Thursday, March 29, 2007

Take the lane...on biking in SF

I was biking to work this morning, as I do almost every morning and I went to "take the lane" on my way down 9th St which I do pretty much every morning. I was thinking about the expression. It essentially means that I ride in traffic as though my 15 lb bike frame is an 2 ton SUV and I take the entire lane instead of staying to either the right or left side of traffic.

Before I started riding, I would see bikers do this in the city and I always thought it was kind of annoying because there's no easy way to get around them. But when you're biking, it makes a ton of sense. You take the lane when there's no visible bike lane so that you don't get accidentally crunched in traffic. It's the choice between being visible and making a nuisance of yourself for a block or not being seen and risking certain death on the pothole infested streets of Frisco.

I've now been riding for a year and a half and it's amazing how much fear I've conquered in that time. When I was 9, I was riding down a big hill and took a sharp left turn. My bike fell out from under me and I proceeded to skid from one side of the street to the other on my knees. I actually still have some gravel spots in my knee and a pretty gnarly scar from this.

When I started riding in SF, it was my first endeavor into urban biking. I hadn't really biked regularly since before I got a driver's permit. I was completely terrified for my first month of riding. I got a membership to the SFBC (San Francisco Bicycle Coalition) and they sent me a map of bike routes in the city. This helped immensely. Designated bike lanes were definitely useful.

There's a lot of tension in this city between cabs and bikers, drivers and bikers, pedestrians and bikers, Muni and bikers, and bikers and other bikers. I've almost been hit by cars, buses and skateboarders while biking in the city (I'm lucky my Jewish mother doesn't read my blog). When you're driving a car, everything in your way is an obstacle. When you're on a bike, everything in your way is an opportunity to improve your riding skills.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

stuck in boston on st paddy's day

when i was younger i always thought that the opportunity to travel for business was really cool. my dad used to say "same conference room, different city." i romanticized the idea of getting to see the world, stay at chic hotels, eat great food and all on the company dime.

when my client asked me to travel to the boston area for 2 days, i was fine with taking the trip. i was only expecting to be on the ground for 36 hours and then would turn right around and head back to my 70 degree weather in san francisco. somehow, this is not what happened.

i ended up renting a car from alamo - something i'd never do again. they didn't have anything with 4 wheel drive so i couldn't upgrade to a vehicle that could handle the predicted snow storm. my very smart client got an suv.

on friday morning, the flurries started. how novel. how exciting. how pretty. i haven't seen snow in about four years. what a treat. then the snow got heavier. and the flakes got bigger. by the time i left my morning meeting and began the drive to my afternoon meeting, the snow had begun to stick to the ground. when i left my afternoon meeting, my flight was still listed as "on time" and so i braved the scary driving conditions and made my way to logan. by the time i approached the airport, i literally couldn't see 20 feet in front of me. it was a white out.

i dropped off my rental car and made my way to the airport where i was told that i was booked on the last flight to o'hare out of logan. how lucky was i?! after several delays, they finally canceled 90% of flights out of logan, mine included. the next flight out that i was able to book gets me back to sf at 11pm tonight. i have a full day to kill in boston and it just so happens to be st. patrick's day.

the city is overrun with college students dressed in green who started drinking at 10am. good times. i'm about to grab some lunch across the street and i'll probably order myself a pint. i'm hopeful that my flight out tonight will be on time.

so much for the joys of business travel. :D

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

it's the economy, stoopid

in the past week:

a sleeping hipster
a smoking laundry patron
an empty corona bottle
a child's plastic toy

it's been busy lately so i haven't had much time to keep up with writing. found a new place that doesn't even have a stoop. not sure what i'll blog about at that point. if i'm stoop-less, i don't have a pavlovian reminder to sign on and keep this thing updated.

Thursday, March 01, 2007


yesterday - a yellow bottle cap on Monday morning.

someone (ok, it was ash) once wrote to me - "don't let the stirrings of your heart make you dizzy"
sometimes (ok, lately) i feel like my heart is going to explode
things are a'brewin.
it's in the air lately.