Has anyone else noticed that, if you ship more than one package, the one to arrive last is the one you really need? My husband shipped three me three boxes filled with things that it did not make sense to put in my luggage—I brought two suitcases and, at a 50 lb. limit for each, there was much triage. So I left behind things like my fleece jacket and the sheets for the futon I did not yet own, and my obliging spouse shipped them out to me about a week later. The first two boxes arrived on Tuesday. The smallest box had five books in it—volumes 1-3, 5 and 6 of my miniature Talmud (I brought volume four with me because it’s the one I’m currently learning, though my study partner and I both caught colds this weekend and put off studying together until we could speak without sniffling). The other box was filled with clothes. The third box, which had not yet come, was the one I was eagerly anticipating. It held my art supplies and my biking gear, the latter of which was of particular interest to me as I had gone out and ordered a new bike on Tuesday.
Digression – she is a lovely new bike. For those interested in stats, she’s a TREK hybrid FX 7.3 (here’s the link – http://www.trekbikes.com/us/en/bikes/town/fitness/fx/7_3_fx/), with an added rack and metal pannier on the side.
Of course, having a bike did me little good without my helmet and my bike lock in particular, so she sat dolefully until, two days after the other boxes arrived, the third box finally made its shamefaced way to my door. I ripped it open eagerly, sorted through even more clothes (those that had not fit in the other two boxes) and hauled out my biking stuff. It was time to go exploring.
The first thing I wanted to do was take a ride around campus and get to know the bikepaths as something more than the occupational hazard of being a pedestrian. I quickly threw my keys/ID card into a bag, along with my iPad (my preciousssss), and set off towards the library to pick up a book.
There are a couple of necessary adjustments one must make when going from a pedestrian to a biker. The first is that it suddenly takes a lot less time to get places. I’d remembered the library being further away than it turned out to be. The second is in attitudes—it takes effort to remember that, not so long ago, I was on foot and muttering the worst curses I could think of in the direction of bikers who did not slow down and allow me to cross their precious bike lanes. (Technically, I think the worst curse I know off the top of my head is “May the curse of Mary Malone and her nine blind, illegitimate children follow you so far over the hills of damnation that the Lord himself couldn’t find you with a telescope,” but that’s neither here nor there.) The third has to do with parking. One never walks out of a building having forgotten where one parked one’s feet. Bikes are even worse than cars—though anyone who has ever spent twenty minutes circling a parking lot, only to finally remember that they parked on the other side of the store is sure to disagree with me here—because bikes lack license plates. Bike racks are also pushed incredibly close together, so that, from a distance, it looks less like a row of vehicles and more like a game of pick-up sticks, with wheels. And my bike was even distinctive by virtue of not being a beach cruiser.
At any rate, I finally found it, unlocked the bike and set off further along campus, because I was testing both my bike and navigation skills. I soon found myself on the coastal bike route, which sits between the highway and the ocean. If I followed it long enough, it would take me to downtown Santa Barbara, about ten miles away. That would be a bit far for a first excursion, so I turned off the coastal route, figuring that as long as I was out here and it was a nice day, I might as well run some errands and pick up some cash. I moved onto the curving road marked “Goleta” and, after circling under the highway and back around, I came to a small, wooden bridge. I was sure I had taken a wrong turn somewhere, yet there were bike lanes painted on the wood, so I gritted my teeth (which was necessary—that was a bumpy birdge!) and rode over it, only to find myself deposited on one of the major streets that runs from campus to Goleta. I knew where I was again and set off down the road. While California is quite mountain-y, it’s not particularly hilly and I was enjoying the ease of biking relatively flat streets, when it suddenly got much less easy and I couldn’t figure out why. The road was still straight, the asphalt was smooth, it was breezier…oh. The wind had picked up and I actually had to shift down a gear in order to keep pace riding into it.
Well, that was a new experience. There weren’t any strong winds coming off the Jackie Onassis reservoir in Central Park, ao this was my first biking-with-wind moment. (For those of you who are apt to point out that if I’d just gone a mile west of my old apartment, I could have biked up and down Riverside park and enjoyed the brisk breeze off the Hudson, well…you’re right. I was lazy (insofar as it’s possible for one to be lazy while exercising)). I reached my destination intact and biked slowly around the lot in search of bike racks or even a decent pole onto which I could lock my bike. I finally found one that looks good enough and, as I reached into my bag to pull out my keys, I realized my mistake.
Remember, oh, a few paragraphs ago, when I mentioned I was just going to the campus library so didn’t bother taking anything other than my keys and iPad? Yep, my wallet was at home. (Don’t look at me like that, you real people who never walk out the door without everything you need and then some, I’m a student! I live next to campus! Hearken back to your bright college days and remember when you could walk out the door with nothing more than your college ID (and depending on how long ago said days were, your cellphone and iPod. Or just your iPhone).) I consoled myself with the thought that it was good exercise and biked back to my apartment, taking a different route than the one I had come by in order to familiarize myself with the lay of the land (flat and windy – see above).
I arrived back home in a bit of a snit. I had had plans for my day. I had wanted to get things done! I wanted something more than a bit of exercise to show for my newfound skill of not-getting-lost in California. So I made up my mind to get back on the bike, this time with my wallet and other necessary accoutrements in my bag, and bike down towards the other ATM. This one was in the opposite direction, which meant I could explore more of Goleta and maybe even get some shopping done.
This time, everything went off without a hitch. I made it to the ATM, got the cash I needed, and would have gone straight home, except that the way home went right past Costco.
Costco is a wonderful place, but it was not invented for someone riding a bike. For those of you entertaining the image of me riding back from Costco with a 36 pack of toilet paper bungee-corded to my bike (and, believe me, it would’ve been entertaining), rest assured that did not happen. Costco doesn’t sell bungee cords.
They do sell the only kosher mozzarella within at least 20 miles of my apartment, though, so I picked that up, along with a Brita filter, and finally went home.
To my utter shock, I woke up the next morning with sore leg muscles. It’s funny what happens when one bikes 13 miles after having not ridden for over a month.
But now I have my bike. Let the riding begin.
So, I started this post a week and a half ago. And then the Jewish Holidays happened. Mea Culpa. (Or perhaps אשמנו, בגדנו. Certainly לצנו, (I apologize for not translating the Hebrew, but the joke isn’t really funny enough to bother))