Sunday, March 13, 2011

Just Hanging Out: At the bike shop and the Big Dam Bridge

As forecast, Saturday was a spectacular day in Arkansas! Diane and I headed over to Spokes bike shop to get hooked up with a new helmet and I was glad of the opportunity to get out a see a few friendly humans. I'm sure that Diane is exhausted from caring for me and from hearing me tell the same tale over and over, so she was probably also glad for me to have somebody else to talk to.

While I was in Spokes, the lovely and charming Eboné Monét from KTHV was in the store getting footage for a news segment on what I gathered to be the topic of the growth of cycling in these times of high gas prices, bike commuting and the practical utility of cycling. She interviewed owner Mat Seelinger and ace wrench Kevin Baltz and then, having run out of relevant characters, she turned her attention to the idler sitting at the coffee bar, me. Since I'm still sporting a black eye, some bruising and plenty of road rash, the camera was positioned carefully lest my appearance cause the news segment on cycling to be mistaken for a piece on domestic violence. I'm sure that Mat and Kevin will shine and there is a slight possibility that with artful editing it might be made to appear that I said something sensible. The feature will appear on the 10:00 PM news program on Sunday night. Tune in.

BDB Pedestrian View

By the time I got down to the BDB on Saturday afternoon, most of the serious riders and runners had completed their morning sessions, but the bridge was crowded with the usual casual walkers and riders, skate boarders and family strollers. There was also a pedal-powered ice cream cart manned by a couple of good ol' boys and doing a brisk business.

Everybody loves ice cream! These enterprising fellows had parked at River Mountain Road and pedaled to the BDB. They determined that they would park closer to the action next time! Matt Curry (R) of AKC Party Rentals and Catering was the ramrod of this operation and was actively promoting his business. He specializes in kids' parties with jump houses, a water slide, etc. If you want to "Party Like Big Dawgs for Less", give him a shout. And, no, I didn't even get free ice cream for this pitch!

OK, Matt didn't really let me drive or handle sales, but I did take the opportunity to saddle up.

The ice cream cycle was pretty cool! And "Made In The USA".

Many Central Arkansas riders were racing at various venues or had already finished their rides in the morning hours, but there was still plenty of bike traffic.

This tandem team was operating smoothly. Diane has made it clear that she has no interest in ever being a stoker for a tandem team that includes me as the pilot.

This young dude caught my eye as he flew down the crowded bridge ramp like he was running a slalom course on his BMC road bike. I got some mild satisfaction as he was rewarded by taking his U-turn a little wide at the foot of the bridge, dropping off the edge of the pavement and being dumped unceremoniously into the ditch. He was unscathed except for perhaps a slight ego bruise. I stepped over to have a word with and had to tap him on the shoulder to get his attention so he could pull out an ear bud to hear my unsolicited advice.

There was all sorts of two-wheeling going on. This little guy's hair even looked fast!

I'm eager to get back on the bike, but it is always enlightening to see my usual venue from a different perspective. I think that use of the trail system is going to explode this spring, so lets all keep in mind that we have to share the resource and that there is strength in numbers as more improvements to the system are considered. We are more effective as a large group of trail users than we are as members of squabbling factions of cyclists, walkers and runners.

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