Monday, August 2, 2010

Bike as transportation

Yesterday Anna and I made our way on our bicycles from our home near the intersection of Cedar and Lee to her mother's home in the northern reaches of Cleveland Heights, by way of the Heights main library. Anna has a part time job at the library shelving books and being generally helpful (hey, it runs in the family!) and will be doing some commuting by bicycle in the next few weeks, so we thought we'd get the route planned out on a quiet Sunday morning. From our house, it's an easy walk or ride, but it's a bit longer and not nearly as easy from her mother's house.

Sadly, bicycling from south to north in our fair city is not the easiest thing to do. The main routes (Coventry, Lee, Taylor) do not lend themselves to bicycling, and there are few side-street alternatives. So we chose Taylor, which makes for fewer miles riding west-east on other bicycle-unfriendly roads. It was not pleasant, even on a Sunday morning. It's not a long ride for Anna, perhaps 15 minutes, but that stretch of Taylor, particularly from Severance shopping center to Cedar Road, is particularly unpleasant and full of perils for a cyclist.

I suggested to Anna that she make use of the sidewalk on her ride if need be. Normally, I bristle when I see cyclists on the sidewalk. Riding a bicycle on the sidewalk is only appropriate if you are under the age of 10. But in this case, it might be the choice between that or being taken out by a pothole or a parked car suddenly opening its door.

On my solo ride back home, along this very stretch of road, I mused on how different this location is from where I'd last been riding- along a stretch of sand on Hilton Head island, straddling a beach cruiser. Still, my mid-route destination here at home was On the Rise bakery, which was bustling with customers on a Sunday morning. Felt great to say hello to the kind faces there, and to fill my pannier with carbohydrate goodness. It also felt great to ride home with my haul of fresh bread in the cool, dry, 72 degree air, another difference from coastal South Carolina.

And now, a gratuitous picture of a baby.

1 comment:

Greg said...

I've found that a new cross-town route can take lots of iterative fine tuning to optimize the experience. Many times what's at first seemed like the best route on paper -- even across well-known roads in some new combination -- turns out to be quite different from the route upon which I ultimately settle. Not sure what kinds of options you have for these home/library trips, but definitely keep the possibilities open to variation!

In our town sidewalk riding is permitted up to age 14, aside from business (er, shopping) districts where it's always disallowed.

Any "drive you bike" classes in Cleveland? I didn't spot any at They're really really good!