Some cool how to find new businesses images:
I love my bike. It’s a ’02 Specialized Hardrock Sport. I used to go mountain biking all over Portland back when I was still in high school: Powell Butte, Mt. Tabor, Rocky Butte… But now my bike just another vehicle on a tedious scholastic commute. *Sigh*
To compensate for the blandness of my ride, I go crazy-fast. If you’re ever walking around, minding your own business when some asshole on two wheels nearly kills you—that was me. Over the four and a half years that I’ve been going to this godforsaken university, I’ve come close to hitting several pedestrians, as well as few bikes, a couple of cars, and maybe a small animal. By close, I mean they perceived that I almost hit them. I was, in fact, in complete control the whole time. None of them were ever actually hit (except a really cute girl—I gently grazed her with my shoulder, to which she responded with an small yelp).
Regardless of the grace and agility that, off the bike, escapes my somewhat lanky frame, I’ve accrued a number of stories…
Story #1: I think I average over ten bike rides to the computer lab a week. You know how dogs have that unerring ability to find their homes, even if they’re hundreds of miles away? That’s me with the computer lab. If I got really drunk at a party in Timbuktu, I think I would have better luck finding the lab than my apartment. As you can imagine, I’m pretty familiar with entrance to the building.
But on one particular day I came up on a guy who apparently wasn’t. He was also riding a bike. I spotted him from a pretty good distance—maybe fifty yards. He was circling the bike racks for reasons that are still totally beyond me. I was about twenty yards away from him and closing pretty fast when he noticed me. He picked that particular moment to pull out of his orbit around the bike racks and head straight for me, then freak out and squeeze the hell out of his front brake. Objects in motion tend to stay in motion, so his bike stopped, but he kept going right on over the handle bars.
I must’ve stared silently at the guy for a good ten seconds. After deciding he hadn’t broken anything, I tried hard to muster up some kind of sympathy. I finally said, "Are you okay?" To which he responded with some mumbling and muttered explanations. I am all too familiar with the sting of humiliation; the only part of the man’s behavior that didn’t baffle me was his inability to look me in the eye followed by his immediate flight from the scene.
Story #2: I’d been noticing this strange, rhythmic snapping sound coming from the front of my bike all day and couldn’t figure it out for the life of me. Finally, after all my classes were done, I got back to my apartment and noticed a metal thumb tack in my front tire. I had about fifteen minutes to get my gear and meet my friend Joey for racquetball, so I was reluctant to waste time fooling about with a spare. I checked the pressure—it was firm enough. If I’d gone all day with a thumb tack in tire, I could go another hour, right?
Well, I tested this hypothesis at my usual 17 mph up Monroe. I usually cross the street into the oncoming bike lane when there’s a break in the traffic so I can get onto the sidewalk and then cut through a park. I got to the part where I crossed the street when I noticed my tire wobbling side to side on the wheel—not a good sign. I also noticed that about twenty yards away was a guy going the right way in the bike lane and I still needed to get onto the sidewalk to avoid a collision. I knew that I was probably going to crash anyway, but I didn’t want to do it headlong into another bicycle, so I swerved left onto the sidewalk, and sure enough, my front tire completely lost traction.
My whole bicycle came out from under me, launching me into a short-lived superman pose followed by contact with the pavement. I turned around and saw that all of me and my bicycle made it out of the bike lane, although it was difficult to tell where my body ended and my bicycle began. The other biker passed me with a bemused look on his face, but knowing that I’d crashed well (if there is such a thing) I still had most of my pride intact. I picked myself up and just about then I noticed my downstairs neighbor, Susan, walking down the sidewalk toward me.
"Hey Adam," she said.
"How are you?"
"OK. How was work?"
"Not bad… hey, you’re bleeding." She pointed at my knees. By this time, I had so much endorphins going through me, I didn’t feel much. My palms were cut up pretty bad, too.
"Yeah," I observed pointedly. I’m such a badass.
We walked back to the apartment (me carrying my bike on my shoulder) wherein I got another neighbor to patch me up and drive me to the rec center. I figured if I’d taken a dive for a racquetball appointment, I might as well keep it. I was about fifteen minutes late, but I still played, although I could only use my left hand.
Last Story—I promise: Thomas got this new performance road bike (of which I’m still jealous). He showed it off to me and let me ride it a bit. We agreed to meet later on at the computer lab and go hang out somewhere for the evening. Thomas, you see, is my heterosexual life partner. I’m still trying to sell this idea to his wife.
Anyway, we went to our remaining classes, each secretly thinking about the imminent race across town. I really wanted to kick his ass with my mountain bike—I thought that would be pretty humiliating since he dropped over 0 on his über light-weight Trek. When we finally did meet up, he said something innocuous about going to his apartment. However he phrased it, his plan seemed reasonable at the time, at least to someone as gullible as myself.
As soon as we got out the door, I blurted, "Last one there’s a rotten egg!" and tore off, startling the usual gaggle of pedestrians on the sidewalks. Thomas was not far behind. Our honour could not be satisfied until our duel was concluded. I plotted out the course in my head: cut through the quad to Jefferson; down Jefferson to 14th; 14th to ‘E’ street—this the only obvious route I could think of. As I tore down the hill on Jefferson at a speed that scared even myself, I turned around and confirmed that Thomas was still behind me—I was on the right track.
I was feeling pretty good when I turned onto 14th. We were on the home stretch. I focused all my energy on what was ahead of me, ignoring Thomas completely, at which point I realized the light at Western was against me. The traffic was too dense to cut through. I turned around. No Thomas. I slowed down, not sure what to do. That’s when I noticed Thomas crossing Western a bit further up the street where the traffic was sparser—the bastard cut through the McAlexander parking lot way back at Jefferson! Finally my light turned green. I tried desperately to catch up, but I knew my chance of a recovery was slim.
Thomas had just gotten to his apartment building when he performed a dismount with sandals still going a good 10 mph. I’d lost, but he screwed his ankle up so bad he couldn’t play racquetball for a month. That’s what happens to cheaters, Thomas.
My old neighborhood
As seen by Google Maps.
Google Map of UT
My memory map of the University of Texas at Austin. Be sure to hover over the image and check out my notes.