Monday, February 28, 2005

CCM/FSC Roll Call

Below are pictures of some of the Frozen Snot Century riders taken the night before at Friday's Critical Mass ride:

The Doll.

The doll spent at least 220 miles riding like this.
(The snow pants I forgot on the FSC--dammit!)

Sarah and Sam riding High and Proud on their Tallbikes.

Besides her great riding, Sarah is a fantastic bike mechanic.


Sam rode all the way to Milwaukee on this Monster!
Sarah and Sam are one of the super-cool Bikey Couples.

Stoner on the Tadpole

Stoner testing out the tadpole recumbent .
Read about his Frozen Snot Century Experience

Steffen.

The Big uber-bike tourer who I drafted shamelessly off of.

Me again on my Borrowed Steed.

Just me again--my jacket is actually baby blue, but all of the little reflectors make it glow white under lights.

Frozen Snot Century--The Morning After

I am getting nothing done today at work. Last Friday seems so long ago that I can’t even remember the cases that I am working on, much less care to work on them. My billables are going to be atrocious today.

The physical fallout from the Frozen Snot Century so far seems minimal:

My legs are very warm and bigger than usual (I tried on a pair of pants and everything fit normally except the upper legs were skintight). Apparently my muscles are still engorged. Additionally, my legs are hot–they are just pumping off heat and feel sort of hard even when they aren't flexed. The ponies weren’t very peppy this morning but I think I made it to work in record time (because of the road bike), and went up the hills without breaking pace.

Left knee is sort of achey, but nothing too bad.

My butt is a little sore–but not noticeable unless I think about it.

Shoulders/arms/back–I can feel that I worked them, but they aren’t nearly as sore as when I weight lift.

My wrists and hands are probably the most painful part of my body. The most comfortable riding position was to ball my hands into fists and prop them, pinky-side down, against the ‘horns’ of the bars–unfortunately this kept my hands from the brakes–so it often wasn’t safe to do this. I used the drop bars for less than five miles total because it was just too much of a stretch for me. I need a hand massage.

The balls of my feet hurt a little for some reason–it feels like I have been walking in heels for long distances. Weird.

Overall I feel a little tired, but it’s barely noticeable.

I am still hungry! What the hell–we ate constantly yesterday, and I didn’t skimp on the fat/sugar. We ate like sumo wrestlers in training. I wasn’t hungry all weekend long because we kept getting food. I don’t know if my body actually still needs more calories to repair the damage I did this weekend, or if it is just trying to ride the wave of gluttony a bit further. Anyway, I didn’t expect to wake up hungry this morning.

My hair looks fantastic–it has well over 200 miles of sweat in it and I couldn’t bring myself to wash it this morning. [I realize that this is disgusting. Too bad.] Anyway, instead of being an oilslick it has a sort of messy, just-fucked look that I am digging. I’ve read that models often get this look by soaking their hair in super-salty water before styling–which is basically what I did–except in a much grosser fashion (my bun was soaked with sweat every time we stopped).

Considering how good I feel today, I suspect that the damage is delayed until tomorrow. I worked way too hard for way too many miles to not have the piper collect his due. Hopefully I’m wrong, but I wouldn’t be surprised if tomorrow I am hobbled by soreness.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Frozen Snot Century--(looong)

This weekend was the Frozen Snot Century. Friday, about five people rode down from Milwaukee to Chicago (about 100 miles). Then Saturday morning they were escorted back to the land of cheese and beer by Chicagoans. On Sunday the FIBS part company and head back to Chi-town. So if you do the Chicago-Milwaukee-Chicago trip it ends up being about 200 miles in two days. Back-to-back centuries. The most I have ridden before in a day was 60-70 miles--and this was in the summer when I was biking about 100 miles a week. Now I bike less than 40 per week. gulp.

Some helpful pointers on how NOT to do a century:
  • Don't get only two hours of sleep,
  • Don't be hung-over,
  • Don't be dehyrated,
  • Don't get more dehydrated,
  • Don't pack in only 5 minutes,
  • Don't forget your rainpants, and
  • Don't ride a bike that's too big.

Saturday

I woke up and realized that it was 7:00 and people were already at the restaurant for breakfast. [some times refusing to use an alarm clock causes problems]. My mind frantically kicked into 'holy shit' mode and I tried to figure what needed to be done, and what wouldn't be. I quickly packed and rustled around looking for my biking gloves and trying to figure out what to wear/bring. I also quickly discovered that I was hung-over and felt like shit. Stupid, stupid.

At the restaurant everyone was finishing eating so I only ordered hashbrowns and inhaled them along with a glass of water before we hit the road. The consensus was that I was going to be in a world of hurt. This wasn't true for the first 60 miles--I felt great and was the strongest woman rider besides super-racing-Susan. The miles just rolled behind me, I felt great and I sang "Midnight Train to Georgia" (or at least the 2-3 phrases I know) as I rode.

There were three basic groups: racers/messengers, normal-fast, normal-slow. The groups sometimes leapfrogged during breaks and some people switched groups during lunch. The groups also sometimes splintered and reconnected. I was in the normal-fast group the whole trip.

We ate lunch around mile 60 and then stopped in a parking lot for people to pee, bag their feet....... I couldn't believe that we had only rode 10 miles since lunch, because it felt much farther. We stayed in the parking lot way too long and I got cold--then the people we were waiting for left while John was tying his shoe. We missed some lights and soon they were just specks ahead of me, John and Grant. For some reason I decided to lead the line and kept doing so even after I started feeling really shitty. This was the hardest leg of the ride because it is all hills. I couldn't keep up even when I was drafting and felt horrible, weak and completely lacking energy. My hip muscles felt like goo. Grant slowed down to try to keep with me, but I just couldn't do it and felt like I wanted to cry. I told him that I was dropping myself and to just go.

For the next hilly miserable, miserable mile or two I road far behind G and J and noticed that they had caught up with Jessica, Sarah and Sam (riding a trip-high tallbike). Jessica didn't seem to be doing well and earlier in the day she dropped herself from Grant and me to catch the normal-slow group.

Grant and John pulled her for awhile before she dropped back and pulled over. I climbed up to her and we shared our misery. I also drank some water and realized that I was super-dehydrated and had only had two glasses of water that day--and I didn't drink water after boozing the night before. I drank about half of my slushy water bottle and started to feel better. Jessica seemed really weak, so I pulled her for the next several miles--it was hard, but my misery was lessening. Finally, up ahead, I saw Sarah's hazard yellow jacket glowing like a beacon ahead. We picked up the pace and caught her and Sam a while later. They weren't feeling great either and we were still about 20 miles away from our destination. Together we rode in a quiet line--we all felt like shit. Sarah was the strongest and pulled the most.

Sam needed to get off of his bike again to warm up his feet so we stopped in parking lot so he could walk around and wiggle his toes. I tried drinking more, but my bottle was completely frozen and the ice just rattled inside. Sarah thankfully gave me some gatorade (hint: gatorade has a lower freezing point because of the sodium!!!). Just as we were getting ready to go we saw bikes approaching--John and Grant!! We must have passed them while they were stopped for coffee or something. Just having a bigger group perked us up somewhat and we kept riding as the sun sank below the horizon.

Somehow we made it into Milwaukee and saw blinkies flashing up ahead--stragglers from the fast group! Woo hoo--our numbers swelled and we all became full of energy. I don't know if it was the excitement of riding in a city, the closeness of our destination or the large group--but we flew the eight miles through Milwaukee. We made it there in ten hours (including a bagel/coffee break, long lunch, and numerous 'mini-breaks'. The racers had been there long before us and cheered as we walked in. mmm--warmth, pizza and no pedalling--wonderful. Plus my friends Steph, Shalan and Steve were there waiting for me.

Everytime another group of people came in we cheered--but the loudest, longest welcome was for the last two people--Stoner and Todd. Both of these men suffer from degenerative muscle diseases--Stoner's is pretty advanced and he has a hard time speaking, his hands are twisted weirdly and his walk is very awkward. Todd rode a recumbent and lent Stoner his tadpole recumbent for this ride. In the past twenty years the longest Stoner rode in a day was 50 miles--so this was really going to be challenging for him. He's a great guy and him doing this ride is amazing.

Sunday

I woke up fully rested and hydrated and made it to the River West coffeshop on time. Yippee. The weather was sunny and my muscles didn't feel sore at all--but my left knee ached pretty badly. We waited a while for Hui Hwa and Mark to show up and then biked about five miles to meet the rest of the group. Holy Fucking Headwind. I knew in these five miles that I wouldn't make it back home on my bike. No Way--No How. Sam and another guy decided to take Amtrak back to Chicago--and damn did that sound tempting. I thought that I'd try to at least make it to Kenosha and catch a train there--but I seriously expected to catch a hitchiker's sag wagon to Kenosha.

Grant convinced me to ride with him even though I said I felt weak. He said I was a strong rider and would be able to do this. The bike I rode was borrowed from his wife Anne, and she charged him with the responsibility of making sure I was OK on the ride. He is an experienced bike tourer and she knew how freaked/scared/nervous I was about this ride.

The messenger-racer group left earlier and the two 'normal' groups pulled out as one, before Sarah, Grant, and I dropped them. The wind was incredibly strong and made the hills ridiculously hard (we even had to work on the downhill). Flags were snapping violently in this wind and leaves, dirt and trash tumbled toward us in the road. It absolutely sucked and we only were able to ride about 11 mph--while my knee yelled at me and my muscles went on strike. Several times I almost dropped myself to hitchhike. We were stopped at an abandoned gas station to scarf down more food, drink water and rest from the wind about 15 miles into the ride when Hui Hwa and Mark rode by--but they didn't want to stop. Then as we were leaving, Steffen was in sight--he didn't really fit into any single group and mostly rode on his own schedule. Steffen is a long-distance tourer and a really strong, but not necessarily fast rider. Plus he is Big on his bike. Large double-paniers + a tall, broad-shouldered man= Perfect for drafting.

We rode together taking turns drafting--but Grant and Steffen did far more than their share. We caught up with Mark and Hui Hwa and our group got bigger and the ride felt better--but still extremely hard and tiring. Each of us spent less time pulling and more time drafting. We stopped for lunch in Racine and John and Tim met up with us--more links in our chain.

However, Sarah said her knee was hurting her. I realized then that my knee pretty much stopped hurting when I was riding, started hurting when we stopped and went away after riding for a bit. Also, because simply pedalling was so grueling, other discomforts weren't really noticeable.

Sarah's knee just kept getting worse and we slowed the pace down for her. This was my salvation--and I slowly started to feel stronger. We made short frequent stops to give her knee a break and it wasn't looking good for her at all. Plans were discussed as to how she could get home, but she kept riding.

Besides slowing the pace down, this showed how great the group was. Earlier, I felt like I should drop myself in part because I wasn't pulling as much as Grant, John and Steffens. I basically assumed that they resentfully considered me a wussy heap of dead weight that was hindering the group. But watching them respond to Sarah, made me realize that they wanted everyone to finish. They accepted their position as stronger riders and didn't mind doing more work. It really felt like we were really a team and all in it together. Instead of getting grumpy about the slower pace and frequent stops that we took for Sarah, everyone just seemed concerned about how she was doing and making the ride easier for her. Damn cool--considering that had they just dumped the slower riders they probably would have gotten to Chicago about two hours earlier.

A large part of me expecting the stronger riders to think poorly of me as a rider was because I am a girl. I thought that my weaker-rider status would be blamed on my gender--not because this was my first long ride, not because I didn't have clipless shoes or toe-clips, not because I was riding a bike too big and not because I started the ride tired and hung over. Nope--I assumed that they would attribute my weaker riding to the fact that I'm a girl. I wonder about this--because when it comes to physical ability, this is my primary concern. If I were just an out-of-shape uncoordinated boy--what then would I be afraid that people would attribute my physical shortcomings to?

Anyway, we stopped for frozen custard at about the halfway point, in Zion, Sarah took some painkillers, Steffen and Tim left us and the wind calmed down a bit. The riding improved and we also learned that T.C. rode up from Chicago to meet us, and we'd join him in minutes. For some reason this gesture bouyed my spirits dramatically (TC is the guy who 'kidnapped' my doll and was the catalyst for my hung-over, dehydrated Saturday). At this point I realized that I was going to make it home.

TC met up with us and got a flat after riding with us for about one block. He has a reputation of being a fast and incredibly strong rider, so he told us he would catch up soon. We caught up then with Stoner and Todd (they left earlier in the day and didn't dawdle for lunch to compensate) and stopped to rest and chat a bit. TC then met up with us and our group seemed huge.

Then it started to rain. I forgot to bring my 'snow pants' which are almost completely waterproof. My jacket isn't waterproof either. So I got wet. The last 30-40 miles I rode wet. At several stops I was able to dry out my shirts and jacket using restroom hot air dryers. Silk rocks, because it dries out so quickly.

After another few miles of riding, TC got another flat and Grant dropped back to help him fix it. We didn't see them until we met up at a donut shop in Evanstan--the city just North of Chicago. Our pace just kept creeping faster at this point--I think riding in city traffic just makes it easier to forget being tired. A few miles later TC got another flat and told us he'd meet us at the Handlebar in Chicago. What a frustrating ride for him. We continued riding and cheered when we crossed into Chicago--only nine more miles to my home!! I hope the normal/slow group made it home OK, too.

People dropped off as they turned off to their homes and finally it was my turn. Carrying my bike upstairs was a bitch and my tiredness really kicked in. I wonder exactly how my body will feel tomorrow. I am basically planning on going into work, finishing my 'Monday-Deadline' projects and then bringing the rest of my work home to do in bed.

Overall, the ride was a great experience. I learned how to draft, how to help and how to be helped. I'm still amazed that we made it home against the wind. Plus, I adore some of my bikey friends even more. They rock. Grant was an incredible help both physically and mentally. He was so supportive and such a leader for the group. I don't think I would have made it without him. Sarah was amazing--pulling hard the first day when the rest of us were tired, working through the pain on Sunday to finish the ride, giving me encouragement and accolades throughout the ride AND giving me someone else to worry about instead of just dwelling on my own misery. John was also great by being positive and pulling more than his share.

Here are some nuts and bolts of the ride in case anyone cares:

Route: Hwy 32 & sheridan road.

What I ate:

Saturday--hashbrowns, power bagel, coffee (yes--more dehydration!), brownie, huevos rancheros/beans/rice (lunch). Pizza in Milwaukee.

Sunday--peanut butter sandwich, orange, chocolate croissant, meatball sub, soup, two cookies, scone, frozen custard sunday.

Temperature: Saturday: 24-32 degrees, Sunday: 32-38 degrees.

Wind--against it both days, Saturday only about 8mph, Sunday, 1st half about 20 mph (maybe more--it was wicked strong), dropping to almost nothing by Chicago.

Clothing: Steel-toed boots, cotton under-socks, tights (normal women tights, not athletic), thick wool over-socks, yoga pants, (underpants--day 1), tanktop, silk turtleneck, merino wool shirt (Day 2 only, thanks again Frick), shell, cycling gloves, cotton mittens, windproof gauntlets, sunglasses. [why did I wear an extra shirt on the warmer day?]

Doll: she made the whole trip just fine--the rest of us were wet and splattered with muck--but she stayed dry and clean. My leg must have shielded her from the flying muck.

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Critical Mass/Eve of FSC

Yes--I should be sleeping instead of writing this, but I am too wound up and need to get some thoughts down. This will be a long post (I've been drinking so babbling will probably be worse than usual) that covers several topics.

The ride started fine, but had at least two very ugly incidents that I witnessed. I heard a plastic-y crunching noise and looked to see a bike hit head-on with a car. The bike's wheel was slightly imbedded in the front of the car. The rider pounded his hands flat against the car hood and yelling between him and the driver ensued. I turned around to provide assistance. [I feel like some over-protective momma bear and am ready to jump in to any sort of fray and flex some attorney muscle.] As I was heading back toward the incident, a biker flew by, followed by the driver of the car on foot--but running fast. Goddamnit.

Anyway, later in a huge intersection (Ashland & Elston) there was a car basically surrounded by bikes and a man yelling angrily. The scene was particularly volatile, so I got closer. The driver was out of his car and shouting that he was an off-duty cop and that we couldn't fuck with him. Enraged he was yelling threats to Travis in particular and the crowd in general. People were taking down his plate number and several of us asked him for his badge/star number--which he refused to give. [Basic rule--cops are supposed to give up this info when asked.] Some people were trying to argue with him, others calm him down, some were yelling for everyone to leave--basically it was a mess. I added my voice to the cacophony yelling for people to calm down and that we'd file a CR (complaint register) with OPS (office of professional standards).

At one point the cop noticed that a guy was touching his car and went ballistic: his hand went to his gun and he started moving around the vehicle and threatening to 'put bullets in anyone who fucked with him/touched his car' and then yelled that he should put bullets in all of us. Too fucking crazy. Travis was drawing most of his rage and also seemed to be the leader of the bikers. I got his attention and told him to leave NOW. He did and most of the group, including myself rode away. [Travis knew I was an attorney and had his back at the auto show the other week]. He declared "I'm sticking with you" and agreed that we should ride fast to catch up to the Mass and wedge into the middle

I didn't see the whole incident, but according to riders, the cop forced his way into the bikers and then hit someone, stopped the car and got out, enraged. At best this can be considered a fender-bender--more likely, assault with a deadly weapon. The guy was completely unhinged. I don't know for sure if he is a cop--but I believe that he was. Completely unacceptable. There was no reason for violence to occur--but he seemed eager for violence and confrontation. Nobody with a temper that short should have access to a gun--yet it seems that this sort of machiscmo, can't-back-down attitude is rampant among the CPD.

Travis and I made plans for filing the CR [I spend probably at least 35 hours a week working on police brutality files] and making sure that it has some teeth. I also learned that he played a (good) part in the earlier incident with the running guy. After exchanging words with one of the bikers, this driver grabbed a knife from his dashboard and started the chase. Travis and another biker followed the runner and talked with him to calm him down, and he turned around without incident.

Next week is going to be crazy-busy already, and now I have to deal with this CR, too. I really want to do it though--if this guy actually is a cop, then he should be fired. Simple as that--besides this is the type of thing that made me go get a law degree. It's interesting, how valuable my opinion and advice often is to my bikey friends and acquaintences. This feels really good--plus, I think I am quite well-respected within this community.

Oh yeah--the doll. I am carrying around a cardboard cut-out doll that is about two feet tall as part of a school project for my second cousin Dayna. Basically, I am supposed to show Dayna's class my life/city through the eyes of this doll: journals, photos, postcards.....etc. I plan to turn this project into pro-bike propaganda --get 'em young.

Anyway, after the Mass, the doll drew a lot of attention at the closing party for the Art Show. I didn't plan to stay long, but kept getting sucked into long conversations with cool people. Finally when it was time to leave I realized that the doll was missing and started freaking out. Todd's phone rang and he said it was for me: a raspy voice whispered "If you ever want to see the doll again you will be at the Handlebar within the half hour--if not, I'll start mailing fingers." Delightfully hilarious.

The doll was proudly propped up among the liquor bottles and I was told I couldn't leave without a drink--that turned into more. Again I was getting ready to leave when I noticed the doll was gone again. People's eyes were twinkling, but no one was talking. I eventually learned that the bartender tossed her up on an alclove after finding her in the garbage. The next thing I knew some drunken friends were climbing on barstools and counters to get her down. Everyone came down safely, and I was handed another drink for my troubles.

I'm half-tempted to have the doll write back home about these adventures. "I was in Chicago for about 48 hours before I was kidnapped and left for dead in a garbage can." Instead I guess whe will just have a secret life not fit for 4th graders. (we did of course get a picture of her amid the booze). I can easily see this doll being involved in a lot more "adventures" since my friends are just as amused by this project as I am. Several people want to follow her blog--so I need to get moving on that, too. Yes--the adults are going to be much more entertained by this doll than Dayna's class. Long live silliness!

So instead of sleeping well tonight, I drank and stayed up too late (this post is compounding it). None of the other women riding tomorrow stayed out past 10:00, and I think I was the last of tomorrow's riders to leave the bar. D'oh. And if the doll is any example of my future mothering abilities--I must never breed.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Elevator Awkwardness

I spent the morning in court today--what a miserable experience. First there is the cattle call of attorneys slowly working our way through the metal detectors. Then we all wait at the elevator banks and try to squeeze as many people in each car as possible. Strewn throughout the halls are clusters of lawyers trying to fuck each other over as much as possible. Dishonesty and greed are palpable in these hallowed halls of justice. The whole scene sets my skin crawling.

There were several hearings I needed to attend, so I was up and down the elevators--almost every trip brought about some uncomfortable situation.

The first started with a guy trying to make small-talk while waiting for the elevator. I knew where this was headed--weird silence, more small talk, silence, acting like he's my friend, silence........ Sure enough, he kept trying to make conversation about the stupidest things. Dude--just stop, people are thinking about their matter before the judge--not your stilted attempts to talk with people. Shut up and avoid eye contact like a good american.

On another floor an attorney started yelling, 'Tori' at me (not my name). I thought he was talking to a person behind me, but no--he thought I was some City of Chicago attorney named Tori. We discussed it a bit and I convinced him that I wasn't Tori.

The next situation was the worst. While waiting for the elevator a guy just kept looking at me, oddly. I somehow thought it was because I had just been fumbling with my bike helmet. I tried to ignore him, and attempted to shoot him a 'stop staring at me' look, but it didn't work. As soon as the elevator door closed he burst out,
' did you do that or is it real?'
---"Excuse me?"
'is it real or do you get that done?'
---"What?"
(he had files in his hands so he nodded in the general direction of my head)
---"Oh, it just grows that way" realizing he was asking about my white stripe of hair.
He fawned about how cool it was in a completely gross, beer-goggling, 1:30AM type of way an asked what caused it.
---"Law school"
'You're a lawyer, too--what a coincidence! Wow."
(Are you high? this is federal court--almost every single person is a lawyer. Notice I've got the whole costume--suit, file folders, sour face. This isn't brain surgery, kids--this is IDing a walking, talking duck.)
He tried talking to me more and kept getting closer to me in the elevator. Stop Being Weird. He was too eager and ernest to be creepy, but damn it--I hate being trapped with weirdos, even harmless weirdos.

Finally, I was leaving with a whole pack of attorneys who are basically my opponents (it's complicated). Several were trying to introduce themselves and I think intimidate me--Fuck That. We were squeezed into the elevator--which seemed to embolden the +6' bastards. They pretended to be nice by sweetly inquiring if this was my first time in court (no--I've been monitoring this trial for about three months and have been dealing with you longer) and how young and new to law I must be (interpretation--you are inexperienced and I want to take advantage of that). I expected that they were going to pat my head like a dog.

Well, jokes on you: a pack of senior attorneys won't even notice a new attorney--unless they want something. That all of them were trying to flatter/condescend/bully me only did one thing--I now know that they think I have information that they want. Interesting.

Finally--why in the world would I be intimidated by someone just because they are taller than me? Should only children and midgets respect me? I have been short my whole life--everyone is taller than me. My life would be scary and lonely if I were intimidated by everyone who is taller than I.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

**Blush**

OK--it's just a little after noon and I've just done two embarassing things in as many minutes:

Walking back with my sandwich, I glanced in the alley and made eye contact with some guy. I smiled and gave him the 'head nod'--and then realized that he was taking a piss. I got a super-creepy smile in return. Nice.

Moments later I sort of got busted stretching in the elevator: I stand in a corner, hold onto the railing and hop up to rest my feet on the bars and stretch out my inner thighs. It is completely unlady-like. Today, I realized that the elevator stopped at a floor under mine, so I scrambled to get my legs and skirt down as the door was opening. A heel got caught so I ended up yanking my foot out and dropping my sandwich in my haste. I don't think I flashed the guy getting on the elevator. He seemed very confused as to the half-shod, blushing girl reaching over to grab her other shoe from the railing, picking up her sandwich from the floor and then scurrying out the door only to bust into giggles.

I don't blush easily, but now I am in my office--door closed and laughing my ass off.

I am a total tool.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Forgotten Lock and Dorky Clothes

I forgot my bike lock today. I am swapping my bike tomorrow for Anne's road bike (happy, happy me!) so I decided to fix the brakes. [it is fine for me to ride on bad brakes, but I don't want to make that decision for anyone else]. So I tightened the rear brake and cleaned/oiled the cables--the section under the housing was quite rusty. While doing this I took my lock off of my handlebars and hung it on a doorknob, where it stayed all day long.

Normally this wouldn't be a big deal, because the front desk person likes me and let me sneak my bike in before. Today the building manager was there and he gave me a really hard time. I explained that I forgot my lock and wasn't planning on making a habit out of this, but he didn't get it and kept lecturing that 'bikes aren't allowed in the building.' Well today mine was. Dumbass.

Unfortunately, today I also had to go to Federal Court--usually I ride my bike there, but today I had to walk. The client will be billed $85 for the time I spent walking to court. What a waste.

I saw a ton of riders--mostly messengers--and only one of them was a girl. I also heard a rider cursing a vehicle. In a glance I figured out that the car passed the guy only to dangerously cut him off to park. I stopped to give the driver a dirty look, call him an asshole and flip him off--he looked really confused. Too bad I didn't have time to have a conversation with him.

Something dawned on me today: I dress like a dork. Since laundry was done I had a plentitude of clothes to pick from today. Favorite, comfortable shirt. Favorite shapeless, stretchy too-big skirt. Favorite tights. Woo hoo--Except for the fact that just because they are my favorite articles doesn't mean they look good together! This is how four year-olds pick out their clothing. When I pack my clothes in the morning I often times forget toconsider how they will look together and instead focus mainly on comfort and functionality.

The vast majority of workdays I look dorky. Many of my clothes are hand-me-downs: too short, too big, out of style or just plain ill-fitting. I usually don't care, unless I have a meeting with clients. "Good enough" is the bar that I strain to reach. I just can't imagine putting the time or money into dressing well everyday. So instead, I obliviously walk around looking like a dork. The 'gives a shit' gene that most women have about their appearance seems to be missing from my DNA. Sleeping in later or reading the paper is much preferable to primping every morning.

So that was my day: I dress like a dork and can't even remember to bring a lock for my bike.

Free Legal Advice!!!

When being charged with hooking or thuggery........

Don't go to court looking like a hooker or thug!*

Argh. I just spent an hour in court. The poor judge had a mixed criminal/civl docket today, so the courtroom was more....interesting looking today.

*Excepting the guy in the orange jumpsuit for lack of clothing options.

Monday, February 21, 2005

12 minute commute!

Woo Hoo!

I made it door to door in 12 minutes this morning. My bike clock said 9:47:5? as I wheeled it out of my kitchen (I never reset it for daylights saving—I’m supposed to be in the office by 9:00, and it is ahead about 7 minutes). Previously the latest I left was 9:45 and that was pushing it. So as I carried it down the steps I realized that I would probably be late for work.

I passed by the gates of ‘downtown’ (the Blommer Chocolate Factory) at 9:56 and thought I might make it to work in 10 minutes. Alas, the lights and traffic weren’t in my favor and after locking up my bike, I walked into my building at 10:00. Still—this is fucking sweet. The total ride is just a hair under 3 miles and the ‘downtown’ part is about .5 miles. This is sweet time for not having run any redlights on my slow tank of a bike—loaded with not one, but two paniers (care packages for brothers!).

I also got to pass two roadies going up a hill—tehehe. Especially fun was watching them trackstand for the red to get a head-start across the intersection only to have me ride their butts until we got to the wide lane of the hill so I could pass them. I flipped it into highest gear as I crested for the down hill and made it across the next intersection just before the light turned yellow—while their clipless asses got caught at the red. What a sweet Monday ride.

I bet if I had a road bike I could make it door-to-door in under 10 minutes. That would rock.

None of the other attorneys or secretaries were in the office when I arrived (totally sweaty) and I managed to cool down and change clothes before they came in. Super-sweet.

Even though being late makes me ride harder—I need to stop dorking around so much every morning. The prime culprit is my irrational hatred of laundry: I have only two more days before I’ll be commando attorney. Not cool. I am also on the verge of tapping into Halloween costumes. My hatred of laundry skews my shaky perspective of what is appropriate to wear even farther. At my dresser this morning I was holding a fishnet shirt in my hands while deliberating its merits as office-wear. no. No. NO.

Avoidance of laundry makes me susceptible to all sorts of crazy delusions and schemes: “I’ll do it in the morning before work,” “just buy more socks,” “it doesn’t smell that bad,” “don’t bring any clothes and say you grabbed the wrong bag” are all considered as viable options to just taking two hours to wash my clothes. This is silly and I should just grow up and quit stalling….tomorrow—because tonight I’m going out with friends and won’t have time. Tehehe.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Den of Sin

Pact: Isaac and I each shall hook up on Ted's bed before we move out April 1.
(not together!)

Woo Hoo! Glasses clinked in agreement and the group drunkenly voiced its approval.

Last night I was in the bathroom pondering this agreement and had several thoughts. First, I am probably the only person with the requisite sobriety to remember the pact. Secondly, it really isn't the sort of thing to enforce. So logistically, this doesn't impose an obligation that I feel at all compelled to honor.

Most importantly--What the Fuck is Wrong with Us?

This group of seven young adults is extremely intelligent and motivated (as much as we consider ourselves slackers, our perspective if really skewed and our comparison group is insanely competitive). My guesstimate is that together we will be paid about a million dollars in 2005.

We are some of the 'best and the brightest' that are lauded by politicians as the 'future of tomorrow'. Yet this is the Junk We Come Up With? Crazy, crazy, crazy. The immaturity we display as a group is disturbing, and the narcisstic lives many of us lead are appalling.

Not only will I most likely not hold up my end of this pact, but I also need to recognize the huge rift between these friends and the type of person who I strive to be. Even given all of our differences and tensions, I still feel a sense of impending loss as I anticipate downshifting into an even more ancillary member of this friend group. Moving out of the Den of Awkwardness should at least make this transition easier.

--Oh yeah, I finally got the pictures to work on the CCM Art Show and Auto-show protests posts. (apparently linking to a Yahoo! photo album doesn't work for those who don't have permission to view it) The blade of death got a little shy, but now is ready to be seen!!

Weekend Woes

My weekend has fallen into shambles. I had a long week of work and Friday afternoon was pretty friggin' grueling. I'm too lazy to write out the details of what is certainly a boring, mundane tale. Let's just say the support staff really needs to get it together--why is thinking so difficult and rare? It really saves a lot of time, stress and effort.

I would bet almost anything, that had I done everything myself instead of giving work to my secretary and paralegal, my project would have been done sooner and with less stress on my part. This seems like a sensible course of action--but there is no reason why the client should pay $170 an hour for me to photocopy, punch holes and staple paper along with simple document formatting. It is absolutely ridiculous and unacceptable. Grrrrr.

After the project finally was submitted I was really looking to meeting Dee for dinner and blowing off some steam. She canceled at the last minute and I found myself without plans on the cusp of Friday night. My weekends lately have been quite busy and I end up having to decline events because of prior plans. This Friday had no back-up plans and the few people I contacted weren't available to do anything with me. So, I went to nap at 8:30, hoping that something would materialize for me to do as I slumbered. No dice. So after puttering around a bit, I went back to bed.

Then on Saturday I realized that I completely dropped the ball on concert plans with Adam. For some inexplicable reason, I didn't think concert tickets were needed for the show--even though all of the signs pointed clearly to it selling out. Fortunately, I realized my error and called off our plans several hours before the show, so we didn't even bother going.

Instead I went to hang out with my other law school friends to watch a movie at Jill's place. It was a pretty nice night, but certainly not the fun concert I was expecting. Adorable ex-bf lawyer boy was there. The crush is officially over--I didn't make any attempt to flirt with or engage him, and that felt fine. I don't feel anything more than a twinge towards him. This feels mostly good, but still has a melancholy edge to it.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

The Vampire Ride Pictures

The Triumphant Group Meets the Sun!!
T: Travis
M: Hui Hwa (organizer), Jonathan, me, ?????, J. Greenfield (future roomie!)
B: Mr. Bike, Mark, Todd

These are belated photographs of the January 14 Vampire Ride. We biked around at night, going to different late-night spots and determined to last until daylight. Success was ours!

This is immediately after we got done hot-tubbing. We finally dragged ourselves out of the hot water, bundled back up and raced to the lakeshore for sunrise. I think the high temp that day was around 16 degrees, and this was just after 7:00 in the morning.

Mark & Hui Hwa playing on the Ice at the water's edge.

We stayed at the lakeshore for a while, joking about people falling. I fell on my butt at one point, but nobody took a dip.

Guy I don't know, me and Jonathan

I'm not really sure what I'm doing.....look how long the shadows are.

After this we biked about 10 miles up to the Heartland Cafe where BikeWinter organizers were interviewed. Afterwards, four of us biked back down to Wicker Park area: Myself, John, ????guy in yellow and Travis. John and I spent a couple of miles whistling "Sleigh Ride" together. Good stuff.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Cranky Day

My day started well–against all odds I actually washed my hair instead of postponing this chore for yet another day. So instead of having a minor oil spill atop my head, I had nice clean hair to fluff and play with during the day. So far so good.

It feels like winter again–and I like it. The weather was brisk and refreshing and felt good in my lungs on the ride in. I love warm breaks in winter, because they make the cold not only tolerable, but delightful.

My office was crazy warm today and I stupidly wore a somewhat shear silk turtleneck underneath a warm wool sweater. Removing the sweater was not a good idea, because today was one of my increasingly common bra-free days. Sheer shirt + no bra = even more unprofessional than I will muster. No bra + wool sweater = bad things. So instead I sweltered in my office.

I’m also bleeding like a stuck pig and feel somewhat crampy. When I am involved with someone getting my period is a joyful, no-babies cause for celebration. When pregnancy is not an issue it is just an taunting reminder that I am not getting any. Besides bloodiness, I don’t usually experience any of the other symptoms that women bitch about. It affects me about as much as picking up milk for my roommate when I am already going to the store. But today I have this weird discomfort in my abdomen and my lower back is achy. Since normally my body runs perfectly, this was distracting and put me in growley sort of mood–way too many things looked like they needed a good kick. (My feet were especially warm and looking for a way to blow off steam, too)

At 6:30 I was told that I may need to go on a stupid fucking DCFS call. Great, after spending all day reading testimony about police brutality and torture, I was supposed to head out to a CPD station to represent some little brat hoodlum who makes me want to slap him silly, or freaks me out to be locked in a room with him because he's an obvious psychopath who is only out on the street because he is too young to lock away permanently.

I hate everything about these calls: I hate dropping everything at work, I hate driving out to bumfuck suburban police stations or dealing with the total prick CPD, I hate arguing with the cops that I have a right to see my client, I hate them saying that I look too young to be an attorney, I really, really hate doing this when I wear a skirt, I hate the clients–stupid, criminal, asshole, kids who are already far too comfortable in a police station, and I hate most of all that I know far, far, far too little about criminal law and have far, far, far too little training to do this well.

Luckily, at the last moment another attorney took the call because the station was in her neighborhood. I had already gotten riled up about how much this would suck, so even though I ended up not having to go, it put me in an even worse mood. With the scowly mood I was rocking, I probably would have ended up being the party that beat the shit out of the punk at the station. "Um, pardon me officer, but may I borrow your nightstick and a phone book for a few minutes while I speak with my client?" God, the FOP would have recruited me as their mascot.

So I got to continue with my evening as planned: do some more work and then head over to the law library to research a pro-bono project for the bike federation. "How to register a trademark: Only slightly less boring than patent law!" Thrilling.

I changed into my biking-home clothes before going to the law library. The bitch security guard made me go through the metal detectors even though I had my proper lawyer IDs to bypass this hassle. grrrr. Then when the metal detector beeped at me and I said "steel-toed boots" the woman didn't even bother to wand me to make sure it was my boots. So apparently she thought I was lying about being an attorney to avoid the metal detectors, but trustworthy enough to not wand. Weird.

I hate the law library. I can never find things easily because there are very few signs, the staff is far less than helpful and the people there are an unsavory mix of stressed attorneys, freakzoids and the occassional sleeping homeless person. I was sitting on the floor in the racks reading a book when the cleaning woman walked by. She spooked and then proceded to try to lecture me for being too quiet in the library.

I've never checked out a book there before and told the person at the counter as much. He said that I needed to use my firm's library card. Now this didn't make sense to me, because I thought any attorney can check out books. I asked him if I could get a card by myself and he continued to tell me that I needed to use my firm's card. "What about unemployed attorneys, can't they check out books?" --"Sure, all attorneys can check out books." It didn't even occurr to him that I might be an attorney, and when I said that I was one, he basically challenged me to show him my ID. I threw down my ARDC card and sheriff's ID and holy shit did his manner change. From condescending to perfectly helpful in the blink of an eye. This is bullshit. The law library is for the public. Why should he treat attorneys better than regular citizens? Hell, if anything, he should be more helpful to non-attorneys since they will probably need more help, and are more likely to have a pressing reason for being there. Finally, on the elevator trip down, a whole bunch of college students and their teacher piled in. As we were leaving, I heard one student ask her teacher, "do they let anyone in the building?" Yes, you little judgmental twit--they even let you in. Is it that impossible for people to imagine that someone can be an attorney and not wear a suit?

Besides being cranky from the library, my tummy and lower back still weren’t cooperating with me, so I decided to show my body who was boss–this sort of behavior can’t be allowed to continue. There was a nice strong wind directly against me--so I decided to ride hard to burn off some of my stress and unkink my midsection. Other women can take their heating pads, painkillers and other nonsense–but fuck that, I’m not going to let my uterus pull this shit unpunished. After all, what would it be without me? I totally carry it and will not stand for this behavior from a pack of cells that does nothing productive while holding the threat of babies over me. So I challenged my uterus for a little ride and made it keep up. It was glorious and I managed to hit some green lights that I almost always have to stop for. I was really sweaty and breathing hard by the time I got home. More importantly my belly felt almost normal, and I have no reason to feel cranky.

Raleigh 2005--a Call for Action

The drama of the 2005 Raleigh Catalog on the Cycling Sisters list-serve continued for a bit but has basically calmed down in Chicago. The winds must have blown its stink to the fair city of Minneapolis however since darkling child wrote this comment referencing uglybike's disapproval of this catalog.

I spent some more time on the Raleigh site looking through the whole 2005 catalog (instead of a single picture). My impression changed considerably and I wrote a second letter to the list-serve. In the meantime Gin wrote to Raleigh about our concerns and received this less-than-understanding response from Raleigh.

At Friday's CCM Art Show I was pulled aside by several people (men and women) whom I respect tremendously and told that my ideas are well-reasoned and even-handed. Today through the magic of email forwarding, I was asked to write an article about this for Bike Traffic. And so I will.

First though, I am going to take my own suggestion, and compile the profiles of as many bicyclists as possible (boys welcome, too!) who don't appreciate this portrayal of women and bikes to send to Raleigh. I will leave profile forms at the Handlebar and CBF. I'll also bring some to the wheel-truing workshop on 2/15 and the Derailluer party on 2/23--which is going to be the deadline.

If people from outside of Chicago want to join in, please send me your profile: thinkbikes@yahoo.com. Also feel free to forward this on to anyone else or link-up if you care to. The Bike Traffic article is due March 1, so don't dawdle and get your profiles to me by February 23.

Things to consider including in your profile:

  • Gender, Age, location....
  • Types of biking (commuting, racing, mtn, leisure, fitness)
  • Years biking
  • Number of bikes owned
  • Miles per year
  • Year-round biking
  • Involved with any bike-related organizations (please list)
  • Number of people you have helped choose a bicycle
  • Upcoming bike purchase?
  • Anything else important!!!
  • Your thoughts on the 2005 Raleigh catalog.
  • Name, contact information optional.

Also interesting is to look at the Raleigh catalogs for 2004 and 2003. The 2003 is a traditional bike ad--almost entirely men except for the leisure women riders (the women mtn bikers aren't riding they are standing in a meadow watering dogs out of bottles--while the men are roaring down hills, pushing up them, portaging their bikes over boulders and then rock climbing. grrrr). The 2004 catalog seems much better--more women in general, more women moving--plus they show urban bike commuters! It still isn't perfect, but definitely in the right direction. And then we get to 2005. What happened??

Monday, February 14, 2005

On a lighter note

I posted more CCM Art Show pictures--including the Flying Blade of Death.

I left my bike out in the rain yesterday hoping that some of the salt would get washed away. Compounded laziness at its best! Too lazy to give my bike a proper cleaning and too lazy to haul it upstairs = natural bike wash!

I truly believe that ingenuity occurs most frequently at the intersection of intelligence and laziness.

This is the intelligence/motivation matrix (as I see it):

Lazy + Stupid = everyday slob,
-Lazy + Smart = successful, worker-bee cog
-Lazy + Stupid = annoying, I-want-to-kick-you,worker-bee cog
Lazy + Smart = inventiveness at its best

But anyway, I digress....the whole point of the bike/rain/overnight background was not to be a springboard for tangents. My bike made the best noises this morning. Somethings, somewhere were rubbing. Instead of the normal annoying noises that my fenders make, my bike sounded like a percussion section. My bike was producing fantastic syncopated rhthyms that I could change and modify with the speed I pedaled. Too fun--I was jamming all the way to work this morning as I played with my mobile instrument.

Another thing I noticed this morning is that my bedcovers are wild in the morning lately. Somehow last night the duvet managed a 180 turn so that this morning the buttons were by my head. My blanket was turned sideways and the flat sheet was just a ball by my feet. I don't even remember having any weird dreams lately. Normally I am a pretty calm sleeper--regularly I don't move at all during the night, so this is odd. I know when I was young I used to kick in my sleep--maybe that tendency has returned.

Random Biking Babbling

Frozen Snot Century: I am totally unprepared for this and haven't put in any serious miles. Oops. I also learned that most of the people who do this ride are messengers and treat it like a race instead of a group ride. Sorry--not for me. However, I learned that Becky plans to go and she hasn't done any long rides recently either. She has no inclination to race to Milwaukee and would rather ride along with others instead of it being a solitary ride of many people. We were both excited to learn that the other was doing this ride and decided to ride together at whatever pace feels comfortable, stop to pee and warm up whenever we want and basically create a completely different experience from the messegers' frenzied ride. I also know that Hui Hwa will join us in this plan.

Road Bike: I really want to do the FSS on a road bike instead of my beloved tank of a hybrid. Unfortunately, all of the women who in the past offered to lend me their road bike are tenuously thinking about doing the ride themselves. Great for the ride--boo for me getting a road bike. A guy overheard me mentioning this and offered to let me use his bike and while we were talking pick-up details another guy offered me his newer, faster road bike. So I have gone from road bike famine to feast. I never even thought about asking guys to borrow their bikes, but these two guys are about my height, so it shouldn't be a problem. I love, Love, LOVE that people are so generous about lending out their expensive bikes to me.

Helmets: At the Auto Show protest the dogwoman had the mike to speak about her bike safety advocacy. She mentioned that she was successful in persuading a young man to wear a helmet and stated, "Another life saved, another accident avoided." This makes no sense. How does wearing a helmet prevent an accident? Even though I currently wear a helmet (I'm getting sick of it and will likely stop wearing it for daylight riding in the summer), I am annoyed by the reverent way people seem to think that helmets are the best way to ride safely. The best way to be safe on a bike is to know how to ride in traffic. I know how to do this. In a 'street riding' test I only made one mistake and have since corrected my behavior. [lane position when making a left turn--stay to the right of the lane, otherwise cars will weasel to your right, creating a situation where the bicyclist and motorists paths will cross to achieve proper lane positioning at the completion of the turn] Slapping a helmet on a person with no skills to ride in traffic does not make them a safe rider. Yet this seems to be what most people concentrate on when they discuss bike safety. What about teaching them how to ride predictably, visibly and defensively? But most importantly, would be teaching, expecting and requiring motorist to drive safely in general and specifically around bikes.

I ride almost everyday and almost everyday I almost get into an accident because of a driver's carelessness or aggression.

Almost everyday.

The only thing that saves me from a daily collision is my ability to anticipate the stupid things drivers do and quickly respond. This is super-defensive riding that becomes second nature to urban riders. It is seeing a car slow down for an intersection and recognize that they will turn right at the next street, even when they don't signal. It is approaching an intersection with an oncoming car hoping to turn left and realizing that they may not see me--and then evaluating the situation and taking the best course of action to prevent the possible collision. It is recognizing the behavior patterns of taxi-cabs: does it have a fare, or will it pull over suddenly by that group of pedestrians up ahead hoping to lure one inside? It is riding in gridlock and constantly scanning for cars that might cross my path to take an alley shortcut or pull some other jackass move. It is always knowing what vehicles are around me and what they will do next so I have an 'escape route' to use when I need to react to avoid a collision. It is always knowing that even if a driver is looking straight at me, even if we seem to be making eye contact I shouldn't expect that they both see me and will respect my right of way. Instead I have learned to ride as if the streets were filled with half-blind crackheads searching for their next fix alternating with Tourettes-afflicted narcoleptics.

Ok, done with the random babbling. Caffeine is too fun.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Auto-Show Protest/racism

Chicago Auto Show Protest: Travis, Todd & Me.




I was part of the Chicago Auto Show protest this morning--and I was very nervous. Previous years have lead to bad interactions with security guards and police. Cameras have been broken and arrests threatened. One of my tasks was to research several issues of the legality of our actions. McCormick Place Convention Center has a weird status as a semi-governmental organization, and the land is public, semi-public, controlled-access, private in different spots. I contacted an attorney who works with first amendment/protest issues and he couldn't provide any advice besides it taking months of work to pin down exactly what rights protesters have on different areas. He said he is currently trying to figure it out for Millenium Park and it is a nightmare. Great. So I just drew up a basic "how to deal with police interactions" flier including "disturbing the peace" ordinances to distribute.

My nervousness stemmed from my other task of agreeing to act as the group's attorney if the police or security acted improperly. Chicago police freak me out. I spend most of my time at work reading depositions describing police brutality and don't have the highest regard to Chicago's finest. My personal observation of the CPD has also been none too favorable. Besides, there is also the general problem that while law is the best tool for sorting out right and wrong after something happens, but it is not a great shield to prevent bad actions in the first place. We could be acting perfectly within our rights and still spend a night in the County, even though the charges won't stick. Not my ideal weekend. As a white, female attorney I don't fear being beaten, but not all of my 'clients' today share my demographic. So, my real concern was not being able to adequately represent the other protesters because of my lack of experience.

Luckily we stayed on the definitively public property and there was no conflict between protesters and police. My sheriff's ID and clipboard didn't have to come out. Whew.

There was however one unfortunate incident, that I was too late to respond to. For quite a while during the protest there was a scruffy black man hanging out with us. He test rode some of our 'efficent vehicles of the future' and was vociferous in expressing his approval of our cause. In other words, he seemed either drunk or mentally ill and was probably homeless. His looks and actions seemed familiar to me and I almost immediately categorized him as harmless.

The police didn't think so. They requested the use of the microphone to try to locate the owner of a stolen backpack. No one claimed it after much ado. I followed the cop and saw that they had the homeless guy in the back of a squad car surrounded by about six officers. I watched and after a few minutes they released him. Apparently they thought he stole it from one of the many unguarded bikes or piles of stuff. Illegal search and seizure perhaps? Had he walked away with a bike helmet, a panier or maybe even a fancy messenger bag this might be appropriate, but a grungy man with a grungy backpack doesn't warrant this behavior. I really wish I would have been there when they apprehended him.

Besides the obvious racism, this needn't have happened if the police had done their job--and there were many, many officers there. I think there were 8 bike cops and about 6 cops in cars patrolling a very small area. Mostly these officers hung out together in packs and seemed to just socialize with each other. I am notorious for being oblivious about my surroundings--cops are supposed to notice details. This man stuck out quite visibly, and was with us for at least an hour before the police dealt with him. I think they should have noticed basic things about him, including whether or not he had a bag with him. Chicago cops are so racist. I just hate it.


Chicago's Finest: Bike Cops. Our 'escort' on the ride to the show.

When I went to unlock my bike near the huddle of bike cops I noticed that one cop was violently shivering. I thought this was funny because he was wearing much warmer clothes than I. Still, I hate being cold and gave him a sympathetic look. He shrugged back and I went to speak with him. He is a bike cop year-round and loves that he gets paid to ride his bike around the city. Recently he has been sporadically assigned to Segway duty and hates it. He agreed with me that they are ridiculous machines and says he feels like a fool riding them and so do most of the other bike cops. Yippee.

He said he was freezing and I played the brat and 'sympathized' by saying that I had put on more layers throughout the day. [At this point I was wearing a skirt, tights, tanktop, turtleneck, button-up shirt, windbreaker and mittens. He was wearing heavy boots, bulky-looking, wind-proof pants, a heavy jacket, police vest, baclava, hat and sturdy gloves plus whatever clothes he had underneath. Wuss.] I suggested that he stand in the sun and he said that he was before, but that his spot was now in the shade. Ummm....move, perhaps? He then expressed bafflement at how I wasn't as cold as him and how on the ride down he couldn't believe I was wearing a tank-top, but was glad everytime he saw me add a layer. The only thing for me to conclude from this conversation is that I am tougher than the CPD!!! Or maybe I am just a brat.

The majority of the protest was fine--but I really don't think we altered many people's perspectives. Most of the people just ignored us. Interestingly, the few people who yelled angry things at us were holding lit cigarettes. Is there a correlation? People who smoke are also unconcerned about public health or the environment. Seems consistent to me.

One old man muttered, "don't they have anything better to do" and I couldn't resist quipping back "didn't you just pay to look at cars for a few hours?" Another person was more polite and explained that "No, since cars accidents kill 40,000 people and cause massive environmental degredation, there really is nothing more important to do than try to reduce car culture." The man snorted and walked away, but there was a strange look on his face that makes me believe he may actually ponder this issue.



Terrific--a Guy Pitched this Efficient Car of the Future to passerbys constantly changing the Breakfast-Food it was powered on in a used car salesman outfit and manner. It was hilarious.

There was a protester who I didn't know, but spent a lot of time on the microphone--and he did an overall great job, too. At one point I saw him 'chalking' the pavement and quickly was confronted with security guards before he walked away to chalk the street. Earlier I read ordinances against defacing or painting public ways and wondered whether chalk was permitted. Curious, I asked him about the conversation with the guards. They told him to do it on the street instead of on the sidewalkish area--and he was happily complying. We chatted for a while and he introduced himself as Travis, and then everything clicked. He is Travis Culley, the author of the The Immortal Class a 2002 book about messenger life in Chicago. Just last night someone was surprised that I didn't know him.

This book I flipped through at a store, but was turned off by the lawlessness of the way he rides. Some people also consider him to be an upstart and don't think he had the 'right' or the credentials to have written the book since he only messengered for a short time. I also heard from someone that he is pompous and full of himself. This didn't match my impression of him at all. He seemed quite smart and apologized for offending me when he had the microphone. I don't remember being offended by anything he said and wondered what gave him that idea. Apparently I made a dissapproving face. "Oh no, the only problem was once or twice you seemed to be babbling and didn't finish your point." He dismissed this excuse and said that he recognized seeing that look, too--but that another time I definitely looked offended. Weird. I really can't think of what he's referring to.

Anyway, I guess after a bit he realized who I was, too and had several questions to ask of me. Throughout the whole interaction he seemed very nice and not full of himself. I expect that now that we have met we will frequently notice each other at larger events. I wonder if I will still have a favorable opinion of him, or if the other people's impression is correct.

My Favorite Sign:

Fanfuckingtastic.

More pics Here

CCM Art Show

Deadly Propellers! Bike Art! Artsy Folks!

The CCM Art Show had it all and it was a good time. See pics Here!

It took me a while to piece together the full story, but a piece of artwork became dangerous last night. When I arrived several guys were working building some sort of installation involving bicycle components. I didn't pay too much attention to it, figuring I'd wait for it to be finished. I never saw it in action because it broke after a dangerous break-down. What it was supposed to be was a spinning, pedal-power contraption. A three pronged base (each spoke about a yard long) supported a pedal-station that could spin atop the base. Jutting outward from this was an arm stretching a bicycle chain that spun a propeller. The arm was supported by two bicycle wheels that were basically perpendicular to the arm, but in a somewhat curved position. If this makes any sense, the way it was supposed to work was for propeller to push the arm around in a circle as the pedal station spun atop the base. Several square yards of clearnance were needed if it was working.



There was a commotion and I went to check it out:


Blade, meet Wall; Wall, Blade.

What I saw was a metal blade of the propeller halfway buried in the plaster wall, broken off from the remaining blade that now looked like a boomarang.

WTF!?! I originally thought that the blade broke off and flew into the wall. What really happened was that the whole propeller fell off, bounced on the floor and jumped into the wall--upon impact the blade broke off.


My Further Investigation

The propeller seemed pretty sturdy (solid cast metal, almost 1/2" thick towards the center) and went pretty far into the wall. Thank goodness it didn't hit anybody, because it could have done some damage. The people I spoke with weren't very happy with the artist for inadequately securing the propeller.

This morning, as I biked to the Auto Show protest, I met a man who told me that the artist wasn't finished when this happened. Apparently he was deciding what propeller to use and went to get a drink. In the meantime someone hopped up and started pedalling to cause the propeller malfunction. Later, a newcomer arrived and immediately hopped up and began slowly pedalling (the boomrang was lightly attached). I quickly told him to stop. He did but snidely responded, "oh the art is only to look at." We explained the situation and he eagerly jumped down.

The behavior of these two men seems weird. It isn't quickly apparent what will happen once you pedal it. The second man certainly didn't clear the area of other people--a full revolution would have hit people. I just can't imagine assuming that it was OK for me to hop up and start pedalling this contraption unless I knew what it would do and that it was appropriate. By this time everyone at the party knew what had happened, so certainly had he asked he would have been told not to pedal it. Odd. But, nobody was hurt, so it's not too big of a deal. However, had someone been hit by the propeller, the artist certainly could have been liable for leaving an uncompleted, dangerous 'attractive nuisance' unsupervised & without warning. This sucks, because everybody there was an adult and should think before they act.


Me & Alex aka Bikefreeek (he is a sweetie, and super-cool!)

Most of the night was fun, but like New Year's Eve there was some unwanted boy attention. Damn it. I like dressing up for fun events, but I don't like that this seems to be an open invitation for getting hit on. Knock it off boys. It's only lipstick, get over it and learn to read women's signals better. I don't know how men can think that I am interested in them when I keep leaving our conversations to speak with someone else. grrrr. At the end of the night there were two guys obviously hanging around waiting for me to leave and I was dreading getting approached while unlocking my bike with a stammering, "I had a really great time talking with you tonight, and I was wondering, if, um....you wanted to hang out sometime, and...um, go for a ride...or continue our conversations.....or....umm......" Ick. ick. Ick. The two boys cancelled each other out though, and although they both followed me outside, they didn't have the balls to initiate this awkward scenario with the other boy present. Score! I nicely said goodbye to both of them and fled. tehehe.

Even though it worked out fine, it somewhat soured the evening. I don't automatically assume that if a boy speaks to me that he is interested or attracted to me. Having a lot in common and being able to laugh a lot or have good conversations are necessary but not sufficient indicators of attraction. I look for other signals and try to read men's body language. Why is this so difficult for many men? When I realize that a boy whom I am not interested in seems to show interest--I make sure that my signals are clear. I maintain a physical distance, keep the laughing minimal and avoid any sort of behavior that may be interpeted as flirty or encouraging. If this doesn't make an impression, then my growing uneasiness makes me even more stiff and reserved. How in the world can this be interpretted positively by these boys? It is really mind-boggling.

I really don't want to stop dressing up because I think it is fun. This type of awkward attention makes me reconsider. I feel like I have mastered the art of biking in dress-up clothes. It would therefore be very sad that biking couldn't cramp my style but biking boys may. double-grrr.

One Year Anniversary!

A year ago I loss the use of my car. I wouldn't realize it for almost another two months, though.

The car was really only used to leave the city, except for very rare occasions. I was a CTA girl for inter-city mobility. However, I was meeting ex-boyfriend Mike on a very cold night and decided to drive to his place. During dinner the dome light of my car was on and drained the battery. One of his friends gave me a jump after we left the jazz club and I drove back down to Hyde Park. This was the last time I really drove my car. Two months later I tried to start it, but it wouldn't cooperate.

For the next six months my car was nothing but a hassle. Its leopard-spotted paint job was not suited for an urban environment and instead of acting as protective camoflage, the spots drew additional attention from the neighboring frat boys. Sensing that it was crippled and weak, the frat boys eagerly harrassed this easy prey. Eggs were thrown, wiper bladess were stripped, footprints appeared along with odd dents.

One night I was awakened by a wrenching noise and then soon called by the police to move my car because it was perpendicular to the curb and blocking the street. Motherfuckers. For the first time in the long history of my car's vandalism (two smashed windows, one cracked windshield, one University bench atop the roof, one stolen side mirror, one stolen license plate and several stolen wipers) the police responded and apprehended some frat boys. My car wouldn't jump start so the frats were made to push-parallel park my car back into place or else be arrested. A week later three tires were simultaneously flat.

Besides the frat boy hassle, I also had monthly street cleaning hassles. A few times me and my roommates simply pushed it to the other side of the street--but I felt bad doing that, so I began a much easier way to avoid street-cleaning fines: I took the license plate off and covered the VIN plate. Every once in a while I noticed grease pen writing on the window with the word abandoned and a date. A razor blade and window cleaner solve that problem. One day I realized that the paper on the dash covering the VIN was no longer there and about two weeks later I decided to investigate it. There were marks on the door and neither door was locked--apparently the CPD jimmied the lock to get my VIN to issue me a citation.

By this time I was biking everywhere and debating whether or not to keep the car. I figured a new battery would get him running again but I also considered donating it to charity. It disappeared and the decision was made for me. Streets and Sanitation towed my car and it was racking up towing/storage fees that increased daily. Chicago has a delightful policy that if you sign the title over to the city they will cancel these fees. Done and done. I was bouncing around the apartment as I happily signed away my car.

So for a year now I have been without the benefit of a car. I miss it when I have to go home to Wisconsin, but my everyday life hasn't changed, and I am much happier without having a car to worry about.

Religious Hypocrites with Email Access

My best friend from childhood through high school likes to forward me stupid email messages. Normally these forwards belong to one of three categories:
1.) Please Pass This to the Women in Your Life--it May Save Their Life!!!!!
These are usually urban-legend type stories of women almost being assaulted/raped/kidnapped........and IT COULD HAPPEN TO YOU! Be careful, lock your doors, never leave the house without six male relatives, carry mace on your keychain. Never, ever act like an independant woman who has freedom of mobilility and isn't afraid of her own shadow.
2.) Bible verses, 'miracles' or other religious drivel.
3.) Heartwarming stories, inpirational poems or other 'traditional family values' laden crap of the "Chicken Soup for the Soul" or "Reader's Digest" mentality.

groan. Delete. groan. Delete. groan. Delete. groan.

She and I have very, very differend lives and opinions, but I still value her friendship. She is married for over four years, pays a mortgage, lives in a rural/small town setting near our hometown, is quite religious and grudgingly took one year of college (to remain on her parents insurance while she had knee surgery/therapy). Her husband is a heavy equipment operator who drives a huge pick-up truck. They love country music, always drive newish vehicles and recently had a child. When I visited them after 9/11/2001 there was a huge American flag hung on the side of their home.

I am none of the above.

Today she forwarded me this gem of carefully formulated foreign and domestic policy:

You gotta love Robin Williams... Leave it to Robin Williams to come up with the perfect plan .. what we need now is for our UN Ambassador to stand up and repeat this message. Robin William's plan. (Hard to argue with this logic!) I see a lot of people yelling for peace but I have not heard of a plan for peace. So, here's one plan.

1.) The US will apologize to the world for our "interference" in their affairs, past & present. You know, Hitler, Mussolini, Tojo, Noriega, Milosevic and the rest of those 'good ole boys,' We will never "interfere" again.
2.) We will withdraw our troops from all over the world, starting with Germany, South Korea and the Philippines. They don't want us there. We would station troops at our borders. No one sneaking through holes in the fence.
3.) All illegal aliens have 90 days to get their affairs together and leave. We'll give them a free trip home. After 90 days the remainder will be gathered up and deported immediately, regardless of who or where they are. France would welcome them.
4.) All future visitors will be thoroughly checked and limited to 90 days unless given a special permit. No one from a terrorist nation would be allowed in. If you don't like it there, change it yourself and don't hide here. Asylum would never be available to anyone. We don't need any more cab drivers or 7-11 cashiers.
5.) No foreign "students" over age 21. The older ones are the bombers. If they don't attend classes, they get a "D" and it's back home baby.
6.) The US will make a strong effort to become self-sufficient energy wise. This will include developing nonpolluting sources of energy but will require a temporary drilling of oil in the Alaskan wilderness. The caribou will have to cope for a while.
7.) Offer Saudi Arabia and other oil producing countries $10 a barrel for their oil. If they don't like it, we go some place else. They can go somewhere else to sell their production. (About a week of the wells filling up the storage sites would be enough.)
8.) If there is a famine or other natural catastrophe in the world, we will not "interfere." They can pray to Allah or whomever, for seeds, rain, cement or whatever they need. Besides most of what we give them is stolen or given to the army. The people who need it most get very little, if anything.
9.) Ship the UN Headquarters to an isolated island some place. We don't need the spies and fair weather friends here. Besides, the building would make a good homeless shelter or lockup for illegal aliens.
10.) All Americans must go to charm and beauty school. That way, no one can call us "Ugly Americans" any longer.
The Language we speak is ENGLISH.....learn it...or LEAVE...Now, isn't that a winner of a plan.

"The Statue of Liberty is no longer saying 'Give me your poor, your tired, your huddled masses.' She's got a baseball bat and she's yelling, 'You want a piece of me?'"
If you agree with the above forward it to friend... If not, and I would be amazed, DELETE it !!!!!

First off--Warning: Racism saturation.

Second--I am quite perplexed as to how many of these issues even affect her at all. She does not encounter cabdrivers, immigrants, 7-11 clerks, asylum-seekers, 22+ 'students' or even non-english speakers. She also lives in a village with less than 400 people--hardly a terrorist target. She experiences neither the benefit nor burden of diversity--yet apparently has decided that it is bad and needs to stop.

Finally--Holy Hypocricy. This is my main problem with the situation and I really am tempted to call her out on it. Exactly how does one think of themself as a good Christian and simultaneously agree with amazingly callous treatment of the poor, oppressed and desperate? I have always had too logical of a brain to buy into religion and sermons are boring, so my understanding of the bible and Catholic doctrine is pretty shaky. However, I think Jesus's message was all about forgiveness, sharing and love. He aligned himself with the poor and seemed critical of greed, selfishness and pettiness.

So I really wonder how a policy of completely ignoring the suffering of others and turning our backs on poor, tortured, victims fits in with the purported basis of Christianity.

Given the conflict between my natural brattiness and my desire to retain this friendship, I don't know how to respond. I sort of think that simply replying, "WWJD?" might be the best way.

Any other thoughts?

Friday, February 11, 2005

Cycling Sexism

Cycling Sisters is a fantastic group of women bikers in Chicago. We hold rides, repair/maintenance workshops and sometimes parties or other social gatherings. The group is usually very, very supportive. Today the list-serve exploded because of images of women in the Raleigh 2005 Catalog.

Women were shocked and appalled and sickened. The chorus chimed:
"How dare the magazine use women in miniskirts to sell bicycles!"
"Sexism!"
"Boycott!"

Hilariously a man piped up that he has seen women bike in similar clothes and that maybe it wasn't sexist. The events and clothes that he described were mine. But the Hornet's nest was disturbed and I think some women wanted blood to flow.

I admitted to biking in skirts all of the time and explained my philosophy of biking fitting into my life seamlessly--instead of being a gear-intensive, clothes-changing, bag-carrying burden. Then I had the audacity to state that the pictures didn't really bother me and that there may even be benefits to these photos.

Holy shitstorm. Hornets galore. The comments to the listserve itself weren't too bad, but the ones directly to my email were hilariously horrible. Several of the women, people who actually know me, had my back.

I was labeled as a subversive and told that I have bought into the patriarchal ideal of the female. I am not expressing my own will when I bike in skirts, but instead conforming to the male standards of beauty in an attempt to gain the approval of the ruling class by offering myself as a sexual object to them. What a hoot. Jackasses in pick-up trucks and taxi drivers are the ruling class? I missed the changing of the guard.

First off, I am no stranger to feminist theory. A lot of it is interesting and insightful--but there is also a whole set of man-hating garbage that not only discredits feminism but also tends to perpetuate the same stereotypes and power dynamics that true feminism seeks to eliminate. Secondly, I really don't think I am some weak-willed woman who curries favor with men as the means to get ahead. I am a tomboy and fit in ridiculously well as 'one of the boys'--certainly better than I do with 'typical' women. Additionally, I really love how these angry women feel justification to dismiss my dissenting viewpoint and try to strip me of my free will because I don't buy their party line. Way to stand up for other women. Finally, am I subversive or obediently operating within the paradigm of the prevailing ideal? I don't think I can do both.

The best part about this was that I didn't recognize the names of any of the women who emailed me directly. Hmmm....odd. Women whom I admire and consider to be great leaders and proponents of women's cycling, and are out on the street supported my position, whereas women I don't think I have met consider me a traitorous, hoochie bimbo. I don't have any solid justification, but I have a hunch that some of my critics are bitter women who enjoy getting angry and self-righteous, and that this inclination, instead of biking is what drew them to the group.

Obediently yours,
The subversive hoochie

Competitive Spirit

I am in denial about the fact that I am competitive about a lot of things. Once when I lived in the co-op I off-handedly said something about not being competitive and the whole kitchen-full of housemates burst out into uncontrollable laughter. A few of them labeled me as the most competitive person they ever met. I didn't believe them--after all, many of them also think I am the most aggressive personality they've encountered. Not really, I just tend to be more blunt and honest instead of manipulative and back-stabbing.

In terms of biking, I really have no reason for denying my competitiveness. I love to pass people, and hate to be passed by other riders when I am pedalling. Spandexed roadies are allowed to pass me, but really no one else. Other women passing me is completely unacceptable, even if I am hauling groceries and they are in full-spandex, aerobar glory. Absolutely not--I will catch them.

I realized yesterday morning how sicky competitive I am on my commute. There were several of my favorite type of bike riders--people who run red lights. I stop for almost all traffic lights, and this gives slower riders, whom I previously passed, the opportunity to catch up with me, and then pass me by running the light. This gives me the chance to pass them again! Yesterday the lights were timed perfectly for us to play a fun game of leap-frog--they pass me when I'm stopped and I catch them when we are both moving. Too much fun, and too pretty sick.

Last night I saw the twinkling of a rear bike light far ahead and off I went to catch him. I kept getting caught behind yellow lights--but that just made it more fun for me to see him almost fade from sight and then just miss him. This pattern repeated several times before I finally passed him with a cheerful, 'on your left'. Victory is mine.

On tonight's ride home I had an even more fun experience. I was leap-frogging with a light runner for quite a while and then thought I left him behind and forgot about him. He didn't seemed happy when I passed him and seemed to be participating in my race. Apparently he was working to catch up with me and was panting as he went by me. I kept pretty close behind him but waited so I could pass him at the next overpass (Chicago's only hills). He was really panting when I passed him going up the hill. Whistling. Wearing heels. And a skirt. I am a bitch. It was fun.

I am competitive.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Keeping Iowa's Young Folks at Home After They've Seen Minnesota? New York Times, February 9, 2005.

Interesting article. The problems of factory farms generally focus on the destructive environmental consequences or the rote animal abuse. Instead this article describes yet another way that factory farms are harmful: the decimation of rural life.

One thing that I discovered in law school was that most of my worldly, well-traveled classmates couldn't grasp the concept of rural areas or small towns. Their world was divided neatly in half: urban and suburban. I grew up seven miles from a small town (poulation: <3000) with farms as neighbors. The idea of a few hundred or thousand people living apart from a large city was confusing and horrifying to them. No wonder rural issues get ignored or misrepresented in the national discourse if the 'best and the brightest' not only haven't experienced this lifestyle, but can't even imagine it.

My first summer of law school I worked at Farmer's Legal Action Group and learned a lot about agriculture policy, USDA, subsidies, agribusiness and factory farms. The USDA and agribusiness are more than just bedfellows--it is an orgy between special interests, lobbyists, government officials and agribusiness fat cats. There is a revolving door between USDA officials and agribusiness leaders. Seriously, there are many people who jump back and forth every couple of years: one year they right the laws governing a particular segment, the next year they are executives in the businesses that reap the benefits, then back to the USDA to create policy.....and so forth. Disgusting.

What is even more appalling is the role of the small farmer in this system. Agribusiness hides behind the family farmer to rally support for subsidies. The endangered family farmer is the poster-child of the USDA: a symbol of wholesomeness, integrity and goodness. The family farmer is far more often hurt than helped by the USDA policies--the vast majority of subsidies go to huge agribusinesses that keep squeezing the family farms out of business.

Factory farms are horrible from almost every angle. They cause huge environmental damage--be it from the waste of animals or from the uni-crop planting that completely lacks biological diversity and requires vast amounts of fertilizer, herbicide and pesticide. This obviously effects the quality of our food--most drastically in animal products. Factory farm animals are pumped full of chemicals and antibiotics to stay alive. This is the only way to raise animals as densely as these farms do. The lives of these animals is far from natural and their short lives are tortured. Bad. Bad. Bad.

This article was an absolute delight because it explored another important resource that factory farms destroy: rural communities. Each family farm that shuts down regretfully is a personal disaster and a loss to the the family members. These losses are not limited to the individual families, but also have an effect on communities. Factory farms replace small business owners with wage workers--mostly low-wage workers. The owners and executives of the farms do not live in the area and aren't invested in the community. They are motivated by profits and are completely willing to be an unpleasant, anti-social neighbor.

Many areas of Iowa have suffered dramatically after embracing factory farms but now are locked in with few options to improve the situation. Areas near my hometown in Wisconsin are beginning to suffer the same fate: the kids with bright futures go away to college and never come back. The people left behind are left with diminishing options as good-paying jobs disappear, leaving behind a depressing trail of crappy service jobs. This turns into a downward spiral of fewer and fewer opportunities for workers and more leverage for large corporations to abuse those same workers and degrade the communities.

Hopefully other communities will learn from Iowa's mistake and take measures to prevent factory farms from gaining a foothold. Rural life is an interesting and valuable aspect of American life that I hope doesn't disappear into rural poverty and hopelessness.

A final note: the income tax scheme certainly doesn't address the problem of rural poverty. Even if Iowa does manage to retain or even attract more young, educated workers, I can pretty much guarantee that they won't be living in rural areas. Cities are where these people will reside and the countryside will continue to rot.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Just Fucking Apologize

What makes it so hard for people to just apologize when they screw up?

Even when cars almost kill me, all I want is an apologetic, spooked look conveying, "Oh my god, I totally didn't see you, I am so sorry." I want to know that my heart wasn't the only one that leapt throatward and is now beating like a crackhead. Seriously, that is all I need--because that look instantaneously conveyes that the driver recognizes they messed up, realizes the harm they almost caused, cares that they almost hurt someone and will try not to do it again. Done and done. I didn't get this look after a near collision this morning.

On the ride to work today a car passed me and then immediately, upon seeing a parking spot, slammed on its brakes while crossing my path. I didn't hit it, but I was not at all pleased. I lost all of my momentum braking to avoid a collision, so I had absolutely no reason not to stop and have a friendly morning "why did you almost kill me" conversation. I pulled alongside the vehicle and motioned for the woman to roll her window down. She obviously saw me, but deliberately didn't make eye contact--her passenger kept giving me nervous looks though.

Hey ladies, here is a clue: You are parking. I have a pretty good hunch that you will shortly be exiting the car, so this childish "if I don't see you, then you don't exist" game doesn't work as well as you seem to hope. Also, I am not deterred by awkward situations--I thrive on them, so if you hope discomfort will force me to leave, well think again. Additionally, waiting me out is futile--the stubborness runs strong in this girl. Think pitbull jaws. So I stood there in the street staring at the two women in the car as they parked, sat there, talked to each other, sat there, slowly gathered their purses and stuff and exited the car.

"Did you see me"
--"What?"
"Did you see me when you cut me off?"
--"You're not hurt"
"Luckily, and no thanks to you. The question was if you saw me."
--"You're not hurt"
"I'm not hurt because I was paying attention and was able to slam on my brakes, check traffic and manuver around you to avoid hitting your car as you cut me off."
--"See, you're fine."
"Don't you care that because you weren't paying attention or weren't thinking you almost caused an accident?"
--" "
"I am not trying to fight with you, but I want you to understand that you need to pay attention and think about the other people on the road."
--" "
"Why don't you care about what you almost caused to happen?"
--" "
________________________
End of story. The women just refused to respond and wouldn't look at me.

I had a similar encounter, that I posted at Oil is for Sissies blog. I have only encountered this response twice--both from women. Most people are perfectly willing to apologize or discuss this type of incident, but this silly "you're not hurt, therefore I did nothing wrong" bullshit has only been spewed by women. Interesting. I'll have to pay more attention in the future.

I need to develop a different strategy for dealing with this type of jackassery in the future. My u-lock comes to mind as a way to get people's attention. Not to actually hit their cars, but to threaten them into paying attention to me. This is obviously much safer in this scenario than when the people are inside a vehicle with its engine running. I know that even armed with a u-lock and steeltoes, I don't want to threaten an asshole driving a weapon. I can always spit on cars, especially since the phlegm in my lungs would create a loogie that cannot be ignored. This just seems lame though--I am not an animal that spits on others. Plus I really want drivers to drive safely and respect bicyclists and I don't think spitting or alluding to violence really conveys that message.

It's just really frustrating to have so many people on the road treat my life so casually and then behave as if I am overreacting when I expect them to care that they almost injured another human being. As much as I enjoy conversing with motorists, I don't usually do so angrily. Several of these conversations are quite pleasant and educational for the motorists. I do get tickled when they try to tell me what the biking laws are, though. Ummm....I'm a lawyer who bikes--this argument is mine. Maybe that is what I can do when people don't take me seriously--drop the attorney-bomb and threaten to sue them for assault, negligence and recklessness. They won't know that is bullshit, but it might scare their heads out of their asses.

Anyway, a few blocks later I became part of biking caravan. We came upon a car that was stopped in the bike lane and all had to slow down considerably to manuver around it.* The first rider stopped to yell at the couple inside. Then the second rider followed suit. The third snaked to the right of the car and yelled from that side, too. I added my "get out of the bike lane" to the chorus. It was precious--the motorists looked completely bewildered and somewhat frightened about the bikes that seemingly came from nowhere to call them out. The passenger was gesturing that it was OK, because they were making a right turn up ahead. Hilarious. This interaction lifted my mood considerably after the first encounter.



*There was a right turn ahead and several cars in queue with their blinkers on to the right of the bike lane. This car however was smack in the bike lane wedged close between parked cars and the traffic lane. Often in this area cars pull out of the slow/stopped traffic lane to drive in the clear bike lane, usually to make a right turn, but also to merge back in at the next intersection like a jackass. I would bet any money that this car had driven in the bike lane for quite a while to get where it was. Anyone who makes a right turn has to cut across the bike lane, but not here. The bike lane normally has solid lines, with dashed lines to indicate where cars should cut. Amazingly the dashed lines correspond with the "No Parking Past this Point" signs to allow for a turning lane to the right of the bike lane. Followed accordingly, a car never need be plopped in the bike lane--they should only cut across it momentarily. I love street planning--it's like ballet. Too bad so few follow the choreography.

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