Wednesday, July 11, 2012

[LOABkw] Conversations & Provisions

 Life On A Bike in KW is a series of posts about Chris' attempt to get as much done as possible on two wheels, while Erin takes the car out of town to observe birds. How cycle-friendly is KW?


Yesterday was not a great day to be on a bike, at least for me. Heavy traffic means aggressive and unpredictable drivers. Also, there is work underway on a site off Bridge St., which presented me with this wonderful example of bike riders as second-class citizens:

Extra points from the judges for artistic placement right next to the bike symbol
I have since conversed with the region, who said they'd look into it. Today, at least, the practice was still in effect.

After that and the traffic which followed, just when I thought I was clear of the insanity, my chain popped. That meant struggling with it for ten minutes under a hot sun in a used car lot near Lancaster and Victoria.

Earlier in the trip, because of the heavy traffic and everybody's slow speed, I had not one but two interesting conversations in the street. One was while I waited behind left-turning traffic on Labrador, watching a driver nose out of a driveway alongside to my right. She saw my concern:

"Are you going left?"


"I didn't want to cut you off. You must take your life into your own hands here!"

I take my time, and it works out. It's a nutty intersection.

"I don't know why you don't hop along the sidewalk and bypass all this?"

Technically that's illegal. I'd rather not do that. 
"Oh, I hate when people do that! But you're a nice guy, I'll give you a pass."

...needless to say, I passed on the pass to pass.

Later, on Bridge south of University, I came upon a big traffic backup. This is an area to keep your wits about you: Google Maps calls this part of Bridge a "bicycle-friendly road" (code for "not a complete meat grinder but don't expect any favours") and when car traffic is slow, it behooves bikes to take it easy too. Zipping up the right is tempting, but there's not even a strip of paint to suggest you have a right to that space, and it can disappear without warning.

A cyclist came up behind me while I pedaled slowly. Over my shoulder I chatted him up.

I'm not going any faster, so feel free to pass me. But this road can eat you up, so be careful.

"Yeah, it's as bad as Lexington."  Ahah, I think... a fellow traveler.

The cyclist passes me, and then eventually hops up onto the sidewalk. Despite how I feel about that, I have a hard time holding that against him: he uses it to get to the crosswalk at Bridle and turn left, the heavy traffic not offering him any opportunity. Prior to that, though, he quips:
"The cars don't care!"
Considering my previous conversation on Labrador, it may be that the cars don't care... but the drivers certainly do.


Today, at T minus three days to Erin's departure, I took the car to work specifically to obtain a few things difficult to transport on bike.

Are those maps? Does anyone use maps anymore?

The bird food is a lunchtime trip to Exotic Wings in St. Clements to save about $30 over the prices at the vet down the road. The water (and the propane, in fact) is RO, for homebrewing. KW's water is quite drinkable, though it's a little hard to brew beer with. How would I fill this need without a car? Possibly with carshare, or maybe by investing in an RO system at home. The propane could also be made obsolete if I switched over to natural gas (which has already been done for our barbecue.)

I should consider these moves anyway, car or no. I like things that reduce the number of silly errands I have to run. But if you don't have casual access to heavy goods transportation, it becomes even more important to think about.

Time to say goodbye to the Matrix for a few months. But it has a little parting message for you to think about:

Won't you too?
So bike safe, walk safe, drive safe.

I'll get to that "tools of the trade" post soon!


  1. I brewed for years with Kitchener's water and it made amazing beers of many styles... never made much lager with it but otherwise it works well enough. There are different wells in different parts of the city so I guess that could change things too.

    I imagine jugs of water and propane would all fit in a trailer. I once rode a couple of clicks balancing a propane tank on the handle bars... probably not legal though.

  2. Fellow TravellerJuly 17, 2012 at 9:49 AM

    Great entry. I have to say, I was a little skeptical about this LOABkw idea, but this was quite enjoyable and interesting to read.