Monday, April 12, 2010

Minerva Goes to Brookline

This morning the Scientist headed off to Bermuda for a field research trip, and I headed to the Dentist.  No,  life is not fair.

My new dentist is in Coolidge Corner Brookline,  which is a tough ride through Brighton/ Allston from my house.  It’s not that far, it’s just that a) traffic is pretty bad along the arterials in that part of town b) to keep people from cutting through the neighborhoods, the side streets are all one ways to keep you out, and c) the arterials are lined with parked cars and the occasional double parked delivery vehicle.  Add a busy bus line, a couple of train tracks and an intersection where two bikers have been killed,  and I was not looking forward to it.  

To make matters worse,  I took Robert apart this weekend and started putting his parts on the new bike frame.  I’m about 1/3 done, which means that I’ll be riding Minerva probably the rest of the week.  While Minerva is lovely to look at and a pleasure to ride,  I’m still not as completely comfortable with the gearing and the braking as I’d like to be riding in tough traffic.  I was planning on biking mostly on the bike path this week to compensate.

I left super early, partly in hopes that I would miss the worst traffic, and also to allow time if I needed to detour or otherwise re-evaluate.   And….. It wasn’t bad.

I did become a pedestrian to make the left turn at the intersection where two bikers have been killed.  People run the light, and jackrabbit their left turns, and I just didn’t feel comfortable hanging out in the middle of the intersection with my left hand hanging out, waiting for a break in traffic. After that hitch, things went surprisingly smoothly, and there were even some of the new bike lanes along Harvard street.  Evidently they were just painted.  Like over the weekend.           

I pulled up a few blocks short of my destination,  30 minutes early, and decided to grab a coffee- only to realize that I didn’t have a lock!  My normal lock was in a pile with the rest of Robert’s accessories in the basement.  There wasn’t time to go back and at 8AM the chances of finding a lock for sale in the neighborhood were nil.  

So I headed to the dentist’s office, found a secluded location back in a corner of a parking garage, tucked Minerva behind a jersey barrier, and went up to the office.  I told the receptionist that I was worried about it,  and she said- bring it on up- we have people do that all the time!  I knew I liked this dentist!
When I brought Minerva up, and she realized how big she is, the receptionist balked a little,  and we ended up putting her in a unused corridor that leads to the emergency exit stairs.  

An hour later, I emerged, teeth clean and shiny, to find Minerva waiting for me.  Biking in Boston isn't so bad!


  1. All's well that ends well! Though I'm left wondering why my scientist isn't bringing me to Bermuda!

  2. I've forgotten my lock once or thrice. :) Never a good thing. Good think the dentist let you bring in your bike, though. I got the same nice treatment from PetCo before. Forgetting your bike lock is actually a good way to test the compassion and bike friendliness of businesses.

  3. Glad to hear that you've conquered that notorious stretch of the Boston area. To be honest I am quite glad that I have no business being there; my Cambridge-Somerville-South Boston - West Newton routes are enough for me to deal with.

    After too many instances of forgetting the lock, I now have a dedicated lock for each of my "main rides" that stays inside that bike's bag and doesn't get removed!

  4. I'm afraid that Minerva needs her own dedicated lock anyway. Something about the geometry- the rake angle of the fork, the double tubes, the larger wheels- makes it really hard to lock up with my normal lock. There are longer locks, and I'm trying to decide whether to get a longer lock or a lock- cable combo for frame/ wheels locking.
    I have another lock that I got as a Christmas present, but it's not long enough, and it's not a standard model- as far as I can tell, it's an only model, so I can't exchange it at a local shop...

  5. Aw, poor Minerva! She's just big-boned!