Committed utility cyclist though I am, it’s hard to shake off the feeling around here that to cycle to the actual shops – the big box stores where about 90% of the retail happens in Pueblo, not the little antiques places and coffee shops in the historic downtown – is to commit a category error. It’s not that you can’t, it’s just that to do so when you have access to a car is verging on the perverse, like hopping when you have two legs, or walking around backwards with your hair combed over your face.
However, I had a present to get for the other half. and wanted to take the opportunity to do so discreetly while he was out shopping for his father. Technically, I could have asked to borrowed the other car and driven myself but in reality given my driving skillz at the best of times let alone on the wrong side of the road, I didn’t want to do that to my in-laws. And besides, I had access to a bike, the weather was fine and not too cold, Barnes & Noble isn’t all that far away, and besides, I like the idea of using a bike to get around, even if it is against the grain. The other half might consider cycling to the shops as a good way to ruin a nice bike ride, whereas I think of it as a great way to improve an otherwise boring shopping trip.
So I set off. The river path joins up with a footway that runs alongside Highway 50 over the Fountain Creek, so it wasn’t as if I had to tangle with the really hairy roads, even though this part of town is pure driving country
Someone had decided to put a ginormous block of concrete across the path in the direction I wanted to go, but I didn’t let that stop me
Once under the highway, I realised why, but fortunately it wasn’t too hairy to ride around the gap along the drainage channel, with no real danger that I’d end up cycling into the river
Over the bridge, thanking my lucky stars that I wasn’t having to take the lane and man up or any of those other things the ‘real’ cyclists seem to think you should do.
Colorado law allows you to cycle on the sidewalk, except where prohibited. I decided that the ‘bike route’ sign implied this wasn’t one of the prohibied places. So all I had to do was get up the hill – Barnes and Noble was in the row of huge shops opposite the Walmart in the distance.
I’ll say this for Pueblo, it has sidewalks and pedestrian crossings everywhere you might need them. Even if it was just me and the homeless guy actually using them.
In truth, with a bit of ingenuity and if you’re happy to ride on the pavement it was perfectly doable, and there was even bike parking right outside the bookshop door (and no problem finding a space). The only flaw in my plan was that there are very few shops in Pueblo that sell the sort of things we’re likely to buy, so just as I finished paying for the other half’s present, feeling very pleased with myself for managing to sneak out and get something all by myself, in he walked and caught me red handed…