Sunday, August 26, 2012

It's a Great Park, ok?

I've been riding the velo into (and often home from and back into) campus every day, and so far it's gone well. Sometimes getting back across Jeffrey (a pretty busy road that runs along-side campus) can be a trick, especially late at night or at odd times of day when no cars seem to be leaving campus to trigger left turn signals for me. It often seems like I wait and wait to make that left out of campus and then sometimes the traffic is suddenly so heavy I can't change lanes or have to wait a quarter mile back for all the cars using the bike lane for right turns. I've gotten pretty creative about maneuvering up to an intersection so I can hang a left, cross the street, then cling to the sidewalk until I can go straight across there (a rather longer process than the simple left, but you do what you must). There are bike-cross buttons sometimes, but I have to set the parking brake and climb up out of the velo to use them, so it's only in the most dire need that I'll make an arse of myself trying to smack the light while half out of my seat hoping it doesn't change before I can slide back in, release the brakes, and get my feet back on the pedals.

I've resigned myself, at least for the remainder of summer, to wearing actual moisture-wicking bike clothes in and taking a change of clothes for teaching. I don't like this arrangement because 1) I often run into colleauges and students before I've had a chance to change from my sweat-bleared gear, so what's the difference? 2) I have to get there earlier, then do things like hop on one foot in a bathroom stall while I switch from sneakers to heels, and 3) bike jerseys just don't look good on me. Granted, I only have the four I've earned from Ride for Roswell's extra-mile club, and maybe some other brand/style/size would look better, but it seems unfair that no one's invested in bike-friendly business casual attire yet.

While the commute to campus is pretty short, I did break the 1100 mile marker on the odometer today. I've been trying to run any errands within Irvine in the velo, so I've ridden up to Target and various grocery stores numerous times, and I've made plenty of treks out to various farm markets. I still think the Great Park might be my favorite, though I've only tried Irvine's weekend options.

The Great Park is an old air-force base that the city's converting into a giant public park, bit by bit. They have free concerts on the weekend, as well as free trips up in a giant orange tethered hot air balloon, and the farm market on Sundays (with a bonus antique market on the first Sunday of each month). I wish it was more bike friendly (seriously guys, all these bike lanes and paths everywhere and you don't have a single one that feeds into your biggest public park?!), but it's still a decent little five-mile jaunt, and worth it for the fresh produce and the food trucks.
Mountains on the horizon! You can also see my new blinky tail light (that's the third one I've lost/broken since getting the velo) and how sun-bleached my neon orange flag already is.

Nothing says bike-lovin' town like having no bike parking in your major park other than rolling up onto some bark and locking to a wooden fence. Psh. Still worth it. Check out those tents laden with excellent fruit and veg in the distance!

I oiled the chain recently. Things sound way smoother, but my leg comes out looking rather a mess. Oops. Will have to remember some wet-wipes or something for the next few days of campus commuting.

There's the balloon in the distance. It goes about 400 feet into the air, and rather than a basket, there's a big, circular metal walkway that can fit 14-18 people.


  1. How cool. Good job spreading the word about these awesome vehicles.

  2. Great story to see this velomobile revived! Any new updates?