More commuters?

July 26, 2008

So the line-up of bikes at my friendly neighborhood bike shop has changed quite dramatically. Aside from the fact that they’re dealing with some companies that they didn’t used to deal with (like Fuji), they’ve also changed the kinds of bikes they’re stocking. I noticed today that they have way, way more commuters and way fewer road bikes. Not that you couldn’t order your dream road bike from them, and not that they still don’t have a pretty good selection, but they seem to have switched out the higher end road bikes so they can concentrate on commuter bikes.

I asked if that meant that more people were bike commuting, and the guy behind the counter said that commuters are about all they’re selling right now. Which, as much as I love road bikes, is I think an excellent sign. Thank you, $4 a gallon gas (which, I’m dismayed to note, has recently fallen to $3.99).

As most of my miles right now are on my own road bike (I’m working from home at the moment), when I do ride my commuter (for trips to the pub and such, or to get coffee) it seems weird not to have drop handlebars. Which has me at least thinking that one day I might do what Ladymacsquish did and build a dream commuter bike (in her case a Surly frame with lots of custom components). I love it that my KHS Urban-X is built like a tank: some of Atlanta’s roads would eat a road bike alive (I’m looking at you, Euclid Avenue). But a super strong steel-framed commuter with drop handlebars? That would be lovely. Then again, I’d hate to cheat on my current bike. In fact, I feel a bit guilty for having these impure thoughts.

Anyhoo, if you’re in Atlanta and are thinking of bike commuting, head to Bicycle South. They’ve got a great range of bikes that can get you to work and back in comfort and style.


Motorists gone mad on the edge of Atlanta

July 24, 2008

So while biking out to within sight of Stone Mountain earlier today I passed what looked like a cyclist who had been hit by an SUV. He seemed to be okay, but his bike was lying in the road. And he was being yelled at by a driver who seemed, potentially, to be on the edge of violence. The cyclist was on his cell phone, ignoring him, and was quite sensibly calling the police. I figured I should wait around to see if he needed help. While I was waiting for him to get off the phone, the driver started yelling at me about what a stupid idiot the cyclist was for biking on the road when there was a perfectly good bike path. I decided not to explain the intricacies of Georgia transportation law (not intricate at all, actually: bicycles have a right to be on the road), or of the joys of road biking. Finally the cyclist got off of the phone. I asked him if he was okay. He said he was, but that this guy had hit him, and was now screaming at him for being on the road. I asked him if he needed me to stick around (safety in numbers). He said he was fine, and would just wait for the police to show up.

A mile up the road, where I stopped to turn around, I struck up a conversation with another cyclist who had also stopped at the scene. “Atlanta drivers are the worst in the world” he said. I’m not sure about the entire world (I imagine that, say, biking in Lagos can be hairy; Los Angeles certainly was for me). But there sure are an awful lot of horrible assholes out there.

Still here!

July 15, 2008

Wow, I really haven’t been posting here much. I’m still here! This blog still lives! So what’s up? Let’s see…

I’m loving the clipless pedals. In fact, I now regret not having bought them a year earlier. As I’m more or less working from home this summer, most of my cycling miles come from 14-16 mile weekday rides on my road bike, plus, if I get out of bed sufficiently unhungover, a Sunday morning 25 mile Stone Mountain ride. And lots of small trips around town on my commuter bike.

I continue to get lots of comments when I wear this t-shirt. Today, while buying a sandwich, the guy behind the counter asked, rather belligerently, “what is that shirt? What are those zeroes?” I incoherently replied that it’s what I pay for gas when I ride my bike. Not a great answer, as it’s also what I pay for gas when I’m, say, on the toilet. But no matter.

Much better was a couple of weeks ago, when two women in a truck passed me and gave a victory salute. Or maybe their hands were the other way round, and they were British people telling me to fuck off.