Friday, July 27, 2012

Accomodating to new biking conditions

Locked up in front of Nami, a 7th Street coffee shop.
I'm nearing the end of my second week in Phoenix, and I've been out exploring a bit on my bicycle everyday.  With temperatures well above 100 daily, I've taken the advise of those more experience Phoenix cyclists who posted here previously and hit the road as early as possible, which for me, at the moment, means around 10 a.m.  For each trip, I'm equipped with a bottle of ice water and a cloth for moping up the perspiration that erupts on my brow whenever I have to stop at a stoplight or lock up my bike.  I'm not even bothering with my helmet because it's just too hot to wear one without my hair turning into a wet sloppy mess.  No amount of lecturing or fear mongering in the world will change my decision on that.

Locking up at Coronado Cafe on Monte Vista and 7th Street.
So enough complaining about the heat.  So far, I love, love, love being back in an urban neighborhood.  Bob and I have so far visited about five locally owned restaurants within three or four blocks of our house since we moved in.  We either biked or walked to each. 

Urban Bean on 7th between Osborn and Indian School Road has a nice little bike corral.  And great lemonade.
Most of them don't offer any bike corrals but we've always been able to find something to lock up next to.  Wednesday we walk to dinner and nearly went into an ecstasy induced coma over stuffed dates and chicken crepes.  Last night we took an after dark stroll to another little nearby place and had dessert and pino grigio.  We're really enjoying the diversity of dining options, most of which are very reasonably priced.

A Nami patron.

The front counter at Nami.
Bob at Saturday brunch at Coronado Cafe.
Busy but quiet interior of the Urban Bean.
Coffee, tea, wine and snacks are served from the counter of the Urban Bean.
It feels just like old times back in Louisville in my beloved Original Highlands neighborhood.  I'm just a city girl who loves old urban neighborhoods where a little grunge mixes with houses with character, gardens gone just a little bit wild, funky yard art and an eclectic mix of personalities (we've yet to meet them at this point but I'm pretty sure they're there).  Lots of dog walkers.  Lots of people going somewhere by bike, too.

At Central Avenue near Van Buren, ASU's downtown campus.
One thing I'm struggling to get used to and feel okay about is pedaling on sidewalks.  Unless it's a mostly residential street or a side road, I never, ever see people biking on City streets unless they have a bike lane. Cyclists bike on the sidewalk.  The traffic isn't what I'd describe as congested; it just moves really fast.  I hate pedaling on the sidewalk - there are so many more distractions - but that just seems to be the norm.  Nonetheless, it really makes me feel like a rube.  Oh, well, when in Phoenix . . . I just don't have time to advocate on behalf of the issue at the moment but maybe once I get the house completely organized I'll be able to catch my breath and send someone (I don't know who at the moment) an email expressing my support for more bike lanes and segregated paths.


Dan said...

I'm with you on not liking the sidewalks. In my town, there are only a couple of streets with painted bike lanes, so I'm used to taking the lane on normal streets, and I avoid the faster, busier thoroughfares. Maybe your solution, as you get used to the area, is to find side streets to use.

She Rides a Bike said...

That's what I plan to work on. I've already found a few calmer routes from our house.

anniebikes said...

I always enjoy pictures of your Breezer. It looks like a very practical city girl bike. I suppose I'm also swayed by the Breezer Uptown version.

And, by the way, that bungalow is darling. I hope it keeps the heat at bay.

She Rides a Bike said...

Thanks, Annie. The Breezer is a very practical city bike for a city girl. I do love it. I need to do some upgrades at some point - I've managed to crack the fenders in a couple of places and I'd like to relocate the headlight to the fork so that the handlebars will accommodate a good sized basket but as I've just put down money on a Brompton, upgrades will have to wait until after grad school.

The bungalow is air conditioned and has ceiling fans in every room so we are staying quite comfortable in the heat.

Sam said...

You're changing my mind about riding in Phoenix - I never thought it was a city even worth visiting, especially since it is home to some ginormous freeways. But I may have to pay a visit now and check out those awesome eateries.

She Rides a Bike said...

It all depends on location, location, location, Sam. Our neighborhood is the foodie 'hood. Come out when the weather cools off though. 116 is miserable. You certainly have a place to stay!

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