My Bianchi is now officially my commuter bike. The pannier rack is bolted on and the pedals have been switched out to these cool double-sided deals for regular shoes on one side and bike shoes on the other. Now, if I could just outfit my house with an elevator so I didn’t have to carry it up and down the front steps, that would be great!
I spent the entire weekend getting where I needed to go on my trusted companion. First thing yesterday morning, I put the old city-friendly tires back on and attempted to adjust the front brake to keep it from rubbing. I should either know how to do it or know not to try my own adjustments by now but of course I ended up with a front brake that would clamp down on the wheel and not release. I realized this after I was racing down the street to catch a BART train to Berkeley. I simply released the front brake and used only the back brake to get downtown. If it had been the opposite way, I would have needed to do something about it right then because using just the front without the back brake can result in unintentional acrobatics over the handlebars. I made it to my train, which was no easy feat considering the many stairs down to the dungeon-like station. I know there’s an elevator somewhere but I couldn’t find the correct entrance and was running too late to explore. This was my first bike-on-BART experience and after last week’s NY Times article about the germs on BART seats I was only too happy to stand beside my bike. I transferred trains and upon arrival in Berkeley promptly exited the wrong way. There were no turnstiles big enough for my bike and me so I slid my card through and attempted to shimmy through, wall on one side, bike gears scraping at the other. All good until the gate closed and half my bike was still stuck behind it. Enter Friendly Biker # 1: He had just lifted his bike over the turnstiles because he knew he wouldn’t fit, so he slid his card through my gate and pushed my bike through the rest of the way when it opened to let him out. Whew! Then more stairs. Where were the elevators??? I made it to Revival Bar just as West Coast Live began filming and my friends from the Eos Ensemble performed the opening music. Breakfast was great and being at the show was really fun! On my way back into BART (again no elevator but a bigger turnstile) everything went smoothly and I found myself in a car next to another biker with long black boxes sticking out of his messenger bag. Enter Friendly Biker # 2: Turns out he’s a men’s tie salesman (with a business card that looks like an S&M add) and also works for monekylectric.com. If I can work out a deal, I’m going to get one of the fancy wheel lights for night commuting. We chatted about bike touring through the San Juan Islands and the Camino Santiago, both places he’s been and I want to go. Maybe next year! Upon arrival at my station, I hunted down and found an elevator- which only got me to station level, not street level, then proceeded to try and re-enter the BART station, thinking I was exiting (why is this so confusing?!). I had to go back around and through, then up another flight of stairs to get outside. I was relieved to be back on the street but found myself surrounded by a St. Patty’s Day parade. Rather than push through the crowd, I took the long route home, stopping at the bike store (where they confirmed that the “adjustment” I’d made was the reason my brake stopped working) and the library. Great way to spend a beautiful, sunny day!
Today the sunshine didn’t wake me up and I was groggy from losing an hour. I got up and pedaled over to the Sunset farmer’s market, where my friend was already shopping for our breakfast. We brought gluten free scones , banana-dulce de leche empanadas & fruit back to her house. She sauteed the fruit in ghee and honey for a delicious treat. (my new favorite breakfast!) By the time I left her house it was raining, but I had already decided that I would bike to all of the open houses I planned to see today. I organized my list of stops then took off in the direction of the panhandle. Two hours, five buffalo, seven houses and ten miles later I was soaked and tired of the hilly city streets. At least part of my ride was through the park so I enjoyed watching the wet tourists snap pictures of the wet buffalo. I didn’t chose the best route back up through the Richmond district and on one occasion had to get off and walk my bike up a steep hill.
All in all, I loved not driving all over the city this weekend and felt so free traveling by bike! It’s pouring now so I’m in for the night…