The Indignity of Bicycle Parking: Eastside Marketplace

I’m somewhat prone to know-it-all syndrome, and I’ve started to realize that I may be starting to be a know-it-all when it comes to bikes. And by “know-it-all” I don’t mean somebody who possesses a wide range of knowledge about a particular subject, I mean somebody who knows just enough to be dangerous and is looking forward to sharing that knowledge with you. But maybe I’ve just learned a lot in the last year of blogging about bikes and reading about bikes and thinking about bikes constantly. I think that a year ago, I couldn’t have told you the difference between a lug and a seatstay. Now I’ve learned enough to sound like a pompous jerk but not enough to rebuild a 40 year-old Sturmey-Archer 3-speed hub.

Speaking of being a pompous jerk, the students are back in town! That means College Hill is full of teenagers on 30 year old ten speeds running stop signs while talking on their cell phones. Andy from Carbon Trace expressed it better than I could when he recently encouraged the college students of Springfield MO to ride their bikes like adults:

Children are selfish riders – riding where they please and how they please no matter how it may inconvenience or endanger others. Adults generally put up with childish riding behavior because, well, kids are kids and deserve a little tolerance while they learn.

Those days are over for you.

It’s time to learn to drive your bicycle in traffic as a legal and legitimate part of traffic. It is clearly the safest way to ride.

An interesting side effect to all those kids running stop signs is that it causes the motorists of College Hill to assume that I will do the same. I start muttering something about, “you have the right-of-way, idiot” when Spouse reminds me that they are used to the childish cyclists and that I should just say, “go ahead.” But then I don’t get to be curmudgeonly, and I so love to be curmudgeonly! That reminds me, I haven’t been honked at in weeks! I was averaging about 1 honk received per week over the summer. Maybe the cooler weather has cooled people’s tempers? Maybe I should start logging the instances of dangerously unnecessary courtesy, like when a motorist gives up their right-of-way because they are expecting me to ride my bike like a child.

Oh well, I’ll always have bike parking to be curmudgeonly about. For example, the bike rack at the Eastside Marketplace. It’s my least favorite type, not unlike the one at the Providence Amtrak Station. And just like that bike rack, this one is missing a few poles:

This photo also features the hole where my integrated bike bell used to be.

There were 8 bikes parked at the rack, which should make me happy, but instead I’m focusing on the negative. I’m such a grouch.

I’ve also become a snob in the last year. For example, check the graphics on the Huffy parked next to me:

As you can see, just above the “Disc Brake System” graphic, there’s a set of fake V-brakes. Now, I’m not being snobby about someone who can only afford a Huffy. I say god bless the Huffy riders of the world. I’m just making fun of the graphics on this bike, which the Huffy rider has no control over. This sticker is really a crime. It’s like putting an M3 logo on a Dodge Neon. (I’ll allow my readers to post a better analogy in the comments section.)

One more snobby remark for the day. I used my 3rd favorite form of car-free transportation (walking, my 2nd favorite is skipping) around the East Side the other day when I came upon this “vintage” ride.

Despite the fact that there are many better ways to carry something on a cargo rack, the ol’ “strap a crate to the rack” method is not a bad choice. After all, it allows the cyclist to transport a 12 pack of beer – something my Axiom panniers can’t quite accomplish (although they are good for 2 six-packs). But what’s that peeking out below the crate?

What the???

Let’s get a little bit closer….

Oh man, that’s just shameful. This bike’s owner even left the price tag on it. Soon this will be a soggy mess of a piece of cardboard until it falls apart and ends up in the spokes.

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