Well it looks as if the bad weather, combination weather, and more bad weather has finally blown out of Indiana for spring and summer, delivering some of the best bicycling conditions possible... that is baring any possible incoming rain.
The ISWE staff took advantage of one exceptionally sunny day to hit the roads in and around good old Bloomington, Indiana, home of Indiana University, the world renowned Little 500 bicycle race, and the filming location of one of the greatest sports films ever made, Breaking Away staring a young Dennis Quaid, Dennis Christopher, Daniel Stern, and Jackie Earle Haley as "Moocher." Several lessons were learned:
Those who know anything about the Hoosier state know that for all Hoosiers other than Boilermakers and the Irish (Notre Dame fans) and maybe Butler Bulldogs, one of our most sacred Hoosier temples is none other than Assembly Hall. Seats about 18,000. Some of the great games in the history of basketball have been played in there. Ahhh, basketball... And so, as far as I can tell, that's the only sign. No gold leaf, no giant limestone arches, no brilliant lights... heck there's not even a 20-watt bulb. That's it, "Assembly Hall." I guess that says something about Hoosiers. We don't need no signs to tell us where the roundball gets played. Give us tickets anywhere in the building and we're happy. Also happy catching a pic of the ISWE Brommie at such a prestigious locale.
Not more than a block or so from the vinyl-lettered, somewhat oxidized placard of basketball Mecca, I found a new project IU was apparently willing to spend a decent amount of money on, bicycle boxes!
That's them on the left with the ISWE Brommie positioned for scale. I know they look a little like a bank of back-up generators or maybe something installed as part of some big military encampment in Operation Desert Storm, but they're not. They're just big happy bicycle boxes. There are 120 of them in this one location! Wow.
This is the equivalent of a 4-star bicycle hotel. Imagine those 120 bikes in there, snug, basically dry, no matter what the conditions.
If you could see directly behind me (I didn't include the pictures because they were simply too graphic), there was a less fortunate bike that had been tossed aside from its rack after it's chain rusted into an immoveable lump of crusty rust. Tragic. This ISWE friends is simply the only humane way to store bikes outdoors. For heaven's sake, if your university, business, or community is thinking about bike boxes, back them with everything you've got. If not for yourself, do it for the bikes.
BUT! There is even a more humane way to store bikes, one that brings our loyal friends in from the cold desolation of the dog house, urr, I mean bike box, one that brings them in with family, the Brommie cubby. That's one there to the left.
No worries about condensation. No worries about padlocks, crowbar wielding bicycle thief maniacs, or the ravages of loneliness. Just your folding bike in a nice comfy space, go ahead, put your messenger bag or a box of Cheerios on top. Brilliant!
The picture is from a cool Flickr photo stream, by marcus_jb1973. Check it out for lots of interesting photos of Bromptons and other small wheel bikes.
Well, it was a great day. We managed to learn about Indiana basketball, IU's frugality in signage and support for the healthful benefits of bicycling. We were reminded of Breaking Away and the Little 500. We got a quick workout on some rare Hoosier hills and learned something about the humane treatment of bicycles. We also learned that conventional bicycle boxes are ugly and expensive external infrastructure, while Brompton cubbies are furniture.
Thanks to loyal ISWE member, Amy (pictured by the same bear there... perhaps a decade ago!) for providing the excellent excuse for a trip to B-Town.
Thanks small wheel enthusiasts for visiting. Stay tuned for more exciting adventures to come in 2013!
P.S. Congratulations to ISWE Brother-in-Law, Ronnie Dixon for booking a whopping 82.63 miles on Saturday, burning up the roads of San Rafael. By the next post we're sure he will have completed his first century! Disclaimer: he rides a road bike... we'll convert him eventually :)
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Small wheels rule!