Sunday, 30 March 2008

On the signs of Spring

"Spring is here! Spring is here!
Life is skittles and Life is beer!"

From "Poisoning pigeons in the park" by Tom Lehrer

I was walking around the Plateau this afternoon in order to gather information about the possibilities at various bike shops. Bicycles are re-surfacing on the streets in more ways than one. People are starting to use their bikes, and indeed their trikes. I saw a pair of well wrapped toddlers pedaling down the sidewalk on tricycles. While I was waiting to speak with a sales clerk, the customer he was dealing with was saying that she would be on her bike in another few weeks, and there was a bustle about the shop that there hadn't been several weeks earlier. (Mind you, on that day one of the worst snow storms to hit Montréal in my lifetime had been happening.)

Another way bikes are re-surfacing could be seen as less desirable. The Plateau has a very high density of bike owners. At the same time, the buildings in the area have relatively little space to house bikes inside. This results in the habit of leaving bikes outside a lot. In summer, it is almost easier to park a car than to find a good spot to lock one's bike! However, it seems to me that too many people leave their bikes on the street in the winter. As a result of this, they get schmucked (to use a Margo-ism) by sidewalk plows. I saw a surprising number of bikes in various states of mangled still locked to posts. While some of them had been clunkers to begin with, others looked like they had been quite good.

Spring is arriving in Montreal along with worries about snowmelt flood worries. For my part, I am at my usual ponder for this time of year about when to start biking to work. For me, biking and snow don't mix. As there is a considerable quantity of the latter left, it will be a while before I start biking to work. However, how much of a while is important as it could be a little as two weeks and as much as four. This is relevant as I have to decide whether to buy a monthly bus pass for April or whether I should get by with weekly passes. Decisions, decisions.

"And maybe we'll do
In a squirrel or two,
While we're poisoning pigeons in the park.
We'll murder them all amid laughter and merriment.
Except for the few we take home to experiment."

From "Poisoning pigeons in the park" by Tom Lehrer

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