Ever since I have been working in urban planning/market analysis/land use economics there are two things people always talk about wanting to see in Denver: 1) Ikea and 2) Trader Joe’s. So I figured while I have time to kill I might as well make the ride into Emeryville for both. For those of you who don’t know, I made the move out to the bay area with a one-way flight, a pack full of clothes, and my bike. I thought it might be a good idea to check out Ikea to see how the Sweeds might help me in furnishing an apartment. I crossed the freeway at the Berkeley Marina Ped Bridge at sunset. For those of you that know me, I am a sucker for pedestrian bridges and at sunset I couldn’t resist.
Well it turns out that the particle board, made in Taiwan Ikea ethos might not be the best fit for me. I got completely lost three times. Following the damn gray path with the arrows is difficult when you have so many awesome rooms labeled by their square footage and all the accompanying crap you can fit into them. There are two times in my life when I felt like I fell into the rabbit hole.
1) When May D&F turned into Foley’s at Southglenn Mall. I was maybe thirteen years old and half the store looked like the store I knew and half the store looked new. Not to mention there where mirrors all over the place during remodeling.
2) Today at Ikea. Who needs hallucinogens when you can take a trip to Ikea?
Next stop was Trader Joe’s. Trader Joe’s is rad. Oh Sunflower, I hope you can give them a run for their money. This is what I was able to get for $30 and a good example of what a healthy (sort of) diet living out of a hotel room looks like.
On my ride home there was a ridiculous head wind on the trail along the Bay. Cranking but going nowhere. I never even thought that I might see surf in the East Bay, but it happened tonight. I was happy to get back across the bridge (oh my beautiful pedestrian bridge) and into the shelter of Berkeley from the wind. I was riding up University on my way back to the Nash when a car passed me and yelled, “get on the bike boulevard!” Now, let me tell you this is not the first time this has happened since I have been in Berkeley.
This is the same sort of garbage that I heard in Denver when cyclists are told to get on the sidewalk. Seriously? He was lucky I was still buzzing on my Trader Joe’s high or he would have caught the wrong end of my U-Lock. Maybe not, but a middle finger and a big Fuck You for sure. It made me think about the “status” of platinum bike cities for sure. So Berkeley has an AMAZING system of bike boulevards for those who don’t know.
One thing that these bike boulevards definitely do is increase the safety, or perception of safety, for new (or hesitant) bike commuters which is awesome. The other thing it does is separate the perceived mode use of public streets.
The reason this guy got so mad at me tonight is because he thought I was on his turf. The major thoroughfare of University is not designated as a bike boulevard, therefore it is solely for automobile use right? Wrong. The whole modal separation thing only propagates the state of mind that, “this is mine, and that is yours.”
Well what happens in the real world when our completely separate rights of way intersect? Chaos? Anarchy? I have news for all of us cyclists out there, in that case we would lose against all the 2,000 pound sin bins looking for a scuffle. That is death by bumper before the emissions even get to us. Share the road, is that the answer? Well with the way that streets are designed now, no.
When I was talking with Alyssa she brought up a good point. What about the responsibility of the cyclist in use of the roadway? In Denver the Cherry Creek Trail is an awesome amenity. But what happens when the cyclists gets back to street grade? Am I supposed to be riding on the sidewalk like the drivers on Speer and 13th expect me to do? Should I be riding in the left lane to make the turn to King Soopers in rush hour traffic? Shit, lots of question marks in this one.