Thursday, August 13, 2009

Let Annie Begin

Annie patiently waits in front of the Mecklenburg County/State Courthouse for me to arrive so we can go ride. Here she is rolling up 4th street with the recently fortified walls of The Federal Reserve(cash Distribution Center) to her right and the king and queen on the global Chess Board up ahead on the Hill. That is Bank of in all literal sense America on the left and the BOA owned Hearst Tower on the right. As soon as she crossed the next intersection she stood up and danced on the pedals like Contador without the smug attitude which put me to task trying to stay with her up to Tryon.
As this huge garbage truck powered by Annie had a flashback of a cat being thrown at her while in Istanbul. This time she was ready.
Annie often has to jock for position at bike racks uptoon with motorized faux Italian Scooters.
A parting glance of the Jar from south to north, the new sunset.
My favorite image of the shoot shows the contrast of human energy.
Meet Annie, a 24 year old Charlottean who has been riding her bike since being a little kid in this tin can town and abroad. Her parents must be great folks to have given her a pastoral upbringing with mountain bike transfers in Utah and the Tsali region of NC. As well they encouraged her to ride around here while growing up way before it was a good idea. Not long ago on the latter stages of an in inbound Stay Alive I rolled up behind her rolling and said, "Hell-Oh!" I recognized her bike from the South End is Near Cool and Cool where I saw it locked in fine form. We rode together for a bit and it hit me during the 18mph convo that her energy was giving me some sort of unidentified emotional transfer. I ran into her again on her bike last Friday at the SEC&C wine tasting fun fest. I also met a German National named Thomas, an Italian National named Vittorio and a Libyan American who just spent 3 years in Massa Carrara Italy named Mansour but that is an entirely different blog.

Anyways, when ever I see someone on their bike for the 3rd time I ask them for a B-Log interview. Sometimes they ride away fast like their hair is on fire making a lot of turns but not this kid. She smiled and said, "Sure, my neighbor and her kids have already been on your blog, why not." So, we met Tuesday and hung out on the two wheeled machines for a bit while chatting. I found out that Annie has lived in London, Italy and most recently Istanbul Turkey where she dwelled for a year, returning to America this past January. I went there once in 1988 when Annie was 3 years old after a 2 week field op in the mountains on a Med-Float with 2/4 and the 24th MEU(Marine Expeditionary Unit). I remember funny beer, snake charmers in the corner and tasty snake fooding treats. Kowalski, keep your eyes on the target. While Annie was in Turkey she taught English at The Oxford English School and commuted as much as she could by bike. She spent 100 Turkish Lira on a bike that she described as, "Worse than a Wal-mart Bike." Annie noted that when she rode in Turkey she wore a helmet and she was perhaps the only one in that fine nation who chose to do so. Any got hit while riding in Turkey by a cat. She said that one day she was JRA(Just Riding{or Rolling} Along) on a Turkish street. Up ahead she passed a garbage truck while one of the garbage men was trying to dump a dumpster that had a cat sitting on top of it. Just as she passed by the Turkish garbage man unknowingly tossed the cat from over head high right into her path. Eek Gads, a flying feline in Turkey! The kitty slammed into her arm and bounced off, neither cat or human were injured so life in Istanbul went on.

Riding around with this girl made me feel weak. She killed me up 4th Street as if she was trying to break my back over her ever spinning knees. When I finally mustered the strength to get back on her wheel she told me that since being back in Charlotte she has volunteered 3 days a week for the local Trips For Kids where she gets to work on bikes and encourage the younger generation to take the 2 wheeled Path. Good on you Annie. The timing of this introduction is perfect for this dedicated rider is moving to Chicago this weekend for the next phase of her life. She does not have a job but she does have a safe place to go and she will be bringing her bike along for the transfer. There are a lot of nooks and crannies to discover by bicycle in that town that I am sure she will find. In Winter go outer layer Gore-tex mitts(wind block fleece inner), gore jacket(poly, wool inner), gore pants(poly, wind block fleece inner), good boots/socks and good head gear. That equipment will nullify any effects of wind chill. WIND CHILL DOES NOT EXIST, if you have a vapor barrier between your skin and the air! Layer up this winter and you will be fine, better than great. Charlotte will miss you Annie but you won't miss it!

I only asked one direct question, the rest was talk.
Here is the direct question: What is it like to ride in Charlotte?
Here is the direct answer:

What is is like to bike in Charlotte? Riding in Charlotte has definitely improved since I was in highschool, when I was the only person I knew who rode my bike as transportation as well as for fun. It feels great to ride around the city and see other cyclists, however poorly Charlotte may compare to other American cities where bikers are a significant proportion of the population on the streets. However, the cycling community in Charlotte is sadly fragmented, which means we all seem to complain about bad treatment from drivers, whom I feel really just don't know what to do when a bike is on the road, without actually working together to make those drivers and non-cyclists aware of our rights and how much we care about being out there on our bikes. My best friends in Charlotte are cyclists, and my favorite times are when I'm with them working on bikes at the re-cyclery in NoDa or riding with them all over the city.


Jordy said...

thats one beautiful interview, billy. bet i can name a few folks shes going to run into in shirtcago, or the windy shirty. good luck annie.

wv: stermids

Billy Fehr said...