Wednesday, September 19, 2012

When it rains in the desert

Post monsoon, the streets glisten.  A Target bag kept my saddle dry.
We had a rainy few weeks in the desert earlier in the month but I just had to deal with it.  It can be tricky because the rain leaves really deep puddles since there don't seem to be a lot of drains at the street curbs.  Somehow I managed to avoid getting splashed by a passing car but there were some near misses.

A high curb kept my feet out of an otherwise deep puddle.
Riding around on a soaked bike saddle leaves an embarrassing impression on your rear end, so I learned to keep a plastic bag in my pannier, just in case.

My Cleverhood is light enough for warm weather and really kept me dry.
And I wore Cleverhood rain cape on several mornings to keep dry.  Other than that, I still wore my regular clothes.

Rain will not keep me from dresses and pretty shoes.
I can easily tuck in under my bike rack when the sun comes out - it always does.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

The bike, blogging and school balance

It's off to school I go, armed with hat, sunglasses and SPF protection.
I'm still here but keeping up with school has become the focus of my life these days.  Higher education has changed a great deal in twenty years and while I'm barely able to keep up with the reading I am far behind of the latest technology.  Yesterday, I sat at this desk and had a near meltdown at my inability to figure out ASU's electronic library system.  Today, I pedaled to the downtown a kind-hearted library science student (would it be too much to say he was eager to help) walked me through the system and I now have a "bookshelf" account.  Please don't ask me what that is.  Card catelogs still exist but since I didn't see one anywhere I assume it is locked away in some forgotten room, or possibly in the janitor's closet.

A pencil skirt in a stretchy French Ponti knit is very comfortable to ride in.
I've missed blogging for the last two weeks, and keeping up with the many blogs I normally follow.  I dare not deviate from my reading schedule on most days and click over to see what Sam or Meli or Kristen are doing because it's just so easy to get completely absorbed in the thoughts and experiences of fellow bicycle lovers from other parts of the country.  I'm a tad resentful of that (plus I won't get to go to Interbike this year) because as much as I love social media and the Internet, I really can't say much for on-line education.  I only have one on-line course this semester, a required course missing from my previous academic record, and, although I'm doing well in it, trying to learn an unfamiliar subject without the benefit of face-to-face instruction and the input of other students takes up an inordinate amount of time and a great deal of frustration.  And time away from blogging.

This is the worst section.  I have to walk my bike on the very edge to get through.
I am happy to report that I reported the oleander sidewalk obstruction on 7th Steet between Thomas and Osborn to both the City of Phoenix and my Councilman Nowakowski's office and received an immediate reply from both!  Felicitia, Councilman N's LA told me they are already working with the Phoenix Country Club on the oleander problem on Osborn, with a plan for a resolution by early October, and will talk to them about the section on 7th as well.  As a former LA myself, if you need to report a sidewalk obstruction, or any kind of public works problem, it might help to send a photo of the problem and convey exactly what is the problem with the problem.  In this case, the overhanging shrubbery sends pedestrians, bicyclists (you can pedal on sidewalks in Phoenix) and people in wheelchairs dangerously close to a really busy street.  It's a risk management issue.  Nobody wants to get sued.  It's also just a plain old good neighborhood issue.  People won't use unsafe sidewalks.  I thinks it's also really nice to send a friendly "thank you" in reply and to be patient.  Be persistent but give things time to get resolved.  Everyone's "to do" list is pretty long.

Just because you are studying to be a social worker doesn't mean you have to forget about fashion.
 Doesn't she look elegant?   I've never tried
biking in a dress this long but I guess it doesn't require a skirt guard.
In between reading, writing, getting technologically up to speed and solving Phoenix's public works dilemmas, I've also managed to meet a few of my bike riding classmates.

I don't know anything about this brand but it's very stylish.  Love the swept back handlebars.
I don't know if they are committed transportation cyclists but parking is damn expensive downtown so for the next two years they just might be.

Deputy sheriff and part-time social work student on a bike.  And, no, I didn't ask him about Sheriff Joe.

I did get hit by a car a few weeks ago as I was returning from class.  I made the mistake of assuming the woman exiting the parking lot of Safeway on 7th and McDowell would not pull out into extreme heavy traffic but would wait for an opening.  I was wrong - but unhurt.  Her car hit by bike but oddly enough didn't touch me.  My lesson is to ALWAYS make eye contact with the driver no matter how unlikely the possibility of him or her pulling out in front of you.  Her lesson - and I suspect she I made my point perfectly clear - LOOK BOTH WAYS.  It shook me up more than I thought it would but I've never been hit before.  No damage to my Breezer.  No damage to me.  I need to bike smarter the next time.  I'll end on that note.  Let's all bike just a little bit smarter the next time.  

Monday, September 3, 2012

New bike route fun!

If you are a long-time reader of SRAB, you might recall that Bob and I celebrated his Phoenix job offer and finding a great rental with an afternoon at Chase Field, where the theme of the day was "Bring your dog to the park", complete with a dog parade on the field before the game.  Chase Field is exactly two miles from our front door, which pleased us very much.  Even more pleasing was that another dog day was scheduled for August 26!  I think you know where this story is heading so if you don't like gratuitous picture of Daisy you better move on from here.

Quiet neighborhood streets are ideal for a peaceful ride to a destination - especially if you have a passenger.
A few SRAB readers suggested that as we get to know the area we'll find good alternatives to pedaling on the sidewalk.

Uhmmm . . . .Daisy appears to be seeking shade under by ass!  That is really embarrassing but so funny that I had to share.
That has, indeed, proved to be the case. The day before, Bob biked to Downtown Salon for a haircut and explored the area for quieter side streets.  

Pedaling above I-10 was just a little unnerving, even with the fencing.
Since we weren't sure about Daisy being on busy streets we took Bob's newly discovered route, which took us over a covered pedway across the 10.  The quieter route proved to be a smart idea - and the following pictures will explain way.

Daisy couldn't handle it when Bob was to the right of us and crawled on to the top of the rear rack.
I had to stop and shorten her lead in order to keep her in the pannier. 
Once at the park, I immediately had to turn around and return home when I discovered my house and car keys weren't in my purse.  I took the same route back and pedaled like a mad woman since I didn't want to miss the parade.  Happily, I found my keys still in the inside lock to the gate and immediately secured them in my purse and sped as fast as I could pedal back to the ballpark.

Bike parking at Chase Field is pretty great, especially with my favorite style of corral.
I soon found Bob in the parade holding area with Daisy and a couple hundred other dogs and their people. 

The dog parade holding area.
Clearly, Bob and I were among a similarly dogcentric crowd, and I felt a bit chagrined that I had not taken the time to dress Daisy up in a Diamond backs uniform.  I'm sure she noticed.

I'm a nervous little dog.
Oh, the excitement! 

In the line up.
We've been waiting two months for this!  Finally, out on the ball field!

Bob checks out the stands.

They kept us moving but I get a good full shot of Bob and Daisy.

Daisy was a bit skittish with all the dogs and people moving around her and couldn't seem to decide
if she wanted to walk or be carried.

Post parade we headed up to level three to the dog lovers section. 

Remarkably, Daisy was a good little girl and never barked a bit despite being surrounded by dogs of every shape and size. 

Oh, yes, she had a bite!
Or maybe she was just too distracted by the potential for a bite of hotdog to care about talking to the other dogs.

Definitely ready for a long nap.
By the end of the second inning, Daisy, to say nothing of Bob and I, were exhausted and decided to head home.  The ride back was a lot easier than the ride down, as Daisy was too pooped to try and climb out in search of her boy.  Regardless, I feel pretty determined that we'll need to come up with better system for transporting Daisy on the Breezer.  My preferred solution is a front carrier like the Snoozer, which I used on the Dahon.  Unfortunately, using the Snoozer or any front mounted basket will require me to replace my current headlamp with one that mounts on the fork.  A new Busche and Mueller system will be pricey but Daisy is worth it.