Bike ‘Shrooms

23 09 2010

Something different has been popping up near the new student residences on campus.

Mushroom-like hanging bike rack.

My initial response was “that’s so awesome!”

I told a friend about it who demanded we head out on a night time mission to investigate this new species of bike rack. The first thing we did was try to put my bike up in it, and the second thing we did was determine that there was no way we could mount my bike, or any bike with front fenders, onto the wheel holders. These racks weren’t looking so well thought out, after all. Our interest piqued, we set out to do more investigating.

Unassembled bike mushrooms.

There were more bike mushrooms, some assembled, some not yet, at least 6 in all. We did not find any other types of bike racks in the new development (hopefully there’s some on the way).

My companion demonstrates the structural integrity of bike mushroom caps.

I found the tops of these to be the most visually striking aspect of the new racks, but they won’t be visible from ground level once they are installed. The design also doesn’t allow for securing the wheel and frame with a single U-lock, even though it looked like it would be really difficult for a thief to detach a wheel, which was one of the few positives. I appreciate the idea of a sheltered bike rack very much, but when I checked back at the rack on a rainy, blustery day, I found wet seats. Rain never falls vertically in this town, and I consider fenders to be a necessity at times. I’m not even going to get into how much of a pain it can be to lift bikes into hangers every day. If these are the only bike racks going up, it will be a huge disappointment for a supposedly green development.

Anyway, remember to lock your bikes up properly, everyone. Don’t end up like Bruce.

And watch out for your fellow cyclists, too.

Things I’ll Miss about Winter Cycling

4 03 2010

Even though this winter in Edmonton started late and seems to be letting up early (though mark my words, winter isn’t done with us yet), everybody I talk to has had enough of the old man. And while I’m also fed up with wearing 6 layers of clothes every time I walk out the door, I’d rather skip the messy streets that freeze anew every night, the melting snow that reveals an entire season worth of garbage and dog shit and the mass exodus of domesticated humans loitering confusedly as they become re-accustomed to sun, exercise and fresh air.

So, here’s some stuff I’ll miss about winter:

  • The sound of packed snow creaking under studded tires.
  • Riding across the High Level Bridge at full speed with hardly anyone in the way.
  • People thinking I’m hardcore and bad ass just because I ride.
  • Not getting stuck behind slow cyclists (because in winter, everybody who’s riding is in a hurry to get out of the cold and everybody’s in great shape from powering through the snow).
  • Extreme bicycle parking.

Extreme bicycle parking.

  • Not having to dodge the “Soldiers of Fitness” on the bike paths.
  • Less dogs in the parks and the bike paths, and the ones that are there tend to be better tempered because they have more responsible owners who don’t just exercise them when the weather’s good.
  • Days that are too cold for puddles or slush.
  • Drivers all have their windows up so I can’t hear their crappy music or listen to them swear at me.
  • No road rash thanks to layers upon layers of clothes acting as padding and soft snow to cushion falls.
  • Puddle photography (thanks to Dottie at Let’s Go Ride a Bike for inspiration on this one).

Reflecting on a change of season...

Now, it’s time to dust off my lovely cruiser, which has been sitting idle all winter, to take her for a spin.