Bike Errands

Last night I turned my regular ride into a series of errands, one of which I could not have done without the kids unless I used my clown car.

Riding during the early evening is a weird time to be out. Traffic has calmed down a bit from rush-hour, but there’s still an awful lot of cars and work vehicles out and about. I run my lights in flashing mode to be safe, but even if I had a thousand lights on my bike, some drivers just never pay attention to hand signals. Forcing cars to yield so I can merge left to make a turn is always an interesting experience.

One errand required going out into the ‘burbs on an eight-lane (non-restricted) federal highway with massive intersections. I actually got a “whoa! kickass!” comment from some teenagers driving their parents’ minivan while waiting to turn left in a double-lane left-turn. I don’t get why some bikers are scared of these huge roads. Yes, the relative speed of car-to-bike is high, but the shoulders are wide, and with the sheer number of lanes, cars have numerous options to go around you. I’d bike on these over a twisty two-lane road any day.

I felt bad getting to OfficeMax right before closing (8PM). I didn’t even realize it until they were lowering the gates while I checked out. I wasn’t the last customer in the store, but I hate when customers make me stay late at my job so I felt bad. That said, the manager got a chuckle when she saw me loading two 10-ream boxes of paper into the trailer. Everything just takes so much longer on the bike, something I’m still adjusting to seven months in. Doing it by bike saved $4 in mileage just that night alone, though.

I’d really like doing a dry run of being a single-car family for a while and see how it goes. It’s harder in the winter, but last winter was so bad we barely went anywhere anyways – and the goblins were fine. This means doing groceries at the far away store alone by bike one evening, or using the local (but more expensive) stores by bike with the kids since they can handle biking short distances. My current trailer should handle a week’s worth of groceries, but I can always build something like this if I need something more cargo-oriented.


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