Today I biked to Wal-Mart. Really. I had never been to the south side Wal-Mart, but today I broke my tradition of not patronizing any business newly built, and biked out there. The only vision care provider in Springfield that accepts the medical card is, you guessed it, Wal-Mart. I don't link up the words Wal-Mart and quality very often, but the eye doctor seemed competent and all that (and had the same name as my dad).
Since Wal-Marts are usually built in sprawl, they can be a challenge to get to on bike. Fortunately, the frontage road goes right to it, and that road is not too scary. Courage!!! It took me about 25 minutes to bike there, and I didn't nearly die playing in traffic. I like to bike in the driving lane, as generally the road is smoother and I can go faster on the street than on the sidewalk. I've learned, though, if I hug the side of the road, cars pass me ridiculously close. But if I get waaaay out there in the middle of the lane, they tend to pass me more like a car, staying well beyond my perceived safety zone.
I rode to the bike shop on MacArthur to check out their used bike selection. I am looking for a bike that fits me a little better. They had a couple of nice old bikes, but nothing that fits me any better than what I currently have. Partly, I am just so short. I can't touch the ground on my current bike. I'd like to be able to tag-along with Kaleigh, but I don't feel safe enough when I can't touch the ground. The other issue with my bike is that the handlebars require this aching shoulder kind of position. I can sit straight up on my bike as long as I'm not too worried about being able to reach my brakes. I'm biking enough that it makes a difference to my body, and I want to be comfortable.
I've looked into bike auctions. The city only auctions off the bikes that aren't functional, and the rest they donate to Catholic Charities (although no one at CC knows how to apply for a bike, and they swear they don't get donated bikes). The county auctions off recovered bikes, but they haven't had a bike auction for two years, and don't know when the next one will be. I will keep my eyes open and hope the universe provides something for me.
Did I mention how much I enjoy riding my bike? I think I rode about 11 miles today, which is the most I've ever ridden in one day. I am hoping in the next week or two to bike out toward Rochester on the trail. I'm told it's really pleasant out there, and seeing a river and trees and hearing quiet sounds like a nice change.