December 20, 2013
I suppose in the interests of strict accuracy, I should report that it’s not always blue skies and gloriously sunny weather here – while yesterday we had lunch sitting in the sun before going on a 3-hour bike ride, today the temperature barely crept above freezing, and we decided it might be time for some of those car-based errands we’d been putting off while the weather was so gorgeous, like going to the grocery store and the giant bookshop and other shops surrounded by acres of parking. And hunting down the mysterious pop-up baklava shop that had no website and appeared to be in an abandoned used car lot, if Google Streetview was anything to go by…
We decided that we’d better do something a little bit active as well, especially if we did find that baklava shop, so we headed down to the riverwalk where you can walk a mile, sponsored by Toyota (the river was actually diverted away from the city centre after it flooded the whole place, but when they wanted to create somewhere for people to walk, they diverted some of it back as long as it promised to behave).
For those who find walking sedately around a glorified duck pond a bit tame, you can always try sprinting across the roads instead…
It’s fortunate the drivers around here are mostly pretty patient, but there’s no doubt that round here the car is king. Outside of a tiny historic downtown area, and the mall of course, even parking and walking from shop to shop just feels, well, wrong. Not illegal or anything, but wrong. Well, maybe a little bit illegal if you don’t cross in the crosswalks. If you want to walk and not get funny looks, get a dog. Or stick to the Toyota mile…
Oh and the baklava? We found it in the abandoned used car lot as promised, and it proved absolutely delicious if a little calorific. Looks like we’ll need to do a few more circuits of that riverwalk pretty soon….
December 18, 2013
We swapped biking for hiking today – although I made the mistake of dressing for the mountains in December, instead of, say, Miami. There’s a bit of a Chinook going on at the moment which means it’s unseasonably warm, even for here. There’s something very odd about picking your way along a snowy path while feeling as if you’re about to broil to death.
We’d stopped at a deli on the way to pick up sandwiches as big as our heads, so having climbed far enough and high enough to put a dent in the resulting calories, all we had to do was find a suitable picnic spot – somewhere with a view. Like the fire tower at the top of the trail…
With uninterrupted views of, well, everywhere, basically.
I could get used to this. Actually, I may already have…
December 15, 2013
I’ll say this for the drivers of Colorado – they have this uncanny ability to see bicycles. Coming up to an intersection on the way down to the river path yesterday I could see a line of cars queuing to turn across my path and started to brake, assuming that even if they did see me they would continue to turn either on the grounds that I was on a bike and thus obviously going too slowly to worry about, or that I was on a bike and thus didn’t matter. But no, as I got to the junction the massive pick up waiting to turn sat there still waiting to turn until I had got safely out of the way. And then on the way back, turning into a petrol station for essential lubricants (chapstick) and fuel (Pearson’s Salted Nut Rolls), the car waiting to pull out waited until I had pulled in. And if you’re reading this waiting for the surprising part of the story, then you haven’t cycled much in any British city.
But it’s not just on the bike. On foot, the cars actually stop when you want to cross the road, even if they are some way away or turning, which is fortunate as it will be at least a week before I can work out which way to look before crossing the road. There’s none of the UK-style game of chicken that you need to play to assert your rights on a zebra crossing where the drivers only grudgingly stop once you’ve stepped out into the road and only then if you pretend you can’t see them and act as if you’re going to walk right across the road in front of them – they just roll to a stop and wait patiently for you to cross, which given the width of the roads around here could be a while. Then again, it may be merely astonishment at seeing someone on foot at all.
And it’s not even just the drivers. Walking through the University campus this afternoon, some young skateboarders were tooling about at the entrance to the building we were headed for. ‘Stop and let these people past’ one young lad admonished his friend before he could launch himself down the steps we were heading for. I don’t know what the youth of today is coming to, frankly. Perhaps they’re just practising for the day when they have cars of their own and can freak the hell out of a visiting UK cyclist by noticing they exist.
December 14, 2013
It’s an occupational hazard of spending too much time looking at bikes on the internet that I start to notice them everywhere. And I suppose it’s an occupational hazard of being married to me that the other half can’t even spend an innocent layover in Atlanta without having me exclaiming over the airport’s Fire Rescue bikes (and Fire Rescue chaps – confusingly they’re medics, not firemen) and going over to ask if they minded me photographing their bikes (he did take the opportunity to ask them about the best place to eat while we were there). It will come as no surprise to anyone who cycles anywhere at all to learn that the bikes can get to an emergency faster than anything else, nor that even though they have awesomely loud sirens on their bikes (they demonstrated) people don’t get out of the way and get annoyed at the bikes trying to get past. And it will come as no surprise to anyone who reads this blog that seeing the bikes was pretty much the only good part of the whole journey.
Still, we made it, and we woke this morning to a bright sunny day which rapidly got up to a decent temperature. The bikes in the in-laws’ garage are about to get their annual three weeks of exercise, starting today with a quick trip down the river trail to check that all was in order.
December 19, 2012
Someone around here isn’t *quite* getting into the Christmas spirit, it looks like
I don’t think Santa’s going to be calling at their house in a hurry…
Meanwhile, if you can spot the deer in this picture, you’re doing well. There is one, honest, but for some reason they like to keep themselves well hidden…
Storms are forecast for tonight, so we’ve been out enjoying the sunshine while it lasts
December 31, 2010
… than sitting through someone’s holiday snaps, is sitting through their plane-by-plane and train-by-train account of their not-after-all disastrous (indeed miraculously but hence rather boringly snag-free) journey home. So I shall spare you the latter and merely inflict the former on you
The first one, by the way, is not a photo of where a really interesting bird was about 3 seconds before the picture was taken, but is just to remind me of what a properly blue sky looks like. Or indeed, any kind of a blue sky. If today was anything to go by, I’m going to need to keep referring to it until about March.
Here’s wishing you all a fantabulous new year and many more adventures in 2011. I shall be taking my jetlag to bed around about 9:30 so if you guys want to stay up and celebrate, please do so quietly.
December 14, 2010
There’s a town up in the mountains round here that we like to visit. It’s one of the few places in Colorado that I could imagine us actually living in.
I’m not entirely sure why.
Except that it seems to have its priorities right (actual number blacked out to protect the innocent)
And the views in the forests around it don’t hurt either.