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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Today's Adventure & Five Crazy Words

I decided to try this "take your bike on the bus" thing today. It's really the only way I can get to the towpath without a car.  Akron Metro has a video on their website which I watched about 5 times.  I figured if it was really stupid, I wouldn't do it.

There are a couple of reasons I wanted to go on the towpath.  For starters, it has rained the last few days and if I went on the Bike And Hike through Silver Lake and Munroe Falls, I'd have to bike THROUGH a lake as there are a few areas that flood like hell. I'm not that fabulous of a cyclist to get everything soaking wet including my shoes.

And sometimes I get tired of riding on the Bike and Hike, even though it's a total blessing that we have it!!  We actually are rather blessed around here; there are tons of places to bike and walk and hike.  We have the Metroparks and the Cuyahoga Valley National Park (thank you, Bob Hunker).  Granted the CVNP can be a total nut house, especially on the weekends.  Parts of it (mostly between Szalay's and Boston) is like the Oklahoma Land Rush.  It's crazy town and you have to actually be very careful, especially the Peninsula to Boston leg. If I were truly an extremely brave little toaster, I'd bike on the road for that leg BUT I am not that brave.  I get freaked out riding in a CAR!

I get to the bus stop which is about 3/4 of a mile from my house.  It took a bit of jerry-rigging to get the bike on the bus bike rack but I managed.  I'm carrying my helmet, bike bag and water and trying to get on the bus as fast as I can.  Yikes, sometimes getting stuff out of pockets is a pain!

About a mile into the bus trip, a guy with a white cowboy hat puts his bike on the front of the bus and gets onto the bus announcing, in a loud voice for all the world to hear that our local bike shop sucks!!  Bad service, etc. He's rambling on about something having to do with a debit card and phone number.  He keeps on yakking and I'm wishing I had headphones on.

I'm thinking, "Ah, the joys of public transport! God, is the rest of the day going to be this weird??  Sh*t! And who in the hell in Northeast Ohio where's a white cowboy hat while riding a bike?  OK, maybe in TEXAS, but here???"

After several of his victims had disembarked the bus, he says to me, "You're a cyclist, I can tell."  (I guess the helmet and bike bag were a give-away, huh?)  I do my best Polite Nod.  The Queenly one.  The "yes I acknowledge you because it would be rude to not do so but really my tea is getting cold and this is my way of politely blowing you off because I wish you'd shut the  f--- up about my bike shop" nod.

He rallies on, "Can you imagine such sh*tty customer service?  Has that ever happened to you?  Come on, it's happened to you! What do you do about sh*t like that, huh?"

I then utter five words I never thought would ever come out of my mouth:

I choose not to comment.

Holy crap, what did I just do?  Did I have an out-of-body experience?  Channel my inner Queen Mum?  Suddenly become my sister or brother who are MUCH more tactful that I am? Decide the diplomatic corps is going to be my next career?

Have I really been watching way too many episodes of THE WEST WING?

Who the hell said that and what did they do with me?  Since I've turned 50, I'm rarely reluctant to get into a verbal duke-it-up especially when someone is dissing a friend, a policy I believe in or a place I really like and  have patronized for years.  Truly, I had an out of body experience because I would normally have said nothing and hope that the bus would absorb me.

I will say this for this extraordinarily rare moment of tact. It shut him up.  Damn. He went on to bother some young lady who was on her way to a 12 step thing.

When the bus arrived in downtown Akron, I managed to get my bike off the front of the bus and walk over to Lock 3, a public area in Akron where they have festivities etc.  I managed to get lost pretty quickly (no surprise) but with the help of two nice guys and after walking my bike up a huge flight of stairs, I see the bike bridge over the inner-belt. Phew!  OK, I have a pretty good idea of where I'm going!  Down a great big twisting hill!  Wheeee!!!!

I wend my way down the towpath from Mustill Store to Botzum Trail Head.  The only part that got really dicey was (alas) around the sewage plant. The trail became bumpy and slippery.  I've been trying to use all my gears on this new bike and I must have heard or read somewhere that being in a low gear (what I'd call low, which is probably wrong) gives you stability and I needed it. Badly!

When I stopped at Botzum (pictured above) I toyed with going a bit further but wisely decided to turn around.  One mile (after 2 slight rest stops) before I got back to Mustill Store, I met up with 2 nice ladies and walked back with them, chatting.  Hermione and Florence.  Ageless women of color. (What is it with black folks?  Those ladies were anywhere from 35 to 70 and you can't tell!)

Now I figured there might be a bus stop near here. I could have sworn I saw the parking lot for Mustill go by.  I start walking looking for a bus stop sign. I've turned off my RunKeeper app and taken the odometer off my bike.

And I'm still walking. Things look familar but....

 And I walk up this HUGE hill.  I get to the top.  I don't know how to get there from here.  I'm not so much lost as disoriented.

"Well, this is stupid.  I'll just go back and go over to Lock 3." Yes, after I go around several deceptive corners over lovely streams and water falls only to discover I have to ride up two hills with a 5% grade.  The same ones I went merrily down.  The bike performed well but my legs and arms and hands and a** were screaming!!  I finally get near Lock 3 and take a lovely detour (and it is lovely) ending up going past Akron General Hospital.  I KNOW I'm not in the right place but it was interesting nonetheless.

Finally I struggle up the hill at Lock 3 and finally I find a bus stop on Main Street.  I finally get my bike on the proper bus to head home and finally sit down in the air conditioning, which almost made my tummy go nuts. I get off by the aforementioned bike shop so I can ask them a question or two and rest for a few minutes.

I ride home, decided to clean my bike as it was crusted with dirt, dust, mud, sand.
Before I had flipped it, I looked at my odometer:
2+ hours
20.5 miles
8.8 average MPH
Highest speed 18 MPH

Then I flipped my bike over and erased my odometer.  Well, sh*t.

I am sore but I'm glad I did it.


  1. Diplomacy is overrated. But, at times you must preserve your ass.

  2. Indeed, I certainly agree! That's why I was so surprised at myself! :-)