On biking and bike racks

The planets and weather finally aligned for me and my bike. I rode my bike  to work Saturday. As I began my bike ride I felt this really strange sensation. It’s like a combination of “freedom” and “is something missing?” Then, it dawned on me, no seatbelt! I was missing that feeling of the constriction of the seatbelt across my chest. As a yoga practitioner it always interests me the ways in which sensations in our body are a kind of memory and memories can exist as sensations in our body. And, how a car ride and the feeling of a seatbelt are a kind of memory in my body. Double freedom in my bike ride from that!

The ride in was wonderful. I travel roads that I do not usually drive, in search of less automotive traffic. (I am, I suppose, very typical for my gender, risk adverse.) My ride is not that long, just over 2 1/2 miles. Most of it is traveling down an ever so slight incline, so the occasionally fierce winds did not bother me.

When I arrived at work it dawned on me that WE HAVE NO BIKE RACKS! I actually can not believe I had not really thought about this before. I have biked in to work and I always bring my bike inside. But today there was a lot going on and I didn’t want it to be in the way. So I attached it to a railing outside and went about my business. As I was I leaving I stood looking at the road I’d soon be on and thought about what a beautiful day it was and how lucky I was to be outside in it.

That sensation goes a long way in limiting the blues I usually feel in the transition from winter to spring.

Thus inspired, I decided to bike to our local co-op.  I had planned to drive to it because of the amount of groceries I needed. But, I decided that since my goal was to bike more and especially to use my bike for around- town commuting purposes, I needed to make the effort. It was heavy, but I have a large pannier and a smaller one and they worked. My fear that I would kick the big pannier off and six 28 ounce cans of crushed tomatoes would go rolling all over the street was not realized.

But, yet again, in what I can see will be a theme for this spring/summer, the bike rack saga continued. (I know this is an overstatement but if you want to ride and run errands, you need someplace to park your bike) Our co-op has a bike rack in part because a number of years ago I and lots of other people asked about one. I have to give them a lot of credit because they are one of the FEW businesses in our town with a bike rack. However, when I got to the store there were already two bikes parked on it; parked, NOT locked and shopping carts blocked the rest of the rack. I managed to lock my bike to the outside edge and had another realization. You can’t easily lock your bike to this rack because it is pushed up to the wall. You can lock your front wheel if the rack is not blocked by shopping carts or you could take up the entire rack and lock your bike sideways. (A clerk had moved two rows of the carts, before I took my picture.)

While I was there I counted four other people coming and going on bikes. And I was only there 30 minutes total. I talked with one woman who biked up while I was there about the accessibility of the bike rack. She thought it didn’t matter because this is Niskayuna and no one would steal our bikes. Maybe not, although I don’t believe that, but if we’re going to have racks they need to be accessible for their intended purpose. The manager wasn’t around so I am going to ask about  moving them away from the wall later this week (when it stops raining and I get on my bike again.)


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