Today was warm (high 40s) but wet, with a misty drizzle in the air all day. Yet it looked like the best of the 10 day for a ride. Plus, I had some shopping and errands to run. So, I threw on some biking clothes and tossed my wallet in the pannier, and off I went.
The local maul (as Noah calls it) is not very accessible by anything other than a motor vehicle. All of the entrances are on major highways, and the shoulders on those highways are either in bad shape or non-existent. However, I felt up to the challenge.
I attacked from the south, coming across the south side of Lafayette on Twychenham/Brady/Creasy, and the plan was to take a short jaunt on the US52 shoulder to get to the edge of the mall parking lot. However, two conditions killed that idea. First, the shoulder was buried under the ice and show from the plows earlier in the week. Also, the northbound lanes were backed up as far as I could see for some unknown reason (I found out later that the Interstate had been closed for accident cleanup, and all traffic was being routed through town). Instead, I continued on to SR38. This is a five lane highway with no shoulder, bike path, or sidewalk for a cyclist to use. Time to ‘take the lane’! I had no problem staking my claim to a portion of the concrete until I got to the back entrance for the Payless grocery store. After a little parking lot hopping, I was at the mall.
Like many shopping malls, the Tippecanoe Mall has a ring road that circles the property in the middle of the parking lot, and a curbside lane next to the building. In my car, I prefer the outer ring, but the slower curbside lane felt better for the bike. It took almost a full circuit to find a bike rack. The mall directory inside indicated a second one, but must have missed it on the way by. Mine was the only bike at Entrance A.
After the mall, I went in search of blank CD-R and DVD+R discs. I tried to find a store with a rack in the front.
Best Buy – no rack = NO SALE
Circuit City – no rack = NO SALE
I didn’t feel like fighting the traffic for K-Mart (is that place still open?), so I headed north on Creasy to hit the cable company office to exchange my ailing remote for a fresh one. Apparently, there is a limit to how many times one can drop a remote before it quits working! I had one more store to hit for the discs.
Office Depot – no rack = NO S…
Well, actually, I was tired of fighting my one man battle for bicycle facilities, and they didn’t seem to mind when I parked the Trek in the vestibule between the two sets of automatic doors (even though they opened and closed at least ten times while I removed and secured my helmet and gloves and dug around the pannier for my wallet). Even better, the discs were on sale!
As I pulled out of the shopping center on Creasy to head home, I had the green light, while the opposing red light strained to hold back a sea of motorized traffic, with a semi truck pulling a gravel trailer at the head of the line in the right lane.
Using my best passive-aggressive cycling skills, I grabbed a little more of the lane than usual, riding squarely in the right tire path. My goal was to force the semi into the left lane to pass me, rather than squeezing me into the tree line. However, the driver had other ideas, passing me at what seemed like inches away (although it was probably a few feet). Regardless, I found myself screaming obscenities into the air as he rolled by, and I was worried that he would cut back to the right before the trailer was past me. He didn’t, I lived, and I cussed a little more. Aggression beats passive-aggression every time.
The rest of the ride home was thankfully uneventful. I was damp, muddy, and happy when I pulled into the driveway. The bike got a quick spray from the hose before rolling into the garage.
Miles Ridden: 23.6