Friday, October 15, 2010
Friday Night Lights
I've brought out the commuter lights--its that time of year.
Undaunted by the stress of the new job, I'm determined to keep up the cycling and bike commuting into work. This ride would be another test ride--to see if I could get the timing right and distance right--to get into the office, clean up, and then open the Command Center. Since in this new appointment, I am actually at the helm of the Command Center, its important that I'm there and have the engines running by the time the students show up.
So I'm riding the route of a few years back when I worked at the University of Arizona--I drive just under 7 miles to Arthur Pack Park, then ride down Thornydale (newly paved with good bike lanes) and then into Midtown to the Art School. As it turns out, distance on the bike is almost 15 miles--about the same as when I had an office at UofA.
The morning ride was fast--traffic was thin, the road as I said was newly re-paved--so I rode at a nice clip of 19 to 22 mph. River Rd. is challenging and since there are no lights and turn ins and outs--most of the next few miles are a chance for interval-type training; high cadence and speed for long stretches. At River and Campbell I turned south and caught the bike path for a short ride to the Country Club Bike Bridge, and then on into the office. All went well I can say.
Ride home in the rain.
As the forecast was for 30 percent chance of rain--which means probably not rain--I didn't take any chances and brought my battery powered commuter light just as a back-up. As the evening rolled in, so did a storm, and leaving the office I found myself riding in a chilling shower of rain. Just about two miles on the jam-packed city streets and then on the bike path for most of the trip home.
Busy Campbell Ave. These commuters are almost to River Ave, and waiting to turn left.
Its one of the worst jammed intersections in Tucson. I roll past that jam you see above--that's why I ride my bike because this is typical Tucson rush hour traffic. This morning there was not a soul, now people are trying to get home, and they're having to deal with a rain storm.
I'm still not out of the woods yet--more rain on the way!
The bike path is empty tonight and I'm the only one out here--so I can ride fast and make good time.
Western edge of the bike path--still remote.
Looks like I'll have a window of sunshine without rain to ride on the busy dangerous last few miles of my commute up to Arthur Pack Park.
River Rd and La Cholla--still under construction! Geez...
Okay I used to head North up La Cholla that you see up there in the photo I took for you, Gentle Reader of This Blog--but now I have to make a dangerous left turn onto River Rd and head West. After that, I can ride River and ride fast, so I make good time. While making my left turn last night, some driver thought that the forward lane was also a left turn lane--which it wasn't--and while I was turning left and then merging into the bike lane, the car driver came up behind me on the my right side--and almost hit me.
Pretty stupid of them and they sped around me in anger--the other cars had to stop and I could see that they were just as bewildered as I was with the other driver being so reckless. I will tell you that many people in this town, first thing they do when they get in their car, is insert their head in their ass...
Riding with the busy traffic on Thornydale.
The thing I do now is ride with the traffic on Thornydale, which is busy and congested. I'm good because I have a straight shot and just cruise on by. Its much better than sitting in a jam and crawling block by block--being behind somebody texting or on a cell phone--making things go even slower.
Traffic on on the Northwest Side.
People may think it too dangerous to ride, but when automobiles are only able to go 15 mph and only for a few blocks, I can ride at 20mph and be in the clear. I'm really trying to get to my car before the sun sets, mes amis.
I make it to the golf course at the park and to my car before the sun calls it a day.
I would spend the same amount of time driving but instead of being in the car, I'm getting a workout and keeping up on my base miles. The rain was a minor detail and had stopped, thank goodness, on the last of my route in the heavy traffic.
Its Friday night and there's going to be a football game there at the high school, which is here by the park.
The parking lot I keep the car at all day is for the golfers--its a public course--and spill over for the high school kids to park their cars. Only Seniors can park in the school parking lot, so the younger ones have to hike over to class from here. Best part about where I park is the shade from all the trees.