Public Notice

This week's Public Notice gets cranky on the bike tip and pedals a worldview geared to a slower pace. Hynuk!


Pedaling Lifestyles

We miss the days of staying out until dinnertime, wind at our back, and traffic only a minor nuisance. The odometer on our sassy Schwinn three-speeder -- a real lady's bike, built for ease and speed, the blue bike that replaced our beloved bicentennial-flavored Free Spirit from Sears, which had been swiped out from under our noses one sad tropical night -- clicked away, marking the quarter-, then half-, then three-quarter-, then full miles as we pushed across the big bridge that went over to the beach.

Sure, just a few years later, we would, for the first time, taste real freedom, the kind that only a whole bunch of horsepower, some 6-by-9s, and a set of bucket seats could provide. But nothing, nothing really ever matched that sense of Go that riding our bike did.

And Go we did. Sometimes, that odometer would clock 20-30 miles in the few hours between afterschool choral practice and suppertime. We thought ourselves pretty much biking badasses back then. What could stop us?

Well, a parked car in our racing path could. That's what happened to Sardino. She tumbled right over those 10-speed handlebars when physics did its thing and knocked her out cold. That chilled us and made us that much more careful, more aware that we were not the only masters of our destiny. Crazy drivers had a hand in it too, whether we liked it or not, as long as we were going to share roads with them.

We envy Austin bikers. Honestly, we are too wimpy to get out and make it our main transportation mode. Hell, we barely get out on a recreational level. Traffic in this town is downright treacherous, and the paths and lanes that do exist -- completely free and legal for bike use -- are a total joke. Too many drivers don't give bikers the dignity of automotive courtesy. Why should they care? They've got places to go and the mode to get them there a helluva lot faster. That sucks. Aside from the fact that bicyclists have legal rights to the road and equal access, they should be respected for contributing to society rather than sucking off of it, which those of us sealed in our hermetic tons of steel do.

We get all misty when we think of those wacky Don Quixotes over at the Yellow Bike Project and Bikes Not Bombs. Damn, are they in for the long haul up a steep hill or what? Yellow Bike aims to provide free modes of transportation to those willing to pedal for it, and BNB practices their faith in humanity by sending regular shipments of bikes to Chiapas, Mexico.

Tonight, Thursday, Jan. 25, 7pm, please join Yellow Bike Project as they celebrate four years of pedal power in Austin. Their Anniversary Party & Benefit Concert will feature Amberjack Rice, the Gourds, and the Free Range Bastards, at Room 710, 710 Red River. To top it all off, they will be raffling off a bike. Then, on Sunday, Jan. 28, they will host an Open House at their shop at 1182 Hargrave. The daytime event will feature food, music, and fun. 478-9162.

  • This Saturday, Jan. 27, 10am-4pm, is the Bikes Not Bombs Bike Sale at Wheatsville Co-op, 3101 Guadalupe. This time out, it's a fundraiser for the next shipment to Chiapas, which this time will go to an orphanage. They promise all sorts of bikes for the Saturday sale: mountain bikes, road bikes, three-speeders, cruisers, and even a tandem, plus parts and accessories. Go get cranking. 926-4725.

  • Speaking of long haulers ... now's as good a time as any to sign up for the Hill Country Ride for AIDS. As the tagline says, "AIDS rides on ... and so do we!" The ride itself is the weekend of Saturday & Sunday, April 28-29: Just enough time to get those thighs chiseled. www.HillCountryRide.org or 965-RIDE.


    Quickies

  • A local retirement center joins forces with the Lions' Club for the National Eye Care Month Used Glasses Drive. This year, Englewood Estates, 2603 Jones will participate. Glasses and accessories can be donated through Wednesday, Jan. 31. 892-7226.

  • Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, the annual elegant dinner soiree that takes place in private palaces across town is coming Saturday, Feb. 3, 6:30pm. It's a fundraiser for Project Transitions. Book your seat now. 454-8646.

  • If you find some urchins perched outside your parish or chapel or tabernacle or temple or whatever this weekend, holding a big soup bowl that reads something to the effect of Souper Bowl Weekend or Souper Bowl of Caring, chances are they are not raising dough for beer and a tailgate party, but that they are legit. This national drive encourages houses of worship to involve kids in this annual fund and food raiser for local charities. The interesting twist is that the national concern only publicizes the day -- no $$ is sent to them. All proceeds are given to the local charity of your group's choosing. www.souperbowl.org or 803/788-3746.


    Tell Us What You Want, What You Really, Really Want

    The Austin Public Library wants you ... to tell them what you want. Each branch seeks Volunteers for Facilities Focus Groups to determine direction for local services. Who better to ask than the folks who actually use the branches? They simply ask that you live within the branch's designated area and that you limit your participation to one group. The deadline to sign up is Wednesday, Feb. 7. 499-7449.
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    KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

    Yellow Bike Project, Fourth Anniversary Party & Benefit Concert, Bikes Not Bombs Bike Sale, Chiapas, Hill Country Ride for AIDS, Lions' Club, National Eye Care Month Used Glasses Drive, Englewood Estates, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, Project Transitions, Souper Bo

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