As I ride more and more frequently for practical reasons, I find that riding is the easy part, even on hilly terrain or busy streets. In fact, I enjoy mapping out new bicycle-friendly routes for myself and discovering the best ways to get somewhere on a bike. The hard part is what to do with my bike when I get there.
Last weekend, I needed to make a trip to the pharmacy (and needed an excuse to use my new pannier bags), so I left the kids with Daddy (thanks, Honey) and hopped on the bike. I hadn't ridden to this particular area before, so it was like a new little adventure on some different roads.
The ride there was uneventful; however, when I arrived, I realized that there was no bike rack to lock up my bike. No signposts, no shopping cart racks, no trees, nothing. The closest I could find to an immovable object was a rickety chain link fence, hardly immovable (or unbreakable) for an enterprising person. Conveniently, though, there was a competing pharmacy across the street, with a beautifully solid bike rack visible even from where I stood. Eureka! I was quite proud of myself, both for being so resourceful and for supporting a business that supported bicycling.
Of course, as these things happen, the bike-friendly pharmacy did not carry what I needed (how can it be so hard to find infant vitamin D drops when they're recommended for all breastfed babies?). So, back I went, somewhat sheepishly, to the bicycle-hostile pharmacy. I ended up locking my bike to the sturdy fence of the Starbuck's in the next parking lot.
It was not difficult, except that the footing was awkward as the fence was placed between a sidewalk and some decorative loose rocks. Not used to my pannier bags and not considering the physics implications, I removed one pannier bag to move the bike closer, and the whole bike tipped over, scratching my leg on its way down. Picking up my bike, I instinctively glanced around to make sure no one had noticed. I hadn't realized it until that moment, but the pharmacy with no bike rack had three drive-through lanes on one side of the building, and I was in the direct line of sight of three drivers as I righted my bike and examined my injuries with embarrassment.
This pharmacy, which had not seen fit to provide any secure place for me to park my vehicle, had made it possible for not one, not two, but three motorists to simultaneously avoid even having to get out of theirs.