|My dad sent me this picture: he took it in Fredericton. Seemed appropriate.|
There were a bunch of bikes parked outside the Mercury Lounge, and I walked past one that seemed to have a rear fender (Mike doesn't, which explains the crazy amount of grit splattered over the back of my jacket) and to another streetsign that had three bikes attached to it, locked and tangled. "Wait a sec," I said to the friend I was walking with. "None of those are... Mike's not there..."
I had a terrible sinking moment of fear that the unthinkable had happened, that someone had stolen my bike. And then I walked back over to the one I'd passed, and with relief, realized what I'd seen hadn't been a fender, it was his back rack. It was Mike. As covered in snow as he was, I guess I didn't automatically recognize him.
So, hooray: I unlocked the bike and wheeled him to my friends' car and loaded him in the back, commenting that it was probably a very good thing he hadn't been the bike in the middle of the three attached to the signpost. And then it hit us: as they said on the way to the car, "You know, midnight on Friday night, January 28th, in a snowstorm, and that many bikes parked in the Market... that's pretty good."
Which really struck me. People keep talking about how much Ottawa needs to be made more bike-friendly. But I keep seeing evidence that it already is. It's January. It was a filthy, gritty, slushy day to be out on a bike today. Trust me, I've washed a half cup of road grit and salt off myself and out of my hair today, just from biking across town and back, and down to the Market. It was snowing, at midnight tonight, and about 10 below zero, and yet there were so many bikes parked outside the Mercury Lounge that I had trouble picking mine out of the lineup at first.
Don't try to tell me Ottawa's not a biking town.