaff today, interrupting a relatively spring-like February.  Normally, I'd be jumping for joy anticipating a cross country ski outing but as we near March I've already got warming temperatures on my mind.  Plus, I've just really appreciated the opportunity to totally avoid dealing with my New Years Resolution to purchase studded tires for my Breezer.

Oh, well.  If I just really need to feel the heat I can go down to Phoenix and visit my cousin, Angie, which is what I did two weeks ago.  I needed to take care of some family business down there and ended up driving down on a Sunday morning a day ahead so that we could  have a chance to socialize via bike around her neck of the woods.    With temperatures in the low 70's we had perfect biking weather and decided to pedal from her house over to Central for lunch at Postino.  Very chic!

Bike Parking at Postino is very respectable, as if they want patrons to arrive on bikes!
We arrived around 12:30 and seating remained available on  the patio.  Yeah!  What's better than alfresco dining?  Uhmmmm . . . . bike parking in view of our table, perhaps?  Indeed, there it was, and in a very respectable, desert landscaped garden setting.   

As I keep watch over our beloved bike, ma fair cousine tries to avoid eye contact w/ reality TV wannabes.
We could keep an eye on our bicycles while we enjoyed wine,  gossiped, compared finger nail polish, and tried to ignore the two guys at the next table.  (They looked like cast members from some random reality TV show and, in my opinion, were checking out my cousin.  Never happen in any universe!) Do you think it's a bit paranoid to need to keep an eye on bikes that are adequately secured to a good bike corral?  Somehow, I think it is and yet, I can't seem to help myself.  I don't feel about my bicycles the way to do about my dogs. . . .I mean, who wouldn't want to steal them?  But, I look at my bikes and I sort of think the same thing.  But, really, I feel much more strongly about my dogs as I do about my bicycles.

Salads so good we ate every bite.  And don't Angie's nails look lovely?
Anyway, we both ordered Chicken and Pecan salad with Raspberry dressing.  It was served with a finger-shaped slice of walnut bread.  Delicious, of course.  Angie took Bob and I there five years ago when we first came to Arizona for Bob's job interview.  We arrived at about the same time of day but since it was the middle of August, it was hot as hell outside so we ate indoor.  Inside or out, Postino is very sophisticated but casual at the same time and always wonderful.  But really, the bike parking is just the best part so I'll definitely be back.

After lunch, we parted ways for a few hours while I pedaled on to my appointment further down Central.  It's easy to be judgmental about Phoenix's bike friendliness in comparison to Flagstaff but honestly, I enjoyed my trip.  I pedaled for a few blocks on a bike lane.  I stopped at a light and a pedestrian in the crosswalk chatted me up briefly about my Dahon; turns out he had a folding bike, too.  A block or so later the bike lane directed me to merge on to an extra wide sidewalk that seemed to be designed for both walkers and cyclists.  Very nice, indeed.  I like bike lanes but if I can pedal on a segregated path that's my preference.  I pedaled along this way for until I arrived in the Central Phoenix area.  The Metro Rail was at the left for the entire distance.  The rail stops are really attractive and I would have loved to get some shots of them but the battery on my cell was running low.  Damn!  I saw so many people with bikes waiting from trains . . .

Eventually, I destination was insight and luckily very near ASU, where I found . . . . more excellent bike parking!  Lots of bikes locked up to the corrals but many open spots as well.  Again, my protective nature for my Dahon kicked in and I wondered if it would be safe.  My bike would definitely be out of my visual range.  I decided to remove the seatpost, my bike African bike basket and my bungee cord and take them with me.  Was it overkill?  I don't know?  I hated standing out from carrying my seatpost but I decided that it made my bike a little less theft-worthy.

My appointment ended at 5 p.m. and I set out for Angie's house near Indian School and 15th.  Maybe a five mile trip.  Oh, how I wanted to stop at Postino for another glass of wine.  I  passed on my return route but, since I had to drive back up to Flag, I reigned in the urge.  Since I followed Angie to Postino in the first place I didn't totally trust that I knew the route back to I used Verizon Navigator on my Android.  I don't have room for a docking device on my handlebar so I propped it up against my Coach bag in basket for a perfect view.  The trip back was surprisingly brief, despite all the stops I made to admire some of the renovated ranch houses I saw along the way. Also unexpected was how comfortable I felt traveling by bike on largely unfamiliar streets.  I visit Phoenix pretty often but it's a huge city so I don't actually know my way around.  I never feel that comfortable on Phoenix streets and road when I'm in a car.  In those instances, I'm far to worried about keeping up with traffic or running into another car to possibly enjoy myself so I almost always prefer Bob or Angie to do the driving.  Sort of makes me wonder if I'd even want to own a car if we lived in Phoenix.  Between my bicycle, the Metro Rail and the bus, would a car even be necessary in a car-centric city?  Maybe my Phoenix and south Cal readers can weigh in on that?


JD said...

I ALWAYS remove my post and Brooks if the bike will be out-of-site.

She Rides a Bike said...

That's why it's so crazy, Jim. I only have the entry level Dahon saddle!

Chris said...

I have a folding bike too - usually I take it inside, but if I can't, I fold it and lock it up. I think people are way less likely to mess with something that looks like it's going to take some effort.

BB said...

Ah . . . Folding and locking. That seems a good idea. I'll be doing that with my Dahon from now on.

With regard to keeping an eye on the bike, I'm just as bad. My opinion of a cafe is as likely to be influenced by the proximity of bike parking as it is the food!

BluesCat said...

Just saw this today, Karen. I just realized how long it's been since I visited. Shame on me!

Central Phoenix has gotten a lot better for bike riders. It's when you get east of 3rd Street or west of 3rd Avenue that things start to get a little wilder.

ADOT has some really good cycling maps of most of the main Arizona cities. They're in a form that you can zoom in, screen capture and print out. Check them out here: ADOT Bicycle and Pedestrian Program Maps

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