Friday, October 10, 2008
Of Mice and Bikes
This week I rode into the office three days for a total of 120 miles. Each morning was cooler, and I needed lights for the first 12 miles or so as sunrise is later and later--but just by minutes. Tuesday and Wednesday I wore gloves--Fall has certainly set up shop!
I had one very close call Monday morning--I was making a left, and I had signaled and was setting up for my turn. As I'm just coming down from Dog Mtn, I'm riding about 22 mph--which is fast--and the turn is a fast turn. I almost always have the green light. Some Joe Sixpack decides to try and beat me to the left, he speeds up, passes me, then cuts me off to make the turn. He misjudged his speed and mine, and the distance, such that in the turn we almost collided. The expression on his face was like, "Holy Shit!" He slowed down to make sure he hadn't in fact made me crash--then he floored the gas pedal and took off.
It was a very stupid move on his part, and quite illegal. Usually at that time in the morning there's a few Sheriffs Deputies cruising past at this intersection--they drop into a cafe just down the street. They wave when they see me now. I ride past their substation when I pass the YMCA. Had they seen Joe Six pull that maneuver, his name would be mud!
Going home is surreal--the sunsets are postcard-amazing and you'd want to send to your friends back in Wisconsucks, Minnesofreakingcold or Ilkinnoise... Trouble is, you can't see as you're blinded. Rides home this week have been close to 95--and I have to tell you that's fine because imagine this sun in the summer when its 102!
One morning I was stopped at the light at Oracle and Ina. A very busy intersection and I'm there squeezed in between cars and cement trucks and buses. The bike lane ends back where the right turn lanes starts--so cyclists have to maneuver into position so as not to get hit by traffic on the left, and not get hit by motorists setting up to make a right. Again, this is busy intersection and for a time, the sun is blinding you and the drivers. It is best when the light is red because everyone has to slow down. The light is long to accommodate all the traffic.
As I waited for the light to turn green, a rat crossed from the other corner of the street and headed toward the Starbucks on the other side. He gave me a glance but really seemed not to care much for the likes of me. You look around, every body's on their cell phone--rats got yer number, Baby!
Wednesday after work, I jumped off Swan, and into the park--Whoa! I practically crash into this sign. This wasn't here yesterday evening--
The other side is mostly dirt. It's used by runners and horseback riders. There's also heavy construction that seems to be going on all the time too. It was a mess, and the actual trail I needed wasn't always clearly marked.
A few people walking their dogs gave me good directions, and then I met up with another commuter and he showed me the way to Dodge and River Rd. He had a mtn bike so he had no trouble riding the dirt trail--but he was a good sport and when I had to walk my bike, he did the same. I won't be able to use the bike trail because its too slow. I know a few other ways and I'll get around all the construction they're doing for a few weeks. Some parts you couldn't even ride your horse through let alone a bike.
Not many joggers or runners out, so I make some time and ride fast on the bike path. Normally I wouldn't ride so fast because I believe it bad manners to speed while people are walking and running. They can't hear you, and if they sense someone behind them, they turn to look and you can run right into them. As there's always kids and dogs--best to be safe and relax.
All clear on the bike route. The street above will have slow moving traffic.
As Hurricane Norbert is making his way to the coast of Mexico, the wind picked up by mid-week. I get a pretty good shot of headwind--more than usual--but mostly I pace myself for the long climb I've got to make to the YMCA. If I try to fight the wind too much, I'll start to cramp on the climb--I need to have enough for my sprint into traffic to make my last and dangerous left turn onto Ina and then home.