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Monday, July 06, 2015

Stormy Weather

So it's kind of a point of pride with me, I check the weather report but I don't let the weatherman tell me if I can ride my bike. Extreme weather rides are kind of fun, anyway, they're generally epic and if you gear up, they're not dangerous.

People at work will fret and tell me, it's starting to spit. Whatever. My stock response is that I've never yet melted. I don't even lose weight.

But tonight, the short term forecast was looking really grim. Tornadoes, hail, 70 mph winds, and I was like, well, maybe the bus will get me home ahead of it. Of course, home was in the direction the storm was coming from so I didn't put a ton of hope in this scheme, but it was worth a shot. It was that or try and hole up in some bar and wait the storm out, I guess, and maybe if I'd ridden to Buzzard Beach that would have been okay, but most of those Downtown bars are overpriced and depressing.

I got on the MAX at 75th & Broadway and looked at the black sky and I just knew it wasn't any hour off no matter what my phone said. And sure enough, by 63rd Street it was coming down in sheets. At which point I realized the visibility was shit. I've ridden in such, and been buzzed by a freaking UPS van. That's a professional driver, usually the least of a cyclist's worries, but he probably never even saw me. So I thought, well, the bus.

So when I got downtown on the Max, I got off at 12th & main, the closest it gets to the 10th & Main transit station the KCK busses hit. If geniuses ran our transit system, a line like the MAX would connect with the Connex KCK busses directly, but not only is it not run by geniuses, it really isn't run by anyone. That's because KCMO, KCK, Johnson County, etc., all have independent transit systems. Let's have a multitude of useless fiefdoms instead of one functional system.

You could probably unify it all, increase frequency and add many BRT routes for what it costs to put a streetcar on a couple of miles of downtown that were already throughly serviced by transit. A streetcar is just a bus without a steering wheel at many times the cost, but if conservatives have a soft spot for guns, liberals have a soft spot for trains.

Anyway, there was a loud and rambunctious group of African American folk who got on the 101 the same time I did. Like six kids, two women and one man, strollers and toddlers and chaos. The guy wanted to go back out and smoke a Newport and the bus driver said he was ready to roll, but then we were blocked in by another bus and these characters started cheering for the bus driver, and then he got out of the bus and went to chew on the bus driver blocking him in and they were like, 'He ain't having it!'

They got a whole audience participation thing going and they were really funny and really having fun with the ridiculous situation. They told the bus driver to just back up and he pointed out with the windows all fogged up and the rain he couldn't see to back up. I said you could just back up and hope like folks in cars do all the time and that got them going on a whole other round. The women started freestyle rapping about just back up and pray and then about how nobody could see where we were going or even tell where we were. This crew is way, way more fun than anybody on the MAX going to Plaza/Brookside/Waldo.

I don't want to sound racist, but is the Brookside MAX dullsville because almost all the passengers are white?

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