Category Archives: advocacy

Fast way home

I can do the round trip commute in something like 13.2 miles — scooting home to beat the plumber today proved it.   I did have an encounter with a Young Male Driver in a large (extra wheels in the back) sort of celeste green pickup who pulled out on me, and when I tooted at him, informed me contemptuously taht “I saw you.  You had plenty of time.”

I suppose he’s accustomed to giving people enough time to dodge him?  I told him something to the effect that he’d pulled out in front of me and he informed me that “most peo;ple…”  (would what? Have just ducked from his dangerously aggressive driving?) and then informed me that I should be in hte bike lane.   I pointed out that there were no bike lanes there (he had stopped to start this conversation out his window, an d then drove away talking)… so a few blocks later, he pointed out the bike lanes (as we approached Neil)… I succumbed and said “And there weren’t any back there… we’re not too bright, are we?”

I’ll work on sticking to the facts, as in “You pulled out on me.”   That “broken record” technique I learned about in my first classroom management course…

And alas, I attempted without success to not do the “Rewind, replay” of hte scenario but I’m hoping that since I’ve pretty much worked through the mental note of the level of threat (just high enough that I shouldn’t have escalated) and What I’ll Do If HE Shows Up Again (be that mature person who could be his teacher… and have my camera handy…)

And I did beat the plumber here.   And HOORAY my basement is dry.   When I thunked the pipe this morning, I swear the gurgling water in there said “Hey, we’ll do okay for  a bit.”

and hoo boy!   I’m 131 in the 2 mile challenge… movin’ up the ranks.

Defensive distractedness

WHen I heard that “legal issues in the news” at our public radio station was going to talk about the laws involved in Errol Maul running over Cindy and David on a clear day on an open road, my interest was piqued.   I might find out the rationalization/ rationale behind not revoking his license, since, as the law states, if you kill somebody breaking the law it “shall” be revoked.

will get you the podcast — but it’s just another exercise in distraction.   Rather than address that issue, he talks about how angry people are, and that Julia Rietz is probably relieved that there’s no negligent homicide law (which she advocated for), because given Errol Maul’s clean traffic record and lack of proof of that rather short list of “mortal sins” of recklessness or “unreasonable” driving, it wouldn’t have applied anyway.  He refers to which is where we brought up that law.

Rather than discuss the laws that do exist, he discussed why a law that doesn’t exist  and why wouldn’t apply anyway.
What about the law that does exist?
And yes, he tacitly and strongly reinforced the notion that it is asking TOO MUCH of drivers to be able to avoid large vehicles on an open road on a clear day.   The man was “just” looking down at some papers, after all.

Seems they don’t get too many comments on their “legal issues in the news” blurbs.   They got mine.     I’m a-gonna smack my little fingers and not type the snarky questiosn as to what would motivate this “lawyer”… no, slapping fingers…   I asked why he didn’t discuss the laws in effect, since to the best of my knowledge the law says the license *shall* be revoked — not “unless the driver has a reasonably clean record” or “unless it’s just acyclist.”  I suggested he might be a distracted lawyer, and that I would be ashamed if I weren’t angry when distractions cost innocent lives.

35,000 people die in this country in car wrecks every year.   It could happen to anybody.   Hey, good people, it doesn’t *have* to be that way!

Update (Journalism isn’t dead yet)

   David Combs is still in critical care ICU, though perhaps moving to ‘less acute ICU’ if things progress.  Prayers and support appreciated

Donations to the Developmental Services Center in Cindy’s honor

can be made by calling 217-356-9176.  A link to a blog to post memories of Cindy is front and center.

DSC is an awesome place.   Let’s at least make *something* good come from this suckage.

Cards of support can be sent to:David Combs
Room 7712
611 W. Park
Urbana, IL 61801

Annie Weisner did an outstanding job researching and covering this — including an aerial photo so you can see for yourself just how incredibly wide open the line of sight is where Cindy and David were mowed down, and that yes, the driver admitted to be reading a plat map, and that there was no sign of using those funny things called brakes.    I’m afraid that the explanation that makes the most sense is that our state’s attorney is among those who do sincerely believe that bicycles don’t belong on roads (and, therefore, if you’re disabled you should simply not be so bold as to try to get out in the world — oh, of course you can!  but don’t get in OUR way!~).   I would love it if even a single utterance or action or lack of action of hers didn’t strongly support that, especially since “highly successful” people with social clout too often don’t need to ever consider such challenges.  However, she keeps on saying and doing and not doing…

Active Transport folks thought it worth mentioning, too, as did lots of people in their blogs.

Riding the egg… and funeral/cycling attire.

… Oy.   I *must* figure out how to get those Schwinn S6 (or is it S7?) tyres to sit roundly on the rim.   I rode the Racer out to work after the funeral ’cause it will get me back faster to meet about the “what are we going to do about this?” meeting.

I decided that whilst the Racer was a somber black, the retroreflective lips might just not be appropriate for parking in front of a funeral home.   I decided the Gazelle had made sense for Fritz’ funeral, since he was my path to get that bike, but that good ol’ Xtra was the best for this.   I had trouble finding clothes… and I just wasn’t brave enough to wear my heels but I think I am going to wear them around more so that that’s an option. (Right now, me walkin’ in them is still comic.)

Black tights under black sweats under my mostly black skirt worked very well.   Yes, I could have just done the dress if I were ridign the Gazelle — but it is NOT that warm outside. We were singing from rows of chairs (they had to do multiple rooms with closed circuit TV … open casket, but only her face really showing). Many Tuesday Pedaling for Pleasure regulars there.

I got to find that critical B as a second soprano and then go back and belt out a great alto Gospel thing Cindy loved.

But… I’m afraid that yes, between the inspirational words from the pastor, and the thorough explanation of the politics of the Thessalonians, it was all a tragic accident and Cindy knew the risks and had prepared herself for them… by being prepared for death.  Not word one about the responsibility humans have for *not* taking specific actions that endanger others — to think FIRST.

I hear that actually, a lawyer has had success in a case in Illinois with our new 3-foot law that should be useful here… but… so far, I don’t know if Julia Rietz has done that homework.   I would *love* to find out that she is doing the right things behind the scenes.   However, so far the doubt I’ve been trying to give her the benefit of has been shrinking, shrinking.

Doom or Possibility?

Can I get an Amen?

Was it good for you?

This morning a significant part of me did not want to get on the bike.  Sure, the ride in was going to be nice; it was 25 degrees.  Forecast, though, for “flurries.”  Same forecast as for Saturday when we got five inches. Low tonight: 6.

I steeled myself.  My option when confronted with challenge is to respect the voice that says “you can’t” or “you shouldn’t,” and thus create an option, so that it can’t win when it really shouldn’t. I decided I’d ride the Gazelle in… and if it got ugly, I’d take the folding bike home on the bus so that there wouldn’t be two bikes out at school. Then I could bus in in that frigid morning and take the bike home whne I was good and ready.

We did get a few flurries, but honest “flurries,” nothing sticking, not even a dusting.  The roads are really clear, at least my southern route home (some of campus was rock solid ice sheets – rumply as an unmade bed, but solid ice –  this morning and I walked ’em, foolish as that is with the studs giving better traction than shoes, but as I said, I respect my avoidances ’cause hten they’d want me not to ride at all… in fact, it wasn’t that slippery to walk on.  THerefore, it wasn’t too slippery to stud on… but it’s my commute and I’ll whine if I want to — *and* I left early so I got to work on time anyway.)

So I had enough layers on to make singing tough (“your voices sound constricted!”  – um, oy, yea, there’s an awful lot of elastic around my middle…)  but it was 19 at the start and 20 at the end at leaving time, so I donned my lights and took the long way around, because the tailwind was strong enough to chill me if I didn’t warm up riding reasonably briskly first, and with only one gear that’s hard. (It’s gear 3 — pretty easy — of the 7.)

As I left, the Green bus approached.   I thought about racing it and sprinted parts of JOhn,  but realized that I’d have to go a different route to see if it passed me, and I”m not inclined to travel Vine, so I cruised after that.

Another reason for my reluctance to ride was that I’ve been getting by with just a red blinky on the back of my backpack, and yes, it’s different. I found a string of baby white LEDs and just clumped them back there, and added two of those finger lights.  Yes, cars gave me more time and space. Made me envision a poster:   “Legal’ vs. “good.’

Then I turned onto State STreet and grasped what the bus driver was referring to as a citizen was walkijng on the bike lane towards me.  It was mostly plowed, but the parking spaces werent, so it was actually a reasonably good sidewalk, with a few feet between the cars and the regular traffic lane.

I envisioned a second set of posters that I”m going to suggest, though it may be a solution in search of a problem.  Two pictuers on it:  one wiht a bike out in the car lane, and a driver pissed… the second zooming in on a legitimate reason for the bike to be there.  Specifically, makin’ a left turn, glass or potholes, or whatever.  Caption:   “If I’m not in the bike lane, there’s a reason.”  Then it occurred to me that the same could be done for bike paths, with a fast rider and then zooming in on the cute little children playing on the path, or that family with the kids with training wheels.

And yes, I was comfortably warm, head to toe.  It felt really good. TOmorrow’s six degrees? I’m up for it.

x84 6420

Hey, not everybody’s got the spirit… it started snowing a bit ago and we’re in a tight little strip of the stuff on the radar so I’m thinking we’ll get a few more inches before it oozes off.   So, I’m on the studs and feeling good — powder is infinitely less sscary than the hard stuff — and see a car a quarter mile off on Race and mount to go, knowing he’ll have to go around me.

“GET THE F*(& OUT OF THE WAY!!!!”   It’s an SUV… but… I’m mellow.   I gaily sing out “You’ve got plenty of room, I’ve very sorry to inconvenience your kind soul” (or words to the equivalent, and I do mean that) and they holler a little more and I say “Oh, I’ve already called 911” (yea, right! now, where is my phone?)   and they go around with passenger’s very pudgy hand with finger saluting me (but window rolled down on that side), leaving well over 3 feet between us,  I gaily call out “X84, 6420, got you…”   and they proceed onward.  (Oh, yea, my other influence was the lady who I’m sure hadn’t gotten into her house yet that I’d been chatting with about the likelihood of school closings.)   Oddly,  if there were a “scared/excited” scale like doctors have for pain, this has me at a 3, as in “aware of potential danger” and… might have a weird dream, but as long as I read something before I go to bed…  a big part of that being that if I have to think about riding, I can only give jerks so much of my attention.   I guess this is how it works for people who do exciting stuff all the time — I wasn’t as nervous about the riding, either, because I was paying attention to the yahoos in the car. Just no room for adverse hormonal secretions; not even very much adrenaline, just … hmmm… what’s a focus hormone?

The other car that had to go by on Washington didn’t take issue — and I was out in the middle of the lane, there, since I know there’s ice on the side.  And on the little bitty road I *did* pull over — but, after, there was room between parked cars and much *less* room on the side (and it was up hill).   No trouble getting the bike started again so it’s not even that slippery, but I bought that bus pass today for a reason 😉

I could have ridden today; it didn’t start doin’ until after 8:00.   Oh, and the snowman demise video has gone totally viral.   (One of my friends has declared the whole incident “classic ADD behavior”… which rings true…)

Oh, and it’s Yahoo guys lookin’ for jobs as well as CUMTD snowman doerinners. Ouch.   Hoping that they’re in a category where things work they way the should — where there’s a little down time, a ton of anxiety… and then a new job.

Civility and Bliss

I am not at all good at friendly waves or other activities that take my hand from the handlebars.   (It’s why I long for other ways to signal.)   However, I do make it my mission to incur those magical moments of civility, and I’m looking for a better noun that includes the mood elevation that can happen.
Yesterday I arrived at the northbound corner of Race and Elm at about the same time as a car, concurrently with a CUMTD bus going Westward on Elm.  The car went forward but I did my Patented “I’m Stopping” Posture with planted feet and my top tube leaning over onto my thigh, making it clear I was waiting.  I got a smile and friendly wave from the operator.
It all adds to the endorphin effect and it’s close to impossible to incur in a car, tho’ it also happened when I was doin’ the Black Friday thing in my rental… I got in our car as another car successfully found a parking place and pulled in behind me… but of course there were vultures wanting my spot.   I started backing out and my SIL noted with disdain that gosh, the people in that car were getting out and walk right behind our car adn further complicating the maneuvers!   However, I’d seen the man leap enthusiastically to get behind my car, plant himself there and extend both arms… to guide me back for a most efficient egress that prompted an enthusiastic double-thumbs up from the next shopper to use my space.   So, what could have added snarl to the day was more like a flag-waving “UNITY! UNITY! WE SHALL CONQUER THE FOE AND SHOP SUCCESSFULLY!”  moment…

SHoot out the tires and snatch the device.

“Perfecto Perez, 84, of Chicago, was crossing Main Street from north to south about 8:20 p.m. when he was struck by Kim.”

As Vegan Linda noted”Driver behavior will not change until the law takes pedestrian/cyclist lives seriously.  It is disgusting that this driver may only be charged $75 for an illegal act which resulted in ending a life.  It is completely insane that the charge for a cyclist riding on the sidewalk excedes that of someone texting while driving a motorized vehicle.

My thoughts and condolences go out to the family.  How tragic.”

What she said.  Where’s my engine-killing ray?


Hard to be when people are posting long contemplatives on their blogs… I’ve figured out a few fun features with the Garmin – yes, it really does know when I’ve gone ’round campus (I wonder what happens if I am in the other lane, though; how close to exactly the same spot do I need to be?) and counts it as a “lap” – which had taken me 7:25; I’ve done it in under 5 so yes, I was more than sluggish.

Had my automatic smile back this a.m. and tried to race the Brown bus in, after watching the driver basically run the stop sign on Sixth, to the honking dismay of the driver on Sixth who had the right of way.  Hope that the construction eventually gets DONE enough to get through town again.  Wish that bike traffic were even considered when they planned construction (as in, figure out alternatives and put signage out there — bike detour signs).

Wonder if people are, like, *bothered* by the environmental carnage more than before it was a little more visible.