Elizabeth Scripturient (the delinquent, ecumenical (hermionesviolin) wrote,
Elizabeth Scripturient (the delinquent, ecumenical

new icon from soundslikej :)

My current facebook status: "Things that are scary: urban cycling, putting my face under water. (Yes, I bicycled to my first Harvard swim class this morning.)"


I left myself 40 minutes to bicycle to swim class across the street from where I work.  (GoogleMaps told me it would take 23min.)  And I was still late.

Some of it was:
* At the Powder House Rotary, I did not trust the traffic to actually let me in, so I just bore right on Broadway and got to Mass. Ave. via the side street right after Teele Square.  (While I was stopped before the rotary because the lights were all red, a bicyclist passed me, and I did the silent "that is against the rules" that I am doing all the time now that I'm an urban bicyclist.  My fear around actually entering the rotary helped my sympathy for bicyclist decisions to move while traffic is stopped.)
* Mass. Ave. coming in to Harvard Square, I turned right before I think I was supposed to, so I ended up on Brattle Street at the wrong place and had to take a side street back toward Harvard Square/Charles River, at which point I was on Mem. Drive (tho only briefly).

Also, I think I don't bicycle as fast as GoogleMaps expects me to do.  I think of bicycling as a fairly exertion-free activity (much like I mistakenly think of walking) -- the falsity of which I was reminded of when I did a half-hour bike ride Labor Day morning, but yeah.  Coming up to the Boston Ave. intersection coming home [addendum for clarification: going up a hill], I sorely considered walking my bike.  (I was fine by ~3pm -- when I walked to Alexander's to get more milk.)

It took me 40 minutes to bike home (a route GoogleMaps says would take 26minutes).  Coming out of Harvard Square, I realized -- stopped at the traffic split -- I wanted to be in the left lane to be on Mass. Ave.  I decided I didn't trust the traffic to get into the left lane and just bore left on Cambridge Street and then turned around and rode on the sidewalk to loop back to Mass. Ave. -- and stayed on the sidewalk (despite my insistence not to be That Person) because I didn't feel all that safe being on Mass. Ave. -- until about Sacramento, when a bike lane appeared. 

I am not a fan of the disappearing bike lanes, or the places where the bike image on the street puts me right up against parked cars -- though I do really appreciate the blue bike lane in between the Right Turn lane and the Going Forward lane at the Porter Square intersection.

I think I got honked at about 3 times on the way to class.  None on the way back.  I am still considering getting a mirror since there are times when I hear traffic and can't tell if it's in my lane or not.

I also continue to have difficulty discerning, in the absence of clearly marked bike lanes, where on the road it's optimal for me to be.  I keep wanting to bear right -- especially when it's uphill (since I'm esp. slow then) but really any time there's much of any traffic -- while at the same time thinking that it is probably safest for all concerned for me to ride in the center of the rightmost lane so I don't get sideswiped by parked cars and no one gets in danger passing me on the left.


I'd never been in Blodgett before (duh) so I didn't know that they don't provide day locker combo locks (or towels).  I'm used to Shad, where you can request a key to a day locker (and also free loaner towels).  In future, I will store my stuff at Shad and walk across the street.  (Oh, that reminds me that I'd meant to, after I left Shad, look for where the bike racks are at HBS.)  Also, the person who checked me in at the front desk at Blodgett told me where the women's locker room was but didn't tell me how to get to the actual pool (I didn't see signage, so I asked someone).  I emailed the person in charge after I got home (and he replied back in 5 minutes: "Thanks very much! I'll try to update things. That would be helpful, I'm sure!").

Lessons are 40 minutes, and I think mine was more like 20 on account of my being late.  I practiced exhaling through my nose underwater.  Intellectually I know I can surface any time and whatever, but my body keeps freezing up at much of my face being underwater and wants to exhale really quickly (or just not breathe at all).  It would probably be most effective if I practiced this during non-class times (so I could maybe actually master it and then learn/practice stuff beyond that at the class I'm paying for), but I'm not certain exactly how to do that efficiently.


Sidebar: After I got home, I wondered if my face was a little sunburnt or if it was just dry from pool+shower.  I think my face really is a little bit red.  Sheesh.  (I was biking 9:35am-~10:20am and 11:15am-11:55am.)


FCS-Ian's bicycle got stolen off his front porch :(

Yes, I feel good about my choice to store my bike in our front alcove (as opposed to unlocked outside).

And yes, I did buy a U-bolt (though I haven't mastered the instructions on how to affix the "EZ Mount Bracket" to my bike, so I am currently carrying it in my bag).
Tags: bodies in motion: bicycle, gymming it up: classes: swimming

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