A three hour tour…


desert island bixi

Bixi Log, April 29, 2010

4:45 pm

I cut a lot of corners, sucked back a lot of diet coke and coffee, and finished work a bit early today – all so I could take a spontaneous Bixi cruise on the Expo Isles. This map I downloaded from the Internet says there are four stations out there, which means I can spend the whole evening zooming around the canals and trying to forget my cubicle.

So I throw on a casual Rolex, tuck in the pant-leg of my thousand-dollar suit, and head out the Ile Ste. Helene on my free bicycle.

4:57 pm

On the Maisonneuve bike path at Mansfield – a block from where I grabbed my bike – I get cut off by a small SUV. The driver – a bleached-blond woman in her early forties – gives me a blank and frazzled expression, as if to say, “You don’t know what I’m going through. I’m from a hell a million miles from anywhere called suburbia, and I can’t move fast enough to numb the pain.”

She was right that I don’t live in the suburbs or commute behind glass, but I definitely know what pain feels like, which is why I didn’t feel comfortable with her angry commuter tank being so close to my unprotected body. Mental note to self: eradicate car culture tomorrow morning.

5:16 pm

At around 21 minutes on my clock, I am on the Concorde Bridge heading to that first Bixi stand just a few meters away with nine minutes to spare. Feeling like a real explorer right about now…Oh wait. Looks like that one hasn’t been installed yet. I wonder why they don’t mention that on the Bixi site?

5:21 pm

Now it’s been over 25 minutes and I am now looking for the second station under the bridge next to the casino. But that one hasn’t apparently been installed either, so I continue around the circuit knowing that there has got to be another one next to the pit stop. Or somewhere. Bixi wouldn’t lie about their service zone just to trick me into spending extra money, right? I mean, it’s not run by Goldman Sachs or Enron, is it?

5:32 pm($1.50)

It’s been over thirty five minutes now, and I have decided to accept the fact that this trip might cost a buck fifty. But it’ll have been worth it if I can get a bike and race back downtown before the rain starts. I feel slightly used, tired, and a bit angry. But I’m trying to console myself that a buck fifty isn’t the end of the world. I have to stop thinking like an ant.

6:10 pm($4.50)

I was trying to peddle back onto the bridge, when a gang of English-speaking teenagers saw me swearing at my Bixi. They mocked me for a few minutes, and then they swarmed me (they’re were two of them in all). They hit me over the head with a Styrofoam hand, and grabbed my blackberry, my ipod and my new Rolex. Damn. Why did I have to wear the only Rolex I own that has a velcro band? I guess I should be happy that they left me with my suit. And my Bixi.

6:27 pm($10.50)

It just started to rain really hard, and there were no shelters anywhere near where I was sitting in the grass crying. So I ran under the bridge to wait it out for a while. I don’t even know how much this is going to cost me. I just want to get this bike back the closest station, and hop into a huge cab. Maybe an SUV cab with a monster truck suspension.

7:59 pm($28.50)

I was halfway across the Concorde Bridge when my Bixi started to slow down for no reason, so I had to pedal harder and harder until it froze completely next to Habitat 67. I’ve decided to pay a cab twenty bucks to take me and this bike back to Old Montreal where I can crazy glue it back into a docking station.

8:11 pm

Sat down and calculated the price of my free island adventure while eating a nine-dollar hot dog in Jacques Cartier Square: Total cost including Bixi, cab, Rolex, ipod and Blackberry: $856.99

(Note: Bixi has since installed the docking stations in Jean Drapeau Park.)


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