Tuesday, March 16, 2010

T-shirt weather!

Spring is here! Spring is here! 
Life is skittles and life is beer...
I think the loveliest time of the year is the spring!
I do! Don't you? Of course you do!

Yes, today I rode home in a T-shirt, with my jacket and hoodie joyously stuffed into my pannier! Sure, it's been warmish lately, but this was the first day that really felt springlike. The first day that I could really open out the speed without worrying about patches of dirty, leftover ice. And it had an odd effect on me. I was taking the long way home through the business core of downtown, in order to do some postering for the Festival. (Ottawa has 'officially-sanctioned' poster collars around designated light standards in the downtown core, and postering on anything but these poster collars is a bylaw violation. Which means you have to trundle down a block and a half or so between poster spaces. A pain in the ass when you have to walk it with a bag full of posters and packing tape slung over your arm: more or less fun when you've got a bike.)

I became what I would normally consider Not A Good Little Cyclist... It was the necessity for jumping up onto the sidewalks to get at the poster collars, the need to prop the bike up somewhere, then mess about with packing tape and posters, then hop back on and roll a block or so, jumping the curb into the street when there was a clear patch in the traffic, both motorized and pedestrian. The sidewalks were crowded: it was rush hour on one of the first real genuine nice days. And between the wonderful weather, the feeling you can get when you're postering - that you're a part of the life of the city, essentially - and the crowds on the sidewalks, I really started ducking and weaving. At one point I jumped off the curb and into the street and I swear I actually caught a little air, landed with both tires, and swung off down the street.

There was the one moment when I went to swing my leg over the bike and accidentally kicked someone. I noticed my foot brushing something, and I turned around to see a shortish, white-haired man in a suit with a briefcase, looking irritated, and kicking my back tire with an air of taking vengeance. I apologized. "I didn't even see you!" I said, and he grumbled, "Kick me in the balls, I kick your tire." I said I was sorry again and repeated that I totally hadn't seen him, and he mumbled something else about, "Well, it was just instinct." And I hopped on the bike, and leapt back off the sidewalk onto the street. Hard to dwell on it when it's such a nice day, and I think he thought so too.

Normally I'm far more vehicular than this: I stay off the sidewalks and I try to use the intersections properly and wait for traffic like a Good Little Cyclist. But it was spring, and I was putting up posters downtown in the sunshine, and I had a roll of tape, and I was in a T-shirt on my bike for the first time in maybe six months.

I think it's about time for that spring tuneup. The front derailleur hasn't shifted to the largest gear since last fall, anyway. And now that the weather's getting better, I'm going to want those gears working so I can get some speed up! Spring is here! Life is skittles and life is beer.

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