Monday, October 25, 2010

Still Alive

Work's been crushing my ass, which leaves me in survival mode with little desire to bike blog. But that sucks, because it severs my vital connection with you, my fellow freak. So I'm breaking the surface just long enough to say hey and grab some air and then I guess I'll be going back under for I hope not too long.

But despite the silence, I haven't gone totally bike-dead. Bike shit is always happening and is in fact my escape and what keeps me sane. To wit:

Monday night is a standing weekly visit with my parents - I show up at my Mom's nursing home just north of the Y and bring some dinner for me and my Dad (Mom eats the NH food) and we all have a meal together. It's a along way from home on the s hill to my work out past industrial park to the northside and then back home, so I normally drive. But during seven carless days a few weeks ago, I needed to bike. The food plan for me and Dad that night was Wendy's at the Y, since it's close. I got there late and just wanted to grab some food in a hurry and book over to the NH, so I decided to bike through the drive-through.

The sensor doesn't pick up my bike and I'm just sitting there, so I finally pedal up to the window. I get an amused reaction, but not the "we're laughing with you" kind. I place my order. I hand her a $20. Window closes. Long wait. Window opens. She hands me my $20 back and says they can't serve me in the drive through and that I havta go inside. I park my bike, lock it, pull out my wallet, phone . . all the shit I was trying to avoid. Once inside, I have to take a spot at the end of the line and wait my turn. Are you kidding me. I finally get to the front, pissed as hell. Anyone/everyone in the kitchen who had anything to do with telling me I had to come inside is making themselves scarce and I'm not about to take it out on the 16 YO cashier who, after I ask how to get a hold of the manager, is begging me not to mention her name when I call. For some reason, they can't ring my order up on the front register since I originally came through the drive-through and there's a bunch of chaos and delay and people in line behind me are getting pissed at the douchebag with the bike helmet who's messing up the flow. All in all, a stupid humiliating experience. Yay Wendys. If Dave was still alive, this kind of shit would never happen. If Wendy wasn't so busy sucking on a golden spoon, she would step up and take charge and this shit would never happen. But neither of those things is happening, so this shit is happening. Only good thing I can find out of all this is the clouds. Pretty cool.

I didn't call, but I did google "bikes in drive thru" and it looks like there's a bunch of antecdotes out there about refusal of service and corporate speak about safety-driven policy regarding [gasp!] having bikes and cars in the same space. Whatever. Lame, lame, lame.

On the lighter, less ranty side, I've been messing with my first set of metal fenders, a pair of Velo Orange stainless jobs.

They come with a boatload of hardware, which even if the fenders are junk, I can totally use which is just so rad.

I have seen great fenderlines like this, and they're what I aspire to and let me tell you they are not easy to come by, but let me also tell you how the challenge totally disengages my head from work. Yes.

With that, I consider myself having checked in. I doubt that you feel any better, but I sure do. Okay then, hopefully talk to you soon.


Alan said...

I had a similar "we can't serve you on a bike in the drive-thru" experience at Jack in the Box. It was during that ridiculous snow storm a couple year ago. They had a sign on their window that read something along the lines of, "Inside closed due to snow and not enough employees. Drive-thru only." When I went to the drive-thru window they told me that they couldn't take my order.

But you know who DID have enough employees AND a fully open store: Zips! Gotta love 'em!

Anonymous said...

I had the same experience at a fast food drive up that was closed inside because it was 3AM.

I was also refused service once at a drive-up bank branch on a Saturday. They wouldn't serve either bicyclists or pedestrians. I had to wait two days to do my banking at the main branch because I didn't have a car that day.

No car=no food and no money.

mark h said...

I have used the drive thru at STCU at Manito with no problem!

Mike Sirott said...

I've had the same experience myself, and that's total bullshit. You can call me reactionary, but I wouldn't give my business to anyone who refused service to bike in a drive through. Further, if my BANK refused service, I would withdraw my money and bank someplace else. Anon, it must have been a national bank and not a local CU...Grrr...F-them. BTW, I've done transactions on a bike at both STCU and Spokane Federal CU without any hassle.

Justino said...

Pat -- very nicely done - in fact, are there fenders on that bike? I can't even tell. Just looks like silver spray paint over the tread, maybe for wet weather traction. Or silver rhino hide - I've heard it make the tires last longer, even though it wears the streets out faster.

Alan said...

I bank at STCU (the one near Red Lobster) and have repeatedly received service when I use their drive-thru via bike. I agree with Mike: if a bank refused to give me my money because I'm on a bike, I'd take my business elsewhere.

Rachel said...

Yeah, pretty much all fast food businesses have that idiotic no-bikes policy. I used to work at Taco Bell and they had that one. But late at night when I was the only manager there (not to mention the lobby was closed), I'd totally serve cyclists.
It's the stupidest load of crap that cyclists are "in danger" by being in the DT. None of these places provide bike racks and several have painted crosswalks to direct pedestrians right THROUGH the DT! I just take my bike right on inside with me, stupid dumbass policies.

Then you have all of those late night places that only have the DT open. Yeah, it's safer, makes sense. But now you're barring cyclists and pedestrians from being served. You get all the poor people downtown who don't even own a car, and tell them they have to go get a car and come back if they want to eat. So, what do they do? They stand in the DT lane and flag down cars to see if they'll order food for them. So now you have a pissed off ped/cyclist AND annoyed motorists ... or you're wasting the cops' tine because you had to call them to get this guy out of your DT because it's against safety policies for you to go out there and do it yourself...
And if you'd just served the guy in the first place and held any incoming cars back at the speaker until they were gone, everyone would have been happy.

Mike Sirott said...

Rachel, so you're saying that it kind of serves him right for going to Wendy's. Yeah I completely agree.

Pat S said...

Thank you guys for all the comments. I'm sure that various forums are filled with chatter about bikes and drive-thru's, but it's something I'd never run across before and it took me by surprise.

Rachel, I was especially fascinated by your perspective.

I can totally understand that liability drives policy. It makes sense to me that peds can't "walk-through" the "drive-through".

But denying service to bikes is confirmation that the fast food industry doesn't accept the fact that bikes belong in the same space as vehicles, even if the law does.

Or maybe they do and legal precedence just won't allow them to change their policies.

Or maybe their legal departments could just grow some balls and decide to support bikes in drive-throughs.

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