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The grind

September 17, 2010
tags: , ,

I’ve been doing a lot more work. Clearly this is a good thing, but it makes for less interesting posts, or for a complete lack of them all together. Apologies.

I have still been commuting by bike though: to the library, to my taiko classes, painting, and of course, social calls.

But I have a bit of a gripe. I’ve been (procrastinating and) reading a lot of bike blogs by other girls who are clearly much more together than I am. They offer great advice on things like how to gear up for rain etc. But as I got soaked to the skin yesterday I thought, “surely dressing for the rain takes some kind of advanced meteorological knowledge that it WILL rain, and surely cycling in the rain they are talking about is not this pellet size assault rain that comes down here.” The rain drenches everything in sight in seconds, and then keeps coming in sheet after sheet of aggression. It’s loud, mean, angry rain.

I don’t mind so much getting wet; it’s reasonably warm here still so it’s not the miserable wet of Vancouver rain which soaks you with its persistence, but not usually its aggression. But it is a problem for me that I am traipsing around town with my much adored (and financially and content irreplaceable) mac in tow.  Oh, yes, I do have backup, but it’s also often in my bag. I have larger backup in other places but it’s a bit out of date. (yes, yes, mental note to self: update backup.)

I have a fabulous dollar store vinyl basket cover that keeps it mostly dry. I’m even a little bit prepared in that I keep the basket cover in a little bag on my bike at all times. But I can’t possibly keep a raincoat on my bike too can I? Or can I?

And I’m facing a bit of disillusionment (also brought on by reading other people’s blogs) about how heavy my bike is. At 20kg I realized that I’m adding a lot of extra work to my rides. It’s fine for say, here to Shinjuku (about 5km) but the ride home from taiko (10km) is killer. I have yet to find a route that works. The shortest route is full of steep climbs. I’m fairly convinced they were all uphills too, as I don’t remember going down hill at all. The route I took last night was much flatter, but I also ended up way off course in a part of Tokyo that looked nothing like Tokyo but rather like an industrial park, which is no fun at midnight. I admit fully, I probably shouldn’t try to ride home a new route after stopping in at the bicycle bar next to taiko for a salty dog as it complicates things considerably, and saps my energy for the ride. But how can I not stop in? It’s a bicycle bar; bike shop by day, casual bar from 9pm–right when I finish taiko! Clearly, this is out of my control.

But the point. yes. the point. So, heavy, but lovely Mabel. And it’s not her fault. I add pounds to her to make it worse. Yesterday I could barely lift the load that was in my basket as I made the rounds of the library and taiko. I praised her for her handle bar locks and her wide kick stand, both of which prevent her from flipping over from the load when I park. But Mabel is a big girl.

Yesterday I stopped by FIG bikes, closer than ever to buying the bruno 20 inch mixte, but alas, they were closed. If I had a light 10kg bike, I could FLY home from Thursday taiko. I could whip up the hills, and race through industrial wasteland. But that does raise the question, where would my heavy bag go? Cause I’m not wearing it on my back. No way. Maybe I need a trailer….

Train fare saved yesterday: 1040

Distance pedalled: 22km

oh, and if you were wondering, yes, my calfs are killing me.

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