Thursday, August 2, 2012

VeloIrvine Just Doesn't Have the Same Ring

Well, few followers, thanks to my best pal, Liz, ABF U-Pack trailers, and a ton of boxes and bubblewrap, the velo and I are safely in Irvine, California where I'll begin as a professor at Irvine Valley College this fall. I should have snapped some pictures of the velomobile all "crated" up, but in the flurry of trying to get things ready for departure a mere five days after an out-of-town wedding, I failed to do a lot of things. Still, the basic process involved removing the nose cone, tailpiece, mirrors, lights, and all wheels. Then I wrapped the body in 100 square feet of bubblewrap, slid that inside a refrigerator box, and Frankensteined the box to be a weird triangle shape. I was actually pretty proud of my work. With the help of some intrepid friends (thanks Jenn, Zack, and Augusto!) we got all of my stuff packed into five feet of space on an ABF trailer (that's packed 9 feet high, 8 wide, and 5 deep).

See, that's the main body of the velo above my head, with the various pieces stacked on top in their own boxes.

After five days of mostly major highways, Liz and I arrived in Irvine. (We left Thursday, July 19 and arrived on Monday the 23rd.)  Liz flew back East on Wednesday, and on Thursday, I finally grew antsy enough to call ABF and say, hey, what's the deal? The trailer arrived that night actually, and the incredible co-chair of the English department at IVC and a history professor who played hostess to my apartment hunting visit, soldiered through putting the stuff on a U-Haul then getting it into my place on Friday. It took till Monday for me to work up the courage (and feel settled enough indoors) to venture down to the garage and unpack the velomobile. I'm happy to report, it suffered no damage during the journey! Huzzah!

So that day I took what was meant to be a very quick trip up a couple of blocks to the homeowners' association (don't worry, I don't actually own property in SoCal--this is an amazing job, but it's not the lottery!). Of course, I thought I should check out a trail or two on the way, so the trip ended up taking a bit longer than planned.

Today, I rode down to campus for the first time. It's just over a mile, and a pretty easy jaunt, though I'm still trying to figure out if it's best to take on-road bike lanes or stick to the bike paths only until I have no choice. When I visited campus police to get a faculty ID made up, everyone rushed out to take pictures. Then I met with the Dean of Languages and Humanities and the same excellent department chair who helped move, and they boggled over the velo too. I also talked to groups of kids, a few curious students, and various others who happened by. Word spreads fast on a small campus, and soon people I'd never met were identifying me with the velo. Give it a month and I'll be a household name around here, apparently.

After campus, I decided to take a trip up to Trader Joe's. Everyone's always raving about the place, so I figured I'd give it a shot. My overall impression was rather meh, especially since they didn't have bike parking, but I did roll along some new trails on the ride home. So, here's the Walnut Trail:
This one seems like it'll be handy as it runs through the center of town and bisects some major roads, but has overpasses so you don't actually have to cross traffic.

There are also plenty of "On-Road Bikeways," which are really decent bike lanes (except for the fact that they rather disappear and turn into right-turn lanes at intersections). Still, no one came even close to hitting me.

This trail follows the waterway that runs through Irvine, and is only a couple of blocks from my house.

And home again, home again, jiggity jig. The car gets parked outside. This garage is just for the velo (well, it's shared with other residents, but this garage parking space is just for the velo).

Tune in next week for more updates (hopefully with posts about farm markets and a visit to the beach, which is my prize once I finally get all of my stuff put away).

1 comment:

  1. I think my cat purse is like my velo. I mean exercise running from dogs, but also it makes people talk to me.