Tagged: errands

The miles keep adding up

Last week was a pretty damn awesome week on the bike.  I managed to commute to and from work and around town four days out of five and ran a boatload of errands to boot.  Let’s review …

Monday was easy.  I biked to work in the morning, then home in the afternoon.  Nothing terribly exciting to report about that.  I did have a pretty full load in my panniers, as I had to pack in my suit for an on-camera interview that morning.  Otherwise, easy peasy.

However, I had been noticing that my car was overheating and its engine was revving when idling, as if to run the fan and cool the motor.  Given that I needed to drive on Thursday, I had to take my car to the shop on Tuesday to make sure it was repaired on time.  So that morning, I loaded up my gear and my bike and drove to Barton’s on Overton Park Drive.  I had to be on campus by 8:30 AM, so I left the house super-early (for me, anyway) at just past 7.  After dropping of my car, I biked to campus.

What made the ride so enjoyable, other than the opportunity to watch the sun rise over Memphis as I headed to work, was that I followed a new route to campus.  From Barton’s I biked through Overton Park, east on Broad St., then south on Tillman to the Greenline.  I rode the Greenline east to High Point Terrace, which I followed south to campus.  It was a really great ride, and faster than I expected: just over 30 minutes.  (I’m sure the two double cappuccinos I had that morning helped.)  After class and a few meetings, I biked home.  Here’s the map:

Screen Shot 2013 02 11 at 10 30 58 PM

The loop at the end was courtesy a trip to the bank.  11.5 miles total.  Whee!

My car was ready that afternoon, so Wednesday morning I biked to Barton’s, stopping at Black Lodge on the way, picked up my car, and drove it home.  Then I biked to campus, had my day at work, and left in the afternoon to run a few errands.

From campus I biked to Poplar Plaza and bought a few things at the soon-to-be-replaced Kroger.  Then I rode to Busters for some vino, even biking on Poplar during rush hour for a spell.  From Busters I headed west to the Memphis Public Library on Poplar, then biked home.  I was going to go to Home Depot, but the hour was growing late and I was hungry.  Once again, here’s the map:

Screen Shot 2013 02 11 at 10 38 19 PM

Another 14.5 miles.  Awesome.

What I enjoyed most about the week was the variation in routes.  Normally I follow pretty much the same route every day.  Sure, I could mix it up, but like a lot of commuters (of the two-wheeled and four-wheeled varieties), I mostly just want to get where I’m going.  Being pushed into new routes was really nice.

Friday was super easy.  I biked to and from Otherlands, my normal Friday routine.  So easy, I didn’t even bother with cycling gear.

Altogether, I logged around 30 miles last week.  That’s roughly two gallons of gas I would have otherwise burned, meaning that I saved … um … how much is gas these days?  I can never remember.

Anyway, more news later this week.  I hope to see you on the road soon.

Fairly epic biking day

Now that spring semester is in full swing, I’ve been biking quite a bit more lately.  I hardly touched my bike between mid-December and mid-January, mostly because I was out of town and then sick for much of that time.  I always enjoy falling back into the routine of a semester, and enjoy even more that my holidays don’t end for weeks after most others.

I spent the first part of the day today cleaning up the house.  My wife was predictably buried in work – anyone who claims that public school teachers only work 40 hours per week deserves to have their toes run over – so I took up the mantle of dutiful husband.  By mid-afternoon the house was clean and the laundry hanging up to dry, so I set out on some errands.  I worried for a moment that the weather wouldn’t hold up – a few drops of rain pelted my iPhone screen as I prepared to ride – but it passed without incident.

Here’s a map of my ride.

Screen Shot 2013 01 27 at 10 05 51 PM

I left home just before 4:00 PM and biked to the public library on Poplar to get some books for a workshop next weekend.  My ride began on Southern Avenue (yay bike lanes!), then headed north through the Beltline Community and then Chickasaw Gardens.   Fifteen minutes after leaving the house, I was at the library.  After much fruitless searching, I only found two of the seven titles I was looking for, meaning that I’ll be heading out east later this week.  No matter today though.  My next stop was a bit further west: Office Depot on Union.

I could have shaved a mile or two off my ride by going to Office Max, also on Union, instead, but Office Depot has a certain kind of paper I use for certificates for my workshops.  And I think their prices might be better.  Anyway, I needed some supplies, as did the wife, so I biked west through Chickasaw Gardens, Midtown, then up to Linden Avenue.  Linden took me to Walnut, then my destination.  Thirty minutes later, my panniers were laden with paper, copies, pencils, and other evidence that I live in house of teachers.  Next stop: Home Depot on Poplar.

You might be wondering why I didn’t go to Home Depot first, before Office Depot.  (It was a day of many depots.)  That was for the simple reason that Office Depot closed at 6:00 PM, so I had to go there first, before heading east to Home Depot.  Fortunately, I made it to both stores with plenty of time to spare.  My trip to Home Depot added two LED light bulbs, four spray bottles, masking tape, a wall switch for the bulbs, and a battery to my load.  Interesting thing about those bulbs: while expensive as hell, they are supposed to last for over 22 years.  Meaning that we should still be using these bulbs as I near retirement.  Not sure what to do with that.

Anyway, after leaving Home Depot (with none of my previous acquisitions having been lifted from my panniers, thankfully), I biked south to Kroger on Union.  I debated on the way about the best way to get there.  I considered biking east to McLean, then south and west to Kroger.  But traffic was pretty light by that point, so I turned south on Belvedere and did something I almost never do: I biked on Union Avenue.  Granted, it was only for one block, but still.  That road is not fit for cyclists.

My trip to Kroger added a bag of tortilla chips, some cheese, fake bacon (NOM), and a few other items to my panniers, which were quite full by this point.  Fortunately, that was my last stop before home, except for a last minute trip to the gas station to pick up something I’d forgotten at Kroger.  I was at home around 3.5 hours after I left, with roughly an hour and fifteen minutes spent on my bike.  It was nice.

So, overall it was a pretty uneventful ride.  Just under fourteen miles, no problems with traffic, nice weather.  What made it somewhat remarkable is that once again I was able to demonstrate that yes, you can run errands on a bike in Memphis.  It’s really not that hard.  In fact, it’s rather fun.

Tomorrow will be a nice, boring ride to campus and back.  I hope your day was as fulfilling as mine.  Have fun biking in Memphis.

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