Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Bikers and Brooklyntweed

I was super excited to get to work this morning and see this:a huge article on the front page of the Duluth News Tribune about my old roommate Sadie and her boyfriend and friend getting citations for "impeding traffic" from the Duluth Police, even though Minnesota state law clearly says that bikers are to ride on the road- not on the sidewalk, not on the shoulder, not even if there's a separate bike lane- bikers must stay to the side of the lane of traffic and follow all traffic laws that cars do. Sadie's group in particular were taking up a little more room, only because they had a trailer hooked to one of the bikes so they could tow donated leftover food from the co-op to a soup kitchen/shelter. It was completely legal, and yet they were stopped by the cop and given citations! It's crap, because for bikers it's the classic situation "damned if you do, damned if you don't" situation. If we go too close to the shoulder, we risk getting doored by someone in a parked car (which happens and hurts). If we go on the sidewalk (besides being illegal), we're always in the way of pedestrians and risk hitting people or kids- it's not worth it. If we go too far into the street we get yelled at and almost hit by cars. There are a good number of cars that give me at least the 3 feet of room they're supposed to, but all it takes is one stupid driver that doesn't care and gets to close. In the battle of Katie on bike vs. Big Metal Heavy Car, Katie loses every time- and in a very bloody and not so nice way.
The classy thing about the article is that it paints the bikers to very much be in the right- but not enough that you don't like them. Which is good, because being a commuter biker is hard enough as is we don't need front page bad press. I'm happy with the article, almost to the point of writing one of those "letters to the editor" thanking the Duluth paper for running a story in favor of the bikers, giving the cars a much-needed "heads up".
In other happier bike news, I did a successful time trial of my bike ride from Barnes and Noble at Miller Hill Mall to UMD- specifically, to the bike park area that I'll be stowing my bike while I'm at class. I left B&N's parking lot at exactly 12:12 pm... and pulled in to the bike park area by the campus doors at 12:33 pm. I couldn't believe it. 21 minute bike ride? It's not all downhill, either- it's a little uphill, a bit downhill, then a lot of flat and a couple of uphills before reaching the edge of campus. I was really psyched. Psyched enough that I took my time, enjoyed, and ran into Yarn Harbor as a special treat.
I got some pretty new yarn:Don't worry, I'm saving it for a Christmas present, and I don't plan on starting that Christmas present till after I'm done with the stupid Dale of Norway.
Let's not talk about that right now.
Instead, we can marvel at this amazing booklet that's found its way into my collection:Brooklyntweed's new collection, Made In Brooklyn. I can't even begin to describe how pretty and amazing his designs are. I'm particularily excited to start the pretty Grove Mittens- I almost don't even care if they're for me or someone else, they're so pretty I just have to knit them on principal.
Don't worry, I didn't start any new projects when I got home. Instead, I worked a couple of lines of the Dale, then pulled my ballet slippers on, warmed up for awhile, and then did this for a good part of the afternoon:Sometimes, you just need to dance. :)

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