Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Gas Prices and Adventures in Bike Riding

Everyone is crying about gas prices again, including me. I drive a VW Passat TDI- that's a diesel. It gets crazy-good fuel mileage, but I paid $3.21/gallon the last time I filled it up. Sometimes I wonder if it's really worth it- I get great mileage, but I pay more than most people pay for the high-test at the pump. The one thing I'm holding out on is that this car is going to last me 10 or more years. I think that what I won't be paying in car payments all those years eventually will cancel out what I pay at the pump. Lord, I hope so.

With that said, I'm trying to ride my bike more these days. I live close to Downtown Lakeland, so there's no reason why I can't run errands on my bike. This is evidenced by my last blog, Morning Bike Rides, Money Markets, etc.

This morning I set out to take my dry cleaning to the $1.75 cleaners on South Florida Avenue across from the evil Wal-Mart. I had something like four pair of dress pants, one dress and two shirts. It was a pile of clothes. And it was bulky. And, after riding several miles, it was heavy.

Hauling that many clothes on my bike was tricky. I had to neatly fold all my dirty dry cleaning and stuff it in my bicycle basket. I stuffed what wouldn't fit into my backpack. I'm sure I looked like the Clampetts rolling down the road with a bicycle basket and backpack full of dry cleaning, but at least people knew I am a well-dressed Clampett.

The $1.75 cleaners is much closer to home when I'm driving in my V-Dub. On my bike, it's like, 47 miles away.

Along the way, I'm dodging distracted drivers like I'm in a pinball machine. No one seems to believe in keeping crosswalks clear, or looking to see if anyone is in the crosswalk before turning. I mean, how could they? It takes far too much attention to light cigarettes, talk on cell phones and smack kids in the back seat while driving.

The ride back from the dry cleaners is much easier without 20 pounds of dry cleaning, although I have to say, that backpack full of clothing kept my back warm during the ride.

I ride to Southgate Shopping Center to check the hours at Marshall's Jewelry. They don't open until 9:30 a.m., and I'm not hanging out an hour and a half to buy my Dreadnaughts football tickets. This will be a trip for the V-Dub this afternoon.

I continue along South Florida Avenue all the way to Downtown, which I wouldn't recommend in the morning. If the distracted drivers don't mow you down, the exhaust from all those cars will make it nearly impossible to breathe.

I cruised on down to Lakeland Cash Feed, a farm and feed store I dearly love for a couple of reasons. 1) They carry a great line of traps to catch various and sundry vermin that like to call my back yard home. 2) Lake Mirror Animal Hospital is located in the same building. 3)The chicken feed is cheap.

I buy 10 pounds of scratch and 5 pounds of lay crumb for my chicken who quit laying eggs after she was attacked- for the second time- by an opossum. Yet I still feed her, in hope that she will come around. I get one bag in my basket and the other in my backpack.

Holy cow. This is heavier than my dry cleaning. So maybe I exaggerated on the whole "20 pounds of dry cleaning" earlier.

As I'm leaving, I think about my non-egg-laying chicken and ask Gary, the manager, if he will have any chicks in the spring.

And here is where I learn my first odd fact of the day: Gary says no, that the City of Lakeland won't let him have chicks (or ducks either, I assume) because he's in the Historic District.

I'm shocked. After all, this is a farm and feed store. All farm and feed stores have baby chicks in the spring. And what does the fact that he's in a Historic District have to do with anything? If anyone knows the answer to this, I would love to be enlightened.


Chuck Welch said...

I bet you can find your Historic District answer here:

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