Errands on the Mundo Yuba (and what I saw on the ride)

I had the day off today and had a bunch of errands to run. The temperature was hovering around 32F, and the sun was out (at least for the first portion of the day). I probably covered about 20 miles (I'm guessing, as I do not have an odometer), taking into consideration the convoluted and meandering route I took home. I have to say that I'd be lying if I didn't admit that it was a bit of a huff riding that distance on the Yuba (at least on the way home, when the temperature dropped and the winds were blowing against me).

I've often used the word "tank" to describe this bike, because it is so solidly built and feels as if it can go through anything. But while I was riding it today it dawned on me that it has more of a "boat feel," a big cushy boat just gliding is truly a fun and comfortable bike to ride, even with head winds. And no matter what load your carrying (big or small) there is absolutely no sway to the frame or how it steers, granting everything is tied down snug.

Anyhow, about halfway through my jaunt I was feeling depleted and saw this brand new and empty bike rack in front of a Tim Horton's, so I went in for a caffeine and sugar fix. Coffee is one of my vices.

I was in North Buffalo at the time, and even though this is still within the city limits it really has a suburban feel to it in places, this being one of them. I noticed straight away how not only were there no bikes locked up, but there was a trail of cars leading around the building cued to the drive through window. After parking my bike I went inside and I was literally the only customer inside the shop, the place was bustling but from the outside-in. I'm sure it would have been much faster for many of the people to park their cars and walk into the store; but that's just it, I guess...they'd have to leave their cars. Here's a photo with cars leading around the building: car is king. (But for how long, that's the real question?)

Here's a photo of one of the bike racks that are replacing parking meters around the city. I had mentioned them in an earlier post comparing them to the bike racks in Toronto. If you'd like to read that post, click here. I am really impressed by them; I think it's one of the better (and simpler) things our city is doing.

Now here's what worries me a little. This is a photo of Allen Street. One of the new ticket stations which are replacing the metres is in the foreground, but that's not what worries me. What worries me is the lack of completed bike racks on all the other headless meters. There's a completed one next to the ticket station, and than a row of stumps; it's like that throughout the city...just a smattering of completed bike racks and a whole lot of stumps.

One of the (many) things that I have always enjoyed about riding a bike is that you get to see so much. Take today, for example. I could have completed all my errands in about an hour or so, but instead I took a meandering bike ride (that also included a stop at the health club, lunch, coffee, and and shopping for some staple items). Riding the bike took a better portion of the afternoon, but it was so enjoyable...and I burned calories not gasoline. And I probably would not have gone out of my way to stop and see the demolition of a local landmark (more on that in a minute). What is truly for sure, is that if I were in a car I most certainly not have took a short-cut (a long-cut, actually, because it was out of my way) through Delaware Park. This park is an oasis in the city no matter what season. It was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, who also designed, among others, Central Park, in NYC. Part of the fun to ride a bike through Delaware Park is to go across the curly pedestrian bridge that goes over the highway next to it; the bridge has a corkscrew ramp on both ends.

Here's a photo of Hoyt Lake from the bridge. By looking at this photo you'd never know that you were in the middle of a city...beautiful.

Here's a photo of the Yuba at water's edge.

Now back to the local landmark that I mentioned earlier. I'm of course referring to Buffalo Memorial Auditorium. It was built in 1939 and has seen it's day. It has been replaced by the HSBC Arena. Almost like an omen, the newer, more modern arena hulks just behind the older one (and almost eerily hulking behind the arena is a grain elevator, reminding us of Buffalo's history on the Erie Canal.

It's good that it is being demolished to make way for progress (hopefully to bring some new life into that section of the city), but it's also bitter sweet for me (and for many, from what I've heard). There are, of course, a lot of memories associated with the building. At some point, my late mother, father, and grandmother all worked at the auditorium. Not only did the Buffalo Sabers play there for many years, but there have been numerous concerts. It was, in fact, where I saw my first concert (the Kiss Alive tour of 1975...hey, I was 14!). Anyhow, here's a facsimile of a postcard of the original Aud (If you are a Buffalonian, that's what it will forever be called: The Aud.)

Here's a picture of the front doors from the not-so-distant-past (this is obvious because it's already boarded up). I, along with countless other drunken or high youths passed that threshold on numerous occasions.

Here is what the front looks like now (note the Mundo Yuba in the bottom of the photo). It looks like a war zone. Alas, bittersweet...bittersweet indeed.

My final note in this post is on the weather, specifically Buffalo weather. When I left the house this afternoon around 12:30pm it was bright and sunny, albeit a little chilly. Shortly thereafter it became somewhat overcast, and it stayed like that for most of the rest of the afternoon. Then, rather suddenly, I noticed it becoming darker. Then a few flakes appeared. And then it was as if angels cut open a cloud full of snowflakes...almost instantly it was snowing to where the flakes blurred my vision (I really do need to get a set of ski goggles). We only got an inch or two of snow before it stopped (which is not even worth mentioning in Buffalo), but it happened so quickly that it took me by surprise...lake effect snow, I suppose. In a car I may have found this annoying, but on a bike, being out in the elements--being part of the elements--I found it truly beautiful.

In Buffalo there's a saying about the weather: If you don't like the weather, wait a minute. And today this could not have been more accurate.