Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Disrupted Day

I didn't ride to work this morning. I didn't go because I have to run some errands at lunch and after work as it's my wife's birthday tomorrow. This decision turned out to be propitious as the kids missed the school bus. Karla had headed off to church to get the service bulletins prepped for June 5 and 12th. June 12th we're doing a service at the Lake Harriet bandshell (10AM, be there or be square) so you can come hear us sing.

Anyway, it was about 9:15 and the kids called and sounded pretty panicky. School's seven miles away, south of our house, and I work five miles north. I trooped back out through the parking lot, drove home, picked them up, and took them to school. It was another gorgeous day, and there were plenty of bikes out. I sort of wonder what all these people do who are riding around at 10 in the morning on a Tuesday. I also mulled over what I would have done had I ridden my bike to work; probably I would have had them catch the 61 bus west, transfer to the 84 down Snelling and get off by school. I haven't read the schedules, but I wonder if that would have been faster than riding a bike home and then driving them. They've never done the city bus by themselves, so that would have been mind-expanding for them.

In other bike news, the light bulbs I ordered last week showed up. These are 5 and 10-watt MR-11 replacements for my VistaLite Lightstick. I gave them a quick try and they all worked, and both Henry and Karla complained when I shined a 10W bulb at them so it must be pretty bright. With birthday preparations, I didn't have time to really try these out, but I'll compare all three bulbs in the dark to see which I like best.

Separately, I also got my work assignments for the Stillwater criterium July 12, the afternoon after we sing at Lake Harriet. I'm a race marshall then help with course teardown. This is all part of the Great River Energy Bike Festival/Nature Valley Grand Prix bike race, and I'm also volunteering Wednesday (Saint Paul) and Friday (Minneapolis). They are still in need of volunteers, so if you have an interest, go the site and there's a spot under Home for Volunteers. The Course Marshall stuff is very easy to do, so don't worry about needing lots of instructions and training.

I'm not a big bike racing fan, but it is a very accessible sport, and volunteering like this is an easy way to support it. It is spectator-friendly since you can get very close to the course and be right by the action. You can also move around the course to get different vantage points. At one time there were Grand Prix car races in Des Moines and Minneapolis, at about the time we moved here. The setup took weeks and the downtowns looked like prison camps, all concrete barriers and chain-link fences. When the raced, the cars flashed by in a cacaphony of exhaust and noise. The bike races, by contrast, setup, run and teardown within a day. You'll see some photos from the races I volunteer in a week and a half.

On the news tonight the weatherguy said this is the first May since 1983 where we didn't get to 80 degrees. It felt cold and wet and the last couple of spectacular days have only started to erase the damp chilly memories.

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