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