Friday, July 8, 2011

Bicycle season

Oh, it's that time of year again.

Little Rehoboth, with its minimal sidewalks, shoulders and parking, is crowded to absolutely capacity once again. Each year it seems like more and more people come, and Rehoboth has done nothing to remedy the (non) parking situation, or the fact that we still pay antiquated parking meters QUARTERS....and to add insult to injury, it's not like you only have to put a few quarters in, you get 12 minutes for one quarter. This means that having a roll of quarters on your person is pretty necessary if you want to park for any period of time. Assuming, of course, you can actually find a parking spot. Considering that most people don't carry cash on them anymore, most people also don't carry rolls of quarters on them. Need change? No problem. There's two change machines. In all of Rehoboth. BUT they're ONLY on Rehoboth Avenue, so if you need them and you're way down by the Henlopen Hotel....well, sorry....guess you'll have to give up your treasured spot and drive back to the change machine, or walk there and take the chance that you'll get a ticket while you're walking the six or seven blocks to get to the change machine. That'll take you about twenty minutes to get there and back, if you walk fast, and I can pretty much promise you that that is plenty of time for an energetic parking meter enforcer to take care of you, real quick. Well, you can always go into a shop to get quarters, right??? Not so much. Shop owners detest giving quarters, and frankly...they can't keep enough quarters on hand to begin to accomodate the tens of thousands of people here. And besides, they have a business to run, and don't fancy themselves to be banks.

The other alternative is a parking permit. Locals who live in town (I kid you NOT) have to have parking permits if they want to park in front of their own homes. Uh yup. Other locals who don't live downtown really bristle when it comes to buying parking permits. It seems insulting to pay for something like that, when you park there the other 9 months of the year for free. Stupid, stupid....but we have to play the game too. Dart? The Shoobie bus? Yeah, you can do that, if the bus schedule works with yours.

But let's talk about bikes. And the God-awful red and white striped buggy things. I love to talk about them every year, it never gets old. For me. I was driving to work this morning, coming down Columbia Avenue. Two abundant women were in front of me on bikes. Now, they were riding at a pace that amazed me - I always thought that if you pedaled that slowly, you would actually fall over due to the lack of momentum. But amazingly enough, they remained upright. They had their litte "Rent Me at......" metal license plates dangling from their bike seats. They wore no helmets and certainly were in no hurry. Why, they were sightseeing! They were on vacation. And it didn't matter that they were driving in the lane....there was no shoulder...well, there kind of was a shoulder, but it was all rocky and they "rode" in the lane. I patiently lagged behind them, smiling broadly as I watched them thoroughly enjoy their vacation and work diligently on burning at least 20 calories at that pace, and waited for my turn to quietly pass them. I couldn't pass them, of course, because Columbia is 2 way traffic and cars were coming toward me. The pleasantly abundant ladies were not concerned about me getting to work on time, of course, because they were on vacation after all, and really....that's what Rehoboth is all about, isn't it? I mean really.

And the striped buggy things? If bazookas were legal, and I could strap one to the front of my car or just carry one strapped across my chest, I would. I would blow each and every one of them off the road in an instant. From a distance, close-up, wherever they may be. You'd have to be here to get it. They are the foulest, most obnoxious touristy things around. They take up lanes, full sidewalks and the majority of the southern end of the boardwalk. And yeah, they pedal those really, really slow. But they won't tip over because they're on four wheels. They also like to stop completely, with no warning, in the middle of wherever they are, to adjust junior's helmet, eat a piece of taffy or extinguish their cigarettes.

Ain't life grand???

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