Yesterday, Vic and I went on one of our regular walks around campus. As I don’t get much exercise outside of mowing the lawn every week or so, this is our way of keeping me fit (kinda) and trim (mostly).
We set out from the parking lot at WILL-TV and walked down Goodwin Avenue. Just after crossing Green Street, we were startled when a student on a bike came pedaling up. The conversation went something like this:
Him: “Excuse me, could you help me out? I lost my I-Card and I don’t have enough money to get back to Melrose.” (The I-Card is the University of Illinois’ ID card. Students can use it as an ATM or debit card.)
Me: “Melrose?” (Thought bubble: Is there a city named Melrose? Does he want me to give him a ride?)
Vic: “He means the Melrose Apartments.”
Me: “But you have a bike!”
Him: Blah, blah…some lame excuse there being no sidewalks on Lincoln Avenue and not wanting to get hit. I’d really stopped listening by this point.
Me: (Speechless. Thought bubble: “But you have a BIKE!”)
Vic: “I’m not sure we even have a dollar on us.”
Me: (Recalling that I in fact have four or five singles in my wallet.) “Nope. Sorry.”
And so we went on. I don’t know what happened to the kid on the bike. For all I know, he’s still pedaling around campus like some two-wheeled Flying Dutchman.
But here’s the thing. Vic and I are two fortysomethings who regularly take walks much further than the distance between Goodwin & Green and the Melrose Apartments. And this kid was not only half our age and presumably fit enough, but…
HE HAD A BIKE.
Possibly not this one.
Anyhow, at the risk of going off the deep end, here is a map I compiled of the area:
The arrow numbered “1″ is where we met Mr. Bike. The arrow numbered “2″ is the location of the Melrose Apartments. The purple line is the route that Vic and I take around campus.
Pop geography quiz. Question #1: You are a twentysomething male on a Barbie bicycle. You have to travel 1.5 miles to your apartment complex, but you have lost your debit card, your wallet, your spare change and all your friends. You are concerned about the lack of sidewalks and bike paths on Lincoln Avenue, even though it’s the middle of a sunny afternoon. Do you:
- a) Ride your bike up Lincoln Avenue, taking care to observe the rules of the road and watch out for traffic?
- b) Ride your bike until you reach Lincoln Avenue, then hop off and walk it the rest of the way?
- c) Find an alternate route that avoids Lincoln Avenue, say a back street such as Goodwin?
- d) Ride in the opposite direction, hoping to hit up people twice your age for spare change like a velocipeding panhandler?
Write your answer in the form of a question, then send it to me. I’ll get back to you with your test results. Please remember to include a dollar for handling costs.
Updated: By the way, I’ve since driven down Lincoln Avenue and noted that there are, in fact, sidewalks all the way down both sides of the street. So he was just a lying panhandler on wheels.