Wednesday, May 14, 2008

KC Bike Week 2008 Day 3: Finally Over

It's been a long day, with some odd results.

Here's what the plan was (kinda)

I had a meeting at the Central KCMO Library at 6:00 PM. I get out of work around 4:00 PM. Rather than go home and drive back downtown, I got my wonderful wife to let me kick it in KCMO for a few extra hours.

I figured since I was going to miss the memorial ride of silence, I could at least go down and see Family Bicycles and maybe put a few miles on the trolley track trail, and stop by the refreshment booth Family Bikes set up. Without knowing a solid route, I took Jeff's advice and just used the MAX.

Here's where I got sneaky. I saw the L bus, which I occasionally take to get back home. I haven't ridden it in about a month. I swung by and asked the driver for a transfer, then quickly darted back off the bus without even pretending I was going to ride it. I have a monthly pass for The JO, and The JO transfers are good for a free ride on any metro bus. I could have ridden the L bus to Union Station, but I could beat it there and in the process cut almost 45 minutes off of my trip to Family Bikes.

For what it's worth, I did make my intentions clear to the bus driver before asking for the transfer.

I got to Union Station JUST in time to see the MAX pull out. I decided I'd race it to the next stop. Upon reaching the stop, my panniers jammed against my fender, and my rear fender hit my wheel, bent up, buckled, and locked my rear wheel up. Without delay, I cyclocross-carried The Twelve, ran to the MAX, and racked it up on the front of the bus. I'd assess the situation once I got down to Waldo.

I inverted my bike on the side of the road and got the fender un-mangled, but still not properly attached. I walked the bike to the Family Bikes refreshment station, and asked where the main shop is. About 1/10 mile down the road. I walked my bike to the shop, and was greeted by Theresa, Bruce and Kat. Theresa and Bruce know me from the Bike Week committee. I also saw another cyclist I know, who occasionally rides with my Monday crew. Kat had all but sold him on a Dahon folding full-size mountain bike by the time I was leaving.
Meanwhile, Bruce gave me some hardware to re-attach the mounting bracket for my fenders, and let me use a pair of channel-locks to bend things back into some kind of workable shape.

No folding bikes shown, this is mostly redline and surly stuff. Family has a TON of accessories, most of which are geared towards beginners and commuters.

I lost track of time and missed the Northbound MAX to get to my meeting. There are two "flavors" of MAX. One goes to the Plaza and turns around. Every SECOND bus comes out to Waldo. In other words, if I could get to the Plaza, I could catch a MAX bus to get me to the Library quicker.

I followed the Trolley Track trail for a few miles.

After that, despite Jeff's advice to steer clear of Brookside Blvd, I rode Brookside all the way into the plaza where I found a bus that had just stopped.

Here's the American Century building (one of two). Yes, I black and whited it.

Come on, hurry up!

At the library at last!

Riding home after 7:00 PM, my commute has a completely different... timbre. It's not just a feeling. It's a shift of ambiance and attitude.

I HAD to stop and take a picture of this duckling. Then, I had to restrain myself from throttling a pair of evil Canada Geese for the transgressions of their foul-feathered relative in Springfield, MO a few weeks ago.

I swung by Trek Store to see what the Bottom Bracket situation was going to cost me. They say for $15 they'll take the thing apart and lube it up to see if that helps. I kind of told the guy to piss off. But I wasn't quite that mean. I can take the thing apart myself and re-lube it. Duh. If that fails, I'll probably go somewhere else to buy a replacement bottom bracket.

This red light means that my DiNotte has been running more than 3 hours and is on "Limp-Home" mode. It certainly was a nice day for some extra miles. Quivira (shown below) is really nice after 8:00 PM.

So, this ends another day. The Twelve? Well, she's in the dog house for a few days after what she's put me through this week so far. Hybridzilla came down and got geared up for the morning ride in, and The Twelve joins my wife's Townie on the wall. This is where bikes go when they won't be ridden for a while.

Miles today: 40
This week: 120
May so far: 324

PS: I'm only 4 miles from the most miles I've had in a month this year, and I think I'm on course to clear 600 miles pretty easily this month.

All of 2007's Bike To Work Week posts (I think I've come a long way since then)
All of 2008's Bike Week posts so far

Random Tunage:
Third Eye Blind - How's it gonna be?
Ian Van Dahl - Will I


Anonymous said...

Noah, I love your photo stories. I really wish we were more bike friendly here in JAX.

Sairen said...

I hope that visitors to this blog don't always come away with the impression that KC is a cyclists paradise. It's improving, but it's still a pain in the butt. People like you, Noah, are the intrepid pioneers of KC Biking and are a making a HUGE difference. Thanks for all you do.

Noah said...

Totally understood. I think anyone that reads more than a week will see mention of Evil People or Cold weather among other things that make bicycling around here a little bit of a challenge.

I can tell you that despite these challenges, finding a good route (if one exists) is paramount. It makes all the difference in the world. A little more than a year ago, I would have been clueless how to get to downtown from Olathe (my home a year ago), much less how to navigate around suburbia safely.

I do admit that I'm probably a pretty visible pioneer of bicycling around here.

The fact remains, however, that I've been doing this less than two years. I'm still overweight (but not as bad), and I still have many lessons to learn. I'm really just an average guy doing something that any average person could do.

You don't need to be an elite athlete to do this. You don't need to wear form-fitting race regalia. You don't even need an expensive road bike. The hybrid I rode in on this morning worked just fine. Combined with the Metro bus system, people in MO can get around without a car pretty well. If you have a stable and "normal" work schedule, Johnson County folks can usually rely on The JO to bridge the chasm if the full distance seems too far. Don't forget MARC's Guaranteed Ride Home program for people who are worried about being stranded downtown.

The accommodations are here. They're just not as vast and ubiquitous as they are in other metro areas.

Sirrus Rider said...

Damn Noah!

You're the only one I know who has broken so much on his bikes in a short amount of time. I have only recently had any sort of casualty (blowing out the axle on the trike) and I was half expecting it as the trike's quality is nothing of the old Schwinn's of the '60's through '80s and I was giving it more use then the Red Chinese probably every intended in their redesign.

Noah said...

Clyde Power!

That, and Kansas City is riddled with pot-holes and bike-killing storm drains.

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