Mr Rees Takes the Bike
So today I went to Steveston Bikes to collect my trusty steed. It has been cleaned and serviced and a new rear brake fitted. The tires have been inflated to a pressure I would never attempt manually. They also etched my driver’s license number onto the frame – for free, and I bought what is described as “bicycle pyjamas” but is in fact a large plastic bag to put over it as it has to be stored outside. It has lived in a storage locker for the last 16 months, and had not been used much before that.
I felt that if I was going to write about bikes, and I should get back in the saddle. And indeed, it was a very pleasant afternoon, though I think next time I will spend a bit more time and see if I can find my gloves. I do not wear any special cycling gear, except for the helmet required by law. I am not at all convinced that helmets are necessary. But I do find the data which shows that the more bikes there are the lower the accident rate is very compelling. And we would all be much healthier if there were more bikes and fewer cars.
On my ride today I saw lots of robins, mallards, a bald eagle and a rabbit, not one of which even so much as raised an ear to my passing. The properly maintained bike being almost silent. Which reminds me. I need a new bell. As was remarked yesterday, when you drive through an environment at speed you really don’t care what it looks like. On a bike you have time to appreciate where you are, you are part of it, not looking at it through a window in a steel box. And of course I could stop and look at anything interesting – so I should have brought my camera along too. Fraser Titan is dredging at the bottom of No 5 Road and another one of those huge Honda car carriers was honking for it to get out of the way.
I think $35 for a professional tune up was money well spent, and I would happily recommend Steveston Bicycle & Kayak Shoppe at London Landing. The bakery next door is good too. And as long as the weather is reasonable I intend to be out and about on the bike more often. I might even be able to get into some of my old trousers again before too long.
Oh and one thing I should have mentioned about Richmond’s bike routes. There are no special cycle push buttons at signalised intersections, as there are in Vancouver. On Williams Road there are bike detector loops at the stop line – but the painted dots to show you where to stop have all faded away. For many busy intersections, it is safer to stop and use the pedestrian button than take a chance as many drivers are purblind and incapable of proceeding at any speed near or below the posted limit. But I can report that today several commercial truck drivers took extra care to give me room – which is not something that busy Mums in Hummers or Chevy Subdivisions think about.