This past Saturday found me riding downtown to hang out in the bookstore. (hot and cold drinks, breakfast, baked treats, WiFi – tough to find a better place to catch up on the week’s emails and the little tasks they bring)
I took my usual route from the trail head at Holiday and Munson on the TART Trail. However, instead of jumping off at Hastings St to get to work, I continued west past “Jupiter Park”.
I had a close call where the trail crosses Garfield St at Hannah drive. The route uses the crosswalk at the stoplight there. I stopped for the cute little trail stop sign, saw that the cars on Garfield had a red light, and proceeded. Of course, as soon as I entered the street the light changed to green. Of the two lanes of southbound traffic, the driver in the first lane saw me and waited, but the right lane guy just gunned it. It took a hard squeeze of the brakes and a little skidding not to hit his car. A dude walking east on the trail said “That was a close one!” It sure was!
I left the trail at Front St to get downtown. There is a bike lane painted on the right side of the street throughout the business district. I appreciate the effort, but I’m not comfortable riding in it because of the risk of being doored. Also, the lane is interrupted by traffic calming features that squeeze the road at marked pedestrian crossings. The curbs and signs help drivers be aware of the crossings, but they also make it difficult for cyclists. We would be better off with no lane and sharrows, but those bring their own problems as riders unfamiliar with them tend to use the sidewalks instead. On Front St. I prefer to take the traffic lane and avoid the bike lane.
Anyway, there is ample bike rack space both in front of Horizon Books and across the street. I grabbed a Wild Bill’s Root Beer and a ginger cookie, and settled into the outdoor seating to get my work done and people watch.
A gentleman arrived shortly after and stood in front of the bookstore selling a magazine reportedly written by homeless people. It wasn’t long before he and a guy sitting at one of the other tables began to discuss their prison experiences. The magazine seller then moved on to another site.
After about an hour my wife called to see if I wanted to join her at the Farmer’s Market. It’s only a couple of blocks away, so I rode over. The market was bustling with vendors and customers, so bike parking was in short supply. After I found a pole to use, I found out about the bicycle valet service provided by the local bike club. They have a small corral setup where your bike can be safely parked while you shop. Nice deal.
After cruising the market and tipping the buskers (highlight was a young lady playing Irish jigs on a flute), I headed back home. One driver on 8th St tried pass me, but then slowly veered right before clearing my front wheel. Let’s be careful out there, folks!
All-in-all, a great day for a ride!