I have had an incredibly long and busy week that has left me exhausted, so all I could muster on my Friday was a ride down to the library to picke up a couple of movies and a book before settling in at the coffee shoppe for some browsing and reading. I rode home up Calvert Street and stopped at Preston to snap a picture of the street signs for a friend whose brother’s name is Preston Calvert–awesome. I took this photo of the street there, because it reminded me of home, those New Orleans streets that are pocked up and showing their brick undergarments, loose gravel everywhere, this time from repaving. I can’t wait for this street to be all shiny new asphalt, like Guilford. I have been here for two months, and I’m already thinking a lot about street surfaces. Oh, and keep your eyes open for that surprisingly deep sinkhole on Maryland just, across North Avenue. Get to know your street surfaces! I pedaled slowly home, hoping to get some rest for an actual ride tomorrow.
I saw lots of things on my sixteen miles of riding about town today, but the most beautiful thing by far was the new patch job on Baronne right before Jackson. It might not look like much in this picture, but that black square? That’s just the edge of a patch that stretches from the curb to about a foot from the center line. And there’s another on the other side. For as long as I can remember, those two holes have been mounded over with loose gravel, an absolute nightmare for a cyclist. I’ve been slowing down and waiting for my turn to ride the center lane at least three times a week for over a year, at least. I won’t have to do that anymore–I can just pedal up the road, right over this smooth patch, until it cracks or starts falling in on itself at the edges, but let’s not borrow trouble. When you ride a bike you end up developing quite a relationship with road surfaces, and I always enjoy seeing mine get that added jolt from surprises like this one.
I ride my bike up and down St. Charles at least four times a week on my commute. I know that ride like I know how to make spicy black beans or how to catch beads at a Mardi Gras parade. I’m always happy to pass that one school on the right because that’s when the asphalt turns smooth. Until you cross Nashville (or is it Jefferson? I know the road surfaces, not their names.), where that pothole turns up. You’ve got to decide: are you going to roll over it? Pedal through? Jog out into the traffic lane a bit to stay on asphalt? But that has gotten harder since the left edge has been falling away. Some weeks ago somebody dumped some loose rocks in the deeper part of the hole to bring it up more even to the rest of the surface, but that just makes it more hazardous to cyclists. I stopped today on my zillionth ride over it to take a picture, and I noticed they’ve painted a square around it. Could that mean it will be fixed soon? I won’t hold my breath. When you ride a bike every day, this is the sort of stuff that lodges in your brain. Good thing I’ve got a thing for details.
A couple lovely days in the Delta and it was time to head back to New Orleans, so I strapped the bike to the back of the car (and yes, I spent the entire ride staring at it in the rear view mirror, pretty sure it was about to fly off–can anyone explain how that flimsy thing can hold anything on my car while I drive 75 down the interstate?), loaded in S. and the dog and the new snazzy Christmas record player, and we were off. Continue reading
It has been too long since a good old fashioned blog about how hard it is to ride a bicycle in New Orleans. Now, don’t get me wrong. I love riding a bicycle here. I do it almost every day, sixty, seventy, eighty miles a week. I ride for exercise and transportation, for fun and for pleasure. Becoming a daily bike rider has been a life-changing experience, and it all happened here in New Orleans. I wouldn’t want it any other way. But these streets suck. Continue reading
You know I love riding my bike around New Orleans. It’s flat as a pancake here and the weather is always perfect for a ride, assuming you don’t mind thunderstorms and 100+ heat indices, which I don’t. But our streets are, in many places, spectacularly awful. We have some repaving projects, some even including facilities for bikes–Chartres, St. Claude, Gentilly, upper St. Charles, La Salle/Simon Bolivar, Loyola–but most streets are a mess of exposed streetcar tracks, potholes, loose gravel, ridges, and all various and sundry temporary patches. Continue reading
I’m having a bit of a front derailleur issue that I haven’t had time to deal with, so the Specialized is getting extra riding time. The bike is quick and nimble and those skinny tires offer such a low rolling resistance it can feel like flying. It most definitely did when I hit the brand spankin’ new asphalt on Loyola. So, so nice! I’ve been cursing the resurfacing there for awhile. Continue reading
It was a beautifully cool night for my ride home up Baronne from the Treme after a lovely evening dog walk (read: chase) at City Park with S. and her handsome but mannerless pitbull. I love these nights when it’s cool enough for a light sweater, even on the bike. S. asked me what route I was going to take, and I told her I didn’t know, but probably Baronne. Continue reading
It is so, so humid here. I know, I know–that’s New Orleans. But really people, it’s crazy humid here lately. When I rode to the coffee shop today it was pouring rain, but then it stopped and the sun came out and the steam was rising. I headed down to the Treme for drinks with friends tonight, and as soon as I pulled the Surly out of my air conditioned apartment my glasses fogged up and my handlebars were wet with condensation. Continue reading
This will be a blog about bikes and the need for proper places to ride. It’s not about New Orleans, rebuilding, broken levees, crumbling infrastructure, music, Mardi Gras, weather, neighborhoods, or anything else. It’s just going to be a rant about biking conditions in this town. Continue reading