Friday, March 30, 2007
Commuting Dreams and a Broken Couch
I purchased a new couch from Fred Meyer's last week. Capt'n balance pointed out that the frame is broken - the arm isn't connected to the base. I never noticed it, the only visible signs are a slight wrinkle in the fabric at the base of the couch, on the side, not visible to you while sitting on the couch and he noticed the arm move out when Bike Boy sat down on it. I called Fred Meyer, they said it has to go through the manufacturer, who would come out and either fix it or replace it. I finally get in touch with the manufacture (not in Alaska), they say I have to go through the retailer - Fred Meyer. I call Fred Meyers, they say it's not their problem because it's been 2 weeks since I purchased it. I tell them it's not been 2 weeks since I 1st contacted them, I spoke to 1 male employee, who put me through to a lady employee who told me to contact the manufacture. It took a few days to get the manufacturer due to weekend and my work hours, the time differences caused delays, the manufacturer tell me to go through the retailer so I'm back where I started. So today, the department supervisor is on vacation and the assistant supervisor is not in today, maybe he will be there tomorrow. I have my receipt and all other paperwork, there is NOTHING that says there are no returns except within the 1st 24 hours. As I tried to explain to the 2nd person I spoke to today at Fred Meyer, THEY have been giving me incorrect information, based on THEIR directions, they have responsibility in this not being resolved in time-limits which they don't tell consumers about. I still have a broken couch, have not been able to talk to a single person who can actually help me and no end in sight. I am NOT happy about this.
I want the snow to be gone, the air to warm up. I want to start riding to work. BUT there is still snow on the ground, the air still has a chill, the bike path is still lost under snow.
I told Capt'n Balance that I am really looking forward to riding to/from work again. He isn't excited about it. He is concerned about me crashing on my skinny tires, getting hit by a truck, kidnapped and anything else that can go wrong. I certainly don't want anything to go wrong. Those are all possibilities. I all the precautions that I can. Probably the most dangerous part of my ride is crossing a main road, the bike path is in a really bad spot, not at a corner or a stop and I have to cross 5 lanes. It's a poorly thought out cross. Then about a hundred yards from that cross, the bike path becomes part of the road and a 90 degree turn is shared. This is a bad design because the only thing separating the road from the path is the painted yellow line, which wears away very quickly and the vehicles end up using the entire bike path as part of the turn. As this is an on-ramp, the road and path continue up a pretty steep hill. Going the opposite direction on this section, I can pick up a lot of speed, this hill is long and the steepest part of the entire ride. Going this direction, the hill ends at the 90 degree turn. Since vehicles are on the bike path 95% of the time, extra caution is required going both directions. There is no signs up showing the bike path is there and once the paint is gone, it's easy for the drivers not to even know they are on the bike path, so I don't blame them.
I then go through 2 more major high-volume intersections but I feel pretty ok there because vehicles have to stop, everything is well-marked and I am hard to miss with my hi-vis clothing.
The next problem area is another well-marked intersection BUT it is near a high school so there are a lot of stupid teenage drivers who don't know pedestrian laws, may parents who are dropping off kids who are in a big rush, etc. These drivers tend to look right through me, make right turns without looking and are just plain stupid.
One section is also regularly covered with a few inches of gravel and rocks kicked up by 4-wheelers, there is so much gravel you can't even see any pavement. My skinny tires can't ride that so I have to go into the road until it's cleaned off.
I recently purchased a hi-vis illumnite jacket and a Cygo-lite li-ion dual cross light. The small battery is GREAT! I won't need the light until fall, soon it won't get dark at all.
I'm thinking of taking the Kona out for it's maiden ride outside today. The road near my home is dry and ice-free, traffic shouldn't be too bad if I get out early enough. I have a few things to do today so it depends on if I have time.