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Friday, August 04, 2006

Observations Friday 

Venturing off of my so-far typical path from Hawley-Green to the SU/ESF campus, I headed east first to the Syracuse Real Foods Co-op on Kensington. Getting there I veered off of Euclid Ave. as soon as possible due to the fact I've heard a number of "hit cyclist" stories about that area since getting to Syracuse. Realistically, it is a fairly wide road, with numerous stop signs and stop lights, that is probably fairly safe and just given a bad name due to the higher number of college student riders that use that street. The other fact is that it is a major thoroughfare for going between the university hill area and eastern suburbs of Syrauce, without having to get on Rt 690.

My other reason is just that I wanted to explore a little, I had driven down Euclid numerous times, and I wanted to get a lay of the land of its outskirts. So I turned south and headed up Berkely Dr. to Broad St. through quaint residential neighborhoods with little traffic and wide vegetated medians between opposing traffic flow through a few blocks of travel. One downside for some people may be the steady 3-block climb to get to Broad, pick your poison I guess, but you can't get away with never climbing a hill while on your bike.

From Broad it's an easy left turn up Miles Ave. to the co-op. I parked my bike in front and hooked up to the bike rack which although functional, could use a boost of protein powder from the health section. This skinny as a rail rack was also literally hanging from the the storefront where it was connected with a grand ole steel chain, and loping unbalanced along the sloped sidewalk. Like I said, functional is the best place I can go here.

I enjoyed shopping the co-op as always when I decide to splurge for some great food items. I got some cracked wheat bread, a gunch of spices for making soysage at home, bulk goods including granola, cous-cous, nutritional yeast, and falafel mix; then I really splurged by buying some meatless Italian sausages, some frozen organic blueberries for smoothies to go with the .29 cent/lb past-ripe organic bananas I picked up, and finished my traipse with a rice dream vanilla nutty bar to eat on my ride out.

From there it was a few side streets to hit Euclid briefly then turn down Westcott to the Petit Branch library off of Westcott on Victoria Place. This is the library branch most accessible to us location and hours-wise. We sometimes drop items off for return at the Northeastern Community Center satellite location on Hawley, but they have no selection for just browsing as Petit does for us. The bike rack here is larger to accomodate a good 10 or so rides if necessary, and located on a large expanse of flat and wide sidewalk right next to the entryway. Today I was picking up some DVD reserves including AEonflux, Ocean's Twelve, Dogtown and Z-boys, and the weather man, as well as a Calexico cd. We defenitely use the library more for CDs and DVDs these days than for books.

Mostly, traffic was friendly. Suprisingly, some joker starting honking at me as I was travelling downhill on a single lane road going at least 25 mph through a residential area, where they wouldn't have been able to go much faster. I probably held them up by about 10 seconds overall and they really had to try to pass me which they did just feet from where they then turned off onto a side street. The rest of the ride home then fell in with my normal route and I was on totally familiar and comfortable territory.

I saw one other biker today, on my way out, and they were riding for exercise and riding sake, not for commuting purposes. No other bikers were present at the co-op or the library. A handful of bikes were parked on campus, but it's summer and those numbers will hike up steeply once the fall semester starts.


I am really enjoying your blog so far.. i love stories about rides and the common bond bikes feel no matter where the ride. i've just started commuting to work by bike and i love it.. the hardest part is finding a good way to deal with rain..

so i see you use mountain bikes to commute.. do you like them better then the road/touring bikes? and what tires are you using? i use a specialized hardrock.. and i personally like riding it more then the road bike/commuter rigs..

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