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Posts Tagged ‘bike’

Ladies, do you ever look around at the crazy world we live in and think, “My god, I wish I were a man!”?

I know, we all enjoy having the freedom to express ourselves through fashion (within the bounds of femininity, of course), and we love the bonds we create with our families from doing the majority of the mental, physical, and emotional work to connect with them, and who DOESN’T enjoy having random strangers chat them up in elevators, living in a rape culture, or having to have a yearly I-hate-my-body exam to check for a vaccine-preventable form of cancer?

But even with all these advantages, the burden of maintaining a spotless home, perfectly groomed appearance, and happy, conciliating manner in the face of a hostile world – all on 78% of what a man earns! – can wear one down a little.  So, ladies, here is something we can all be grateful for:

If you are a woman and your feet slip off of your bicycle pedals, causing you to fall forward and smash your groin area into the frame, you will not enjoy it very much, but you will not suffer anywhere near as much as a man would.

(Yes, this happened to me today.  I sustained minor injuries to the aforementioned groinal area, right knee, and dignity, but I stayed upright and did NOT collapse in agony into oncoming traffic.)

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Drivers.

Drivers like Scott Latimer, that is.

Mr. Latimer is afraid that he’ll hit a cyclist and then he’ll totally feel like a jerk:

I am afraid of them because I do not want to be the driver who collides with a cyclist who suddenly appears where he is least expected.

He’d prefer that bicycles disappear from traffic:

I would be for bicycling in dedicated bike lanes, or bicycling in any context that is safe and accessible and doesn’t force cyclists to imperil themselves riding in heavy traffic. Bicyclists have the right to bike safely and properly, but motorists also have the right to drive without constantly worrying about when a cyclist might suddenly appear, speeding along without (shudder) a helmet.

Because if he or another person driver hit a cyclist, how awful would THAT be?

In fairness, the article raises good points about bad cyclists.  The city is full of shitty bikers out there that ride on the sidewalk unnecessarily, who don’t signal or stop appropriately, or do dumb things like talk on their phones or carry 19-foot ladders on their bikes.

The city is also full of shitty drivers who reverse straight at cyclists because they’ve gone too far and god forbid they park 15 feet farther than they meant to and walk back.  It’s full of assholes who don’t stop at crosswalks, talk and text while driving, open doors without looking, run red lights, cut cyclists and pedestrians off at intersections by turning right ahead of them, and in general run roughshod over the rights of others.

While neither of those things are good, they have different consequences: Bad cyclists piss drivers (and other cyclists and pedestrians) off and put themselves* in danger. Bad drivers FUCKING KILL PEOPLE.  Yet Latimer puts the feelings of motorists on par with the lives of cyclists.

Let me state that again: Cycling scares this guy because it puts cyclists in danger of death and motorists in danger of feeling bad.  That is ten million kinds of effed up.

I don’t particularly want to scare Mr. Latimer or make him feel bad, but I strongly suggest that he…

CHECK HIS PRIVILEGE.

And then he can bite me.

*Mostly. Very occasionally someone gets hurt when a bicycle hits them. Nothing like the number that get hit by cars, though.

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Ben has begun his cross-Canada biking adventure. I have begun my “get house ready for people renting is while I’m away” adventure. Not quite so much fun.

Anyway, Ben has been sending me periodic text messages. They’re very sweet, because he’s never texted before (he didn’t have a cellphone before last Friday, when I got him one), so they’re poorly spelt in an entirely endearing way, like:

its nice heare and i made a big fire gning to sleep now ill text xyou tommorrow lots now that i jnow how

Or:

Owen sound geading tno wairton love ben

The lack of commas also makes them sound like he’s shouting them drunkenly from far away for some reason. I do miss him.

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Let’s do those in reverse order. The first review of the Torture Memos album:

The Torture Memos – The Parkdale Revolutionary Orchestra (www.parkdalerevolutionaryorchestra.com): Composer Ben Mueller-Heaslip uses texts drawn from the writings of John Yoo and his colleagues at the Office of Legal Counsel for the George W. Bush administration for this unusual song cycle. The stark orchestration includes saxophone, violin, cello, bass and drum kit to accompany the declamatory vocals of soprano Kristin Mueller-Heaslip. The result is very effective but hard to define or categorize. The composer sites Schubert, Philip Glass and David Byrne among his influences and the music is as eclectic as might be expected from such diverse roots. Concert note: The Parkdale Revolutionary Orchestra launches “The Torture Memos” at The Tranzac Club on December 11.

And now the bad karma!

Last night it started to rain just as I was leaving my second-last lesson. I hadn’t worn my waterproof outerwear (more accurately, waterproof pants and somewhat water-resistant jacket) because, when I left the house, it was a gorgeous if cool day without a cloud in the sky.

After saying a small prayer to the weather god for the rain to stop before the last lesson was over, I went about my business. Unfortunately the weather god failed to respond. I’m guessing this is because s/he doesn’t exist, but it might have been my failure to sacrifice a goat. So, rather ruining my wool coat and nice pants with 35 minutes of rain biking, I took the subway home.

If you are unfamiliar with the Toronto subway and are thinking that it’s something like the London Underground or the New York subway, let me disabuse you of that notion. As far as the actual trains go it’s great. They work, they’re clean-ish, they come pretty often, and there really ought to be about eight more lines but for the area they cover they’re just fine.

The money-taking part of the system, however, is kind of a mess. Unlike, say, New York or London, you don’t get a fare card from a machine. You can either:
– pay cash (about to go up to a nauseating $3/ride)
– buy tickets/tokens (varying discounts)
– get a day pass ($9)
– get a monthly pass (no clue, haven’t had one in eight years)
– I think there are weekly passes too, but have never bought one.

So, because the fares are about to go up AGAIN people were hoarding tokens. The last time I tried to buy some they were out, so I ended up just using cash. Thus when I got to the subway station last night I had no tokens or tickets, just a $5 bill that I needed to break to get on and get home.

Except there was no ticket collector.

The little booth was empty. And, unlike some stations, this particular one didn’t have an automatic token machine.

I waited a few minutes, shrugged my shoulders, took my bike through the gate and went to the train platform. And of course, since I got on the train for free, the ride home was miserable. At the station where I changed trains I couldn’t find the elevator, then was crowded out of getting on one train by the assholes around me, then had an old lady yell at me for having the nerve to want to get off the train when I did get to my station, because apparently some people never went to kindergarten.

On a plus note, I found an awesome squid hat pattern and made a prototype squid headdress that will be PERFECT. Anyone want to come over this weekend and help with the squidifacturing?

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Complaining with Kay returns – there WAS an episode 35, but it was too heavy and I decided not to release it. In this episode:

– OW MY LEGS
– He’s a Machiavellian long-haired hot sauce salesman
– I said “That sucks” to a child and they were vaguely shocked
– Nerds of a feather flock together.

Or, in other words, I discuss the new lifestyle of cycling across town to work three days a week, and review the film “King of Kong: Fistful of quarters”.

Link.

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I am waiting for a major piece of news which I should get before 8 PM. I’m not telling what it is, though those of you who are my Twitter or Facebook friends know already, but I still feel it would jinx things (yeah, I know) to write about it before it’s confirmed. That’s why I haven’t been posting much lately.

So here are some other things that have happened lately:

– I found a mouse in the garbage can. The next day I bought a better garbage can.

– I started working at my fall schedule again and found out that this “work” thing is really tiring.  I’m at 85% booked and at the end of the night I feel like I’m going to die.

– Madeline ate a square of chocolate (plus some of its wrapper).  Not enough to hurt her, but enough to make her go nuts for a day or two.  I think she bit Gus in the face.

– I am now riding Frankenbike: Mark 2.  It’s not really a Frankenbike – it has all its moving parts, only the wheels had to be replaced.  It is infinitely better than Frankenbike Mark 1, which has been disassembled and its parts subsumed into the Borg collective of bicycles that is our back porch.  Frankenbike the 2nd is fast.

– I bought a decent pair of headphones.  They have made me a stereotypically rude Ipod user, since now I can’t hear anything anyone says to me when I’m wearing them.

– I didn’t practice for a week due to the horrific ragweed allergies.  I switched antihistamines and started practicing again today.  Not practicing for a week probably improved things more than practicing for a week would have.  Weird.

– I am not the only one affected by the massive ragweeds. THEY ARE EVERYWHERE.  Seriously, do you live in Southern or Central Ontario and feel like you’ve had a horrible cold for the past three weeks?  Have you developed asthma recently?  Do you wake up in the middle of the night and sneeze twenty times in a row?  Then you have ragweed allergies.  DEATH TO RAGWEED.

– I failed in my summer plan to create an Iphone app.

– I now own a Tshirt with the young Tammy Faye Baker silkscreened onto it.  (Thanks, Jen!)

– Steel wool and CLR.

– The vegetarian thing is going OK.  I ate a pig’s worth of meat at my parents’ last weekend, but that was always part of the plan.  I am becoming more inventive in my use of beans.

The Madeline-biting-Gus thing worries me, since we’ve trained him not to be aggressive, he is getting lazier and lazier, and she is getting – frankly – kind of bitchy as she gets older.  (She’s almost four, which for a dog is like being in the late twenties or early thirties.)  I don’t want her to bully him.

OK, time to feed the dogs and get on with things.  I will spill the big news when it comes…hopefully soon…

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In response to the sudden and alarming death of my piece of shit over-priced only 1 year old Marin bicycle, the ever-talented Ben has built me a Frankenbike.

Madeline, bike mechanic

Madeline, bike mechanic

It has the frame of one bike, the brakes, handle bars, and wheels of the Marin, and a couple of little parts from an old folding bike that fell apart about a year and a half ago.  (It was an awesome bike, but the thing that holds the handlebars to the frame broke, so the handlebars were completely unstable and you couldn’t put any weight on them.  It was kind of like riding a very scary unicycle.)   It doesn’t have any functioning gears yet – the cables from the Marin were all fucked up, and Ben needs to get some new ones to hook up the derailleurs – but it does have functioning brakes, and no bisections have occured.  Yet.

I have no illusions about this machine; it will, however, get me around until I can get the cash together for an actual, new, good quality bike.  Well done Ben.

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