It was probably an ideal day to take the new Priority Continuum (I have named it Idris) to the office. Drizzly, a little above freezing, with balls of slushy snow in the bike lanes. The sort of thing I imagine this bike was designed for.
Thursday, November 23, 2023
Tuesday, November 21, 2023
So. . . my new bike arrived today. And I got to assemble it this evening. Say hi to Idris.
Friday, November 17, 2023
Well, I know a little more about the theft now. It looks like my bike, and one other, were taken by three teenagers, literally less than an hour after I left it in the room. They were caught on camera getting into the elevators (I don't know if it was the elevators for my building or the one next door - the garage is shared). That means if they didn't ship the bike off somewhere, it might actually still be in the building, or the one next door.
I'm heartened that at least the landlord did check the video surveillance, and have sent the video to the police. I just emailed them to let them know the report number, so the cops can connect the video to my report. And the landlord has now installed a security camera in the bike room, which is also encouraging.
But it also is not a good feeling that these were dumbass kids. Are they stealing bikes for some kind of ring? That's shitty. Are they just stealing bikes for the lulz? That's also shitty. If it's just them messing around, I don't want to bring the cops down on them but also I want them not to steal bikes just because they're shitty teens. If they're stealing bikes for a ring, I want them to get the hell out of that now (and also I can be pretty sure my bike's already been broken down in Montreal).
It sucks all around. At least we're getting better security in the bike room out of it.
I suppose it was inevitable?
About two weeks ago, I headed down to the bike room in my building to grab my bike and head to my Saturday martial arts class. I got to the room and there was someone in there getting her bike out as well. I stopped. Looked around. Assuming she'd moved my bike to get at hers, I checked all the nearby bikes.
"My bike's not here," I said, staring around. I know I had that look on my face, the one everyone has when what they expected to see just isn't there. I saw it on someone's face in the bike cage at work, when he came out, panniers in hand, and then stopped, just like I had, looking all around him in a search pattern.
"Someone stole my fucking bike," I said finally, although I was still looking for it as though it would just appear.
But I was going to be late for class, so I went back outside and got in my car. Between having to drive and the fact that Carleton University was holding Convocation that day and the parking lot was crammed, I was feeling pretty damn combative by the time I made it to the Combatives Room.
Got home and reported the theft to the police and to Project 529, and to the landlord. And to Ottawa Bike Twitter. And I went down to the bike room with a sign for the door warning other users that my bike had been stolen and telling the thief - who I figure had to have been someone with a key, and therefore another resident - that if they just put the bike back, I'd cancel the police report. But so far, nothing.
Sure, I might still get the bike back through Project 529 or the cops, or the person who took it might put it back.
People ask if I had it locked up in the room, and my answer is, I thought that a locked bike room in a locked garage in my own apartment building might - possibly - be secure enough. Not a mistake I'm going to make again. The room does not have any racks, so the only way to secure your bike is to lock the wheel to the frame and hope that's enough of a deterrent.
I've asked the landlord if there are any plans to install racks. I don't expect much, though.
However - since I need a winter bike and Long John will NOT work in bad weather conditions. . . I've bitten the bullet and ordered a Priority Continuum Onyx, a bike I've wanted for literally years. It's getting delivered sometime in the next few days. There will be reviews! And I will be locking it the hell up, no matter where it is.
Monday, October 16, 2023
There was a good old-fashioned ratio on the thing that used to be Twitter today. The Richmond RCMP decided to go out with a fall PSA on pedestrian safety. In the fall, crashes involving pedestrians tick up a little as it gets darker, and inevitably you wind up watching something like this.
Girl heads out, in a black hoodie. She pops in her AirPods, flips up her hood. She hits the beg button at the crosswalk and when she gets the signal and the flashing lights she starts to cross. Meanwhile, a driver gets a text notification or a call or something, so he picks his phone up from the cupholder and starts to respond, ignoring the road. Screech of tires. The two look at each other in shock. The driver puts his phone back into the cupholder. The girl removes her earbuds. Fade out: "Pedestrian safety is a two way street."
Twitter's response? Cordially: oh fuck off, Richmond RCMP.
What this PSA showed was a person going for a walk, in broad daylight, pressing the crossing button, waiting for the flashing lights at the pedestrian crossing, then crossing the street - and a person driving a car while trying to answer a text message. One of these things is illegal.
The PSA frames them as equivalent. Two-way street. Sure, that driver shouldn't have answered the phone. But she was walking with headphones in!
They got rightly dragged. I participated in some of the dragging.
I am probably preaching to the choir on this blog, but if we are living in a world where no one can listen to music while they walk (while drivers cruise along in a soundproofed box that doubles as a stereo sound system), then we are also in a world where no person with hearing loss should be permitted to walk around unattended, and what about blind people? If we're saying you have to wear a high-visibility vest, be on high alert, and also be able-bodied to. . . walk. . . then we truly have ceded our public spaces to the automobile.
In general, even if they've got headphones on, pedestrians and cyclists are more aware of the environment than drivers, because they're not in a sound-dampened, climate-controlled, windproofed roll cage. The burden of responsibility should always be on the person who is capable of the most damage. The one behind the wheel of the large, heavy, fast-moving vehicle. And if you're going to say that there's a shared responsibility, maybe don't draw an equivalence between wearing headphones and a hoodie to go for a walk, and operating a vehicle while focusing on your phone.
In response to getting righteously pilloried, the Richmond RCMP responded, in part:
"Every year we put out a media release on pedestrian safety, roughly at this time of year. We offer tips for sharing the road for both the pedestrian/cyclist and the motorist.
This year, is the first year we decided to make a video. The video was conceived in-house and a student with a gift for film, graciously donated his time and his skillset. The people in the video were volunteers.
This was a positive experience for us, but the response to it has been extremely disheartening. The purpose is of the video is to reduce harm, save, lives, and create awareness. Full stop. Nothing more an certainly, nothing less. The video is not about X being more right than Y. That is not it's purpose.
We have investigated many, many pedestrian and cyclist collisions throughout the years. They can be gruesome. They can take their toll mentally on everyone involved. Many of them are entirely preventable."
WAY to double down.
It's not about X being more right than Y? Yeah, except one of those things is against the law and can result in your killing other people, and the other of those things is listening to music while you walk.
Your student filmmaker went along with the message and did his best to get it across? He did a good job, it's not a bad little piece of video. But from the start to the finish it is based in an assumption that pedestrians are asking to be injured or killed if they don't head out on that walk prepped for a high-risk undertaking. And you are the police force that will be responding to that crash scene and asking, "so, was the victim wearing dark clothes, or earbuds?"
And that. . . that is why we're dragging you. We're begging you to see it.
Thursday, August 17, 2023
All summer, I get a weekly farm share pickup about 5 or 6 km from me. For the first half of the summer I can usually manage with a backpack, but once we get into August they start putting melons and potatoes and big heads of broccoli into the box, and I stop being able to make it all fit in my backpack. Also, if I want to pick up bulky things from the grocery store like cat food or toilet paper, I have been needing to take the car because I didn't have room in the backpack. So - I decided it was time to get a trailer.
First impressions are good - but then, like I said, I've been looking at this particular piece of gear for a while online. This thing seems super easy to use and very easy to attach, collapse, and adapt. The trailer folds down to about the size of a small wheelie bag, if you take the wheels off - and it's easy to get the wheels on and off the axle. Once it's off the hitch it transforms into a shopping cart, basically: something you can tow around the store with you. It comes with a storage bag, which is cool. And it has a kickstand, so it stands up vertically when it's not attached to the bike.
The hitch arm and upper section fold down with a turn of the yellow handle, and due to some kind of wizardry, turning the handle almost automates the folding action - it's surprisingly easy to manage with one hand and very little strength. No "pushing in a little button while you twist something else." This seems like it would be pretty simple to use even if you had problems like arthritis or hand pain.
The market bag is a 40L tote that attaches with four anchor points to the frame of the trailer. It came with some tiedown straps that I haven't tried out yet, but which I stashed inside the bag in case I do need them, and it has an outside pocket where you could put some small things.
You know I had to take it out for a spin this afternoon, so I decided to do some quaxing (does anyone still say "quaxing?"). I went out to the South Keys shopping centre to hit Bulk Barn and the grocery store. Barely noticed I was towing it (and although for the first little while I kept being really conscious of flexposts and curbs and things like that, I think that in fact it's no wider than I myself am, so it never caught on anything).
|Locked up next to one of its cargo-hauling cousins at the store.|
At the shopping centre, I ran the cable through the trailer frame, my back wheel, and the bike frame to lock it up, took the market bag off, and went into the shops with it. Then I hooked the bag back onto the trailer and headed back home with a stop at my corner store for some lemons and hummus: this time I took the whole trailer off, folded down the hitch arm, and used it like a granny cart in the store.
Back home at the bike room, I popped the trailer off, stashed my bike, and headed up to my apartment. Folded the whole thing down and stuck it in the closet. I'm happy enough with this purchase that I went ahead and bought the upper market bag too, which holds 22L and has a buckle-down top on it.
I think that before, when I was doing most of my grocery shopping on the way back from work, and didn't go on a lot of specifically "hauling" trips, this gadget would have made less sense. Now that I work from home a lot of the time, I think it might really help me ride more, drive less, and generally carry more shit.
I think I might name it Hopalong.
Wednesday, July 26, 2023
I was on my way to the office yesterday when I was nearly right hooked at an intersection designed to avoid right hooks. And I hate to say that it might partly have been the infrastructure put there to prevent just that from happening that contributed in this case. . . but mostly I'm going to put the blame on inattentional blindness.
|Dynes and Fisher, with the protected intersection |
I decided to use the cycle track. The pickup was behind another car which was signaling a left turn: I figured if I used the cycle track, I'd be on my way through the intersection before the pickup got there and I would be more visible to the driver.
So this is how that played out.