Stopping Traffic ;)

Last night I rode home on the folder — the Gazelle has yet another flat tire, so I’m thinking the tire itself has been compromised.   I’m inclined to switch off to unstudded, tho’ it’s snowing today.

At LIncoln Ave — as in, busy four lane Lincoln — I was crossing from Main… and not one but *two* vehicles (in succession) really wanted to stop and let me across.   I held my ground… and then considered that just perhaps the bike’s redness, my high-vis jacket and the blue front and red rear spoke lights (oh, and it being the Night Before Unofficial St. Pat’s Day) had peeps thinking I was something authoritative.

It happened again this morning, though, sans spoke lights. I didn’t hold my ground — so it was a confusing interaction… and pity for a biker inthe snow might have contributed (as well as it being Unofficial).

And it happened again in a different form at Bradley and Country Fair.   The line to the light at Country Fair was backed up 15-20 deep, so I hopped the snowy sidewalk (my front tyre on the Dahon is studded) and went up with the intention of hitting the walk button if things weren’t workin’ right.  They were… but Bradley was also extremely backed up.   I wondered if perchance there was a wreck on the highway (tho’ Bradley isn’t where they’d land)… and heard the fire engines as my light turned green.   I crossed (it was a half mile away)   and watched as it went into the oncoming traffic lane to get around the zillion cars waiting for the light, which inspired me to signal the left-turners (who couldn’t see the truck through all the cars and aroundthe corner) to stop.

I might have taken the bus but sorry, CUMTD, there is one day I don’t want to use transit and that’s Unofficial.

Happy new year :)

… I have 185 miles so far; haven’t done anything longer than 20 miles but I have nudged the extra loop or two at lunch.

This a.m. I was glad to be caffeinated as I saw the driver perpendicular do a “point scan” in front of her, then skip me to check to see if anybody was *approaching* …. unfortunately, I was already there (but being a bicycle, didn’t take up as much room)… but my “HELLO!” came fast enough for her not to accelerate.   (I *might* have been wrong… maybe she saw me… but she was stopped far enough into the intersection to make that unlikely.)   Oh, and being out in the lane meant she hadn’t come but so close to me anyway.  Her window was open, too, so I suspect the voice practically in her ear was especially effective.   I almost heard her thinking “What is that idiot doing out there!  Bicycles just shouldn’t be out there!”   and if she did think that, I hope she heard my response that the idea that she could not effectively look for others on the road before pulling out shoudl not mean I have to stay home from work…

New b;icycles…

Yesterday I went to Busey and extracted cash and went next door and sprang for the 7.5 FX that’s a close cousin of the 7500FX that got swiped the Saturday before Thanksgiving.   Night before, I had ridden out to really test it out at the Champaign Cycle indoor training rides. Getting the trainer on the Xtracycle around the Christmas decorations was a challenge so I put the Maya trailer on the back and the trainer inside.

Now it’s time to dash outside for a quick Saturday loop…


LIfe is unfair ;)

I didn’t have a fast bike so I *was* the least common denominator on today’s ride to Tolono, but even after a year of utter slothdom, I  realized that yes, I will still be able to get back into shape reasonably quickly.   And now, down to the Prairie Cycle Club Winter Party at the Great Impasta…

(First thing I had to do was strap the Christmas Tree down horizontally….)

New year comin’

I’m shopping for a new bike.

I *might* be sort of thanking my bike thief. I have been thinking of this slothful-sabbatical year, when I’ve been riding to get to work and other places, and riding the club rides where I’m expected.   I’m outta shape. To cut it short:   I haven’t  ridden *hard* any time, any where, at all this year.   Maybe up the odd hill at GITAP…

It has occurred to me that at 52, if I don’t do something about it, my days as a closet endurance athlete might be over.  Since October I’ve been trying to psych myself up to think 8 or 10,ooo miles next year, to get out JAN 1… and wondering whether I’ll be able to trip that “on” switch that drove me to WHEN IN DOUBT, RIDE AROUND THE BLOCK ONE MORE TIME!   It’s utterly exacerbated by my GPS being AWOL (and hence, no magic numbers creeping up on the mileage tally) tho’ I stopped keeping score in March. (No, Sue, DRIVES you.  Think present tense ;))

However, this morning, I did something I hadn’t done in forever:   intervals on the commute… partly ’cause cold weather inspires me but also just thinking that I could get me a bicycle overtly for randonneuring.   (No, I don’t expect to do the formal stuff with their weird rules and paperwork.) I might have to go to upper Canada in the summer to get weather cool enough for the odd double metric…

By, bye trekkie…

… So the Saturday before Thanksgiving, I went for a “Saturday Saunter” ride, came back, leaned the bike against the house in the back yard and went in to grab a bite to eat before my bike project gig at 2:00.

Came out and it was gone.  (The Xtracycle, parked nearby, couldn’t tell me what happened.)

I’ve made the police report and all that, and showed pics of my model to a student who lives in the area (tho’ mine is, of course, a whole lot more dinged and worn out).  (It’s a blue 7500 FX if you’re wondering…) And frankly, the “ouch!” of its disappearance was a small, impersonal, theoretical “oh, that person should not get away with thievery!” thing, far from the repeated sense of gut-wrenching loss that I’d expected the other times I’d gone out when I’d left it or my other bike(s)  in even more vulnerable positions and  come back, they were still there, and I chastised myself with “how are you going to feel when you come out and it’s GONE??!!”   It’s partly because a: I wasn’t also thinking “bike gone — how will I get where I need to go?”   b:  Okay, I have learned some detachment from material things and c:  it’s just a bike.   The expecting to see a person who’s gone sucks so much worse.

And now I get to shop for a bike.


Dangerous drivers, old & young

I was considering Grover as I tooled out of Parkland, and pulled up to the intersection of Bradley and Country Fair, where I make a right turn. As I got to the front, a driver swung into the left hand turn lane approaching.   My policy is: I’ve got the right of way, but if you are going to proceed I’ll yield and give you room. That’s what the Vulnerable Minorities do if they want to stay alive, you know.

So the driver in question seemed unsure… not proceeding, no… you are proceeding… so I pause mid turn so you can swing by — except that you’re proceeding

Right At Me.

As in, aiming toward the lightpost to my right.

Welp, I figure I’d better do some proceeding of my own, and I do — I love the math that when we’re goin’ perpendicular, I am out of your way effectively.

You proceed to where you can’t proceed anymore because curbs and lightposts are in the way, but I’m not sure what your motivation is, so I have pulled over, ready to hop the curb and get behind something if you aim yourself at me again… but a horn or two honks and you maneuver and then drive right past me without so much as a by-your-leave.   (When’s the last time you heard that ;P )

“Sail On” says the license plate (with perhaps a number or other character after the N).   I’m thinking “If you’re going to drive like that, you shouldn’t have a vanity tag.”

A windshield rolls down and a woman asks me, “What was *that* all about?”  I’m still processing.  “I don’t know.”

“That was a very old driver.  You’re very lucky.”   Then her light changed and we went our ways…

I don’t know how close things really were or how lucky I really was (I don’t have a good sense of space, which has probably saved my skin a few times because I don’t get scared; I think about three seconds later that “oh, my, based on the breeze, that was amazingly close.” — there was no breeze here ’cause we were moving slowly).   I do fervently hope that everybody who saw it, especially the idiot behind the wheel of sails on, is more careful for a while… and I kinda wished I had hopped the sidewalk as I sometimes do for that stretch, but there had been a dog walking man on it.  I also considered that had I been truly lightless and invisible, the driver might have just made the turn properly.

we’re *all* vulnerable…