Bicycling in New Wye

As the proud owner of a new bicycle for almost a whole entire week now, I feel inclined to comment on the state of bicycling in New Wye. For those of you who either know me in person, have been to my town, or even know generally in which of the 50 states I live, you may be surprised to learn that New Wye prides itself on being a forward-thinking bicyclists’ paradise.  I know I was shocked when I read that we had won some type of award for our bike-friendly ways.  I threw up a silent, internal cheer as I downloaded the map of the city highlighted with all our various bicycle routes.  All, like, four of them.

We have a couple of bike trails that are isolated one-mile stretches connected to nothing, and we have maybe three or four streets that, also for one-mile stretches, have bicycle lanes.  That’s it.  That’s our forward-thinking bicyclists’ paradise.  The majority of the pamphlet I downloaded turned out to be a treatise on Why it is Bad to Cycle on the Sidewalk and Why, Therefore, Fines Would Be Imposed for Doing So.

As a Zemblan in spirit (if no longer in zip code), I am accustomed to towns with bike lanes on almost every street and networks of off-street trails winding and weaving throughout the city and surrounding area.  Bicycling in New Wye, then, is going to take some getting used to.

My very first trip involved a ride home from the downtown bike shop where I had just purchased my sweet ride, and would you believe I got honked/yelled at twice on this short journey alone?  It appeared that an approximately 10-year old boy and his dad wanted me to “GO BACK HOME.”  How kind of them to wish me well and how well I wished I could comply.  SADLY NO. I LIVE HERE NOW, JERKBURGERS.

Ahem.

At any rate, I am getting used to the ways of the street here, to the grueling survivalist instincts and the helmet hair* and the hills.  I am even getting used to having a “real” saddle for the first time (instead of a “comfort” saddle, which are apparently for weenies).  Most of all I am exploring new parts of my neighborhood, new parts of town, and enjoying the feel of the wind in my hair.  A brutal uphill slog that feels like it’s going in slow motion is made so, so worth it by the feeling or rocketing the fuck down the other side of that goddamned hill like you are the goddamned queen of the worrrrrrrld.

*Can you believe that the whole time I was in Zembla riding drunkenly around town at night while wearing pointy-toed heels that I was not ever wearing a helmet?  Really.  This is the first helmet I have ever owned.

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8 thoughts on “Bicycling in New Wye

  1. Ruby July 13, 2009 / 11:54 am

    My neighbor (and who, along with Clarabella, is our other exerciser in crime) has a lovely daughter who finally learned to ride her bike today. I giggled as she gleefully zipped down the road on her sparkly purple Hannah Montana bike until I realized she wasn’t wearing her helmet!

    I yelled at the top of my lungs, “GO PUT ON YOUR HELMET BEFORE YOUR MOM FINDS OUT,” and then it started to rain.

  2. Barbara July 13, 2009 / 4:13 pm

    We have those kind of bike lanes here too, and this is supposed to be one of your more sophisticated college towns. It’s still the South. My favorite one brings you halfway down a hill, between the bus lane and the traffic, and then ends with a great big “Bike Lane Ends Here” painted on the pavement. And then – teleportation? We pop out at one of those “Bike Lane Begins Here” signs? It’s a mystery.

    Looks like you are spared the helmet lecture. Yes, keep wearing it, especially where there are fun-loving rednecks on the road. And always lock both the wheel and the frame to something solid…

  3. Oedipa July 14, 2009 / 12:31 am

    Sigh. I’ve always wanted to rewrite “The Sun Also Rises” as “The Scum Also Rises”. Why do I bring this up? Because I’m drunk on 4 margaritas and in between jobs and surfing the web at 2:30 in the morning. Well, never mind all that for now…

    Good gracious…where is New Rye anyway? This sounds like a town in New York. But you’re still in [redacted] right?

    You do know that I now have a small, 10 lb dog who might be cuter than your dog? Anyway, I’m out here, lurking about and reading your blog again, just so you know!

    -Oedipa

  4. Alfina the Vague July 14, 2009 / 7:04 am

    R – HA! I was first learning I don’t remember if they even had helmets. I certainly never knew anyone who wore one back then!

    B – Hey, at least you have signage! I don’t think most people in my town even know what that lane is for. Most people park in it, actually.

    O – Oops, margaritas! Good to see you around again!

  5. Steve Atnip July 14, 2009 / 7:23 am

    I’m guessing the rude remarks are due to you having your IQ embroidered on the seat of your pants. Or maybe the only people who wear helmets are “special” and they were directing you because you looked like you didn’t know what to do next.

  6. John July 14, 2009 / 11:00 am

    How did you get off the booze? I tried for awhile, but failed miserably…my current career doesn’t seem to be helping me avoid Grandpa’s Old Elixir, either.

  7. Alexis July 15, 2009 / 4:17 pm

    Friend of mine was bicycling down a street in that Amerikay you’ve got there, and a bloke shouted out his automobile window at her, “Get a car, loser!” This was Iowa. I don’t know if that means anything to you.

  8. Alfina the Vague July 15, 2009 / 7:30 pm

    S – Thanks! I will ride with confidence now!

    J – The job I’ve had for the last 2 years hasn’t really allowed for as much partying as there was in grad school, for one thing. The real difference for me, though, is that I really thought about it and asked myself what all of that was doing for me and the answer was “nothing.” Actually it was less than nothing. It was just plain holding me back. Once I identify something as holding me back I pretty much just refuse to truck with it.

    A – Well, Iowa is quickly becoming a liberal utopia here now that they’re allowing gay marriages, but I guess the real Achilles heel in their progressive development must be cyclist-discrimination.

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