Category Archives: vehicular cycling

Did I say “enough already!”?

Snow is in the forecast today, too, tho’ not enough to get me on the bus. Still, my plan is to take teh studded tyres *off* the gazelle.   Fact is, with the nasty gouge in the back one, cardboard boot showing through, I don’t want to ride it anyway.

My latest accessory, thanks to John (I think that was his name!) and Michael at the Bike PRoject… at quarter to five I said “okay, help me start *thinking* about a rear mount for my big light.”   20 minutes later… we shall work on something sweeter than inner tubes for holding it on (the light comes with hefty magnets on the back) but it does need to be removable for battery changes.

And… I thought I’d seen it all, but heading out to Sunday’s concert, I noticed the pre-stop-sign rumble strips on Bradley were GONE — as well as the fourway stop!  It’s just two-way now. Don’t know if that was the plan (make ’em all stop for a while)… oh, but the rumble strips on Staley really do still suck hind teat on a barren possum.

Delighted that the word "steampunk" was used to reference my ride :)

Delighted that the word “steampunk” was used to reference my ride 🙂

Road diet, or bariatric surgery

Seems they’re doing something over on Mattis, so traffic is being diverted, so this temporary stop sign is up.  The backup was past Church Street, and while I considered sticking to the queue, the fact is that the concrete seam makes a big fat shoulder/right lane and right hooks weren’t an issue with cars moving one at a time, so I scooted past and took the picture. Oh, and the local constabularies were there to enforce. Police by temporary stop on Country FairIt’s windy and warm today.

Saw the usual plethora of bicycles on the way in and noted just how many had big ol’ Wald-style (probably Wald brand) baskets. (Everybody else had panniers, I’m pretty sure.  We’re a carryin’ crowd.)  Would have been a good day to snap a pic for “when to ignore bike lanes” because there was a driver idling in the one by Christie Clinic. Oh, he was *mostly* in a parking space — but it’s just easier to pull out if you’re out further, and isn’t the bike lane convenient for that? (Personally I don’t mind the behavior — I can move out and it’s not as if there’s traffic behind me to be slowed down as I do.)

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.

Details on Maul/Combs case

This includes lots of details about just what Errol Maul said happened (he looked down at some paperwork and then the bike was in front of him and he dind’t have time to slow down or stop   — I don’t care what you were looking at, it wasn’t the road, dude) and the law about revoking his license — and then there’s this:

“A phone call to the Circuit Clerk’s office yesterday verified that they had sent the “Report of Court Disposition” to the Secretary of State, as stated on their website (Case #11TR004615 was sent on Thursday, April 20). However, there is nothing on that report that would indicate that a fatality occurred in the commission of the offenses to which Maul pled guilty.”

Who put this report together? Kindly do not PRETEND to give one whit about Cindy Comb’s life.  Just how far does your disregard go?

I *do* have sympathy for Errol Maul.   I have sympathy for many other criminals, too.   However, I don’t want to put them in the path of temptation to repeat a crime  they have proven themselves lacking the discipline to resist (especially when their stories change to protect themselves, calling into question any remorse).

opportunistic chivalry

First, weather,   when this morning’s forecast didn’t have snow in it any more, and it would seem that as I requested, we’re done with the stuff…   I was thinking about my elevated social status riding in when… it started snowing.   Little cold wet kisses, they were.   WHen I called it “pretend snow” because it was only the odd flurry, it got dense enough to show up on the ground a little, but it’s “pretend precip” until the little wet dots run together.

I had barely enough time to come in the back loop, which requires a left turn into the parking lot, and of course all the other people arriving barely on time were getting in, too. Looked like an eternal procession — until that driver at the stop sign sixty yards away where two tributaries of traffic were feeding in (hence, the congestion pocket)  simply paused an extra few seconds, creating a Big Old Gap.  I was absolutely positively sure that it was done on purpose, for my benefit, and pondered how if we set up our culture for low-risk opportunities to have a little personal contact with other humans, we might like each other better. (When the ride’s endorphins wore off, I realized that of course the driver could have been on the cellphone and just not reacting but… naw, of course not…)

Doom or Possibility?

Can I get an Amen?

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.

adventures in travel

Yesterday I drove Green Street in because it’s an early start day …. the 9:00 days make it easier to leave more time for easing my way down the less cleared roads and have lots more traffic to motivate me to do that instead of Green.

I got to experience the “bike lane, cars making right turns” conflict… we’re all merrily approaching the red traffic light, me in my bike lane… the cars slow and are stopping, and one of ’em has that right signal on.   It turns green.   The driver does a major hesitate… I waved him forward.   It wasn’t even close to a right hook ’cause Sir Studly was goin’ about 8 mph (up hill, into the winds on the studs on a 50 pound bike… and I don’t want to arrive at work in a lather).   Would have been a different scenario if I were going 21 mph, though.

Then I worked over to make the left onto Church, fondly recalling when that was my regular route (before the interminable construction that says it’ll be done in December… think May…be)   and there was a queue of drivers turning into the Springer Cultural Center.

I got into the left lane to go around them… but, oops!  That guy in the red van X?2 1978 really didn’t want to be in the queue and proceeds to pull out at me.   I holler “HEY!”   in what may have been the first time I completely “reflexively” hollered; it was that close.  (I’m usually prone to freezing. Guess when it’s this cold I’ve already done that ;))  Close enough to hear; he stopped.   I pulled right past ’em and caught up to him again at the light — no, he didn’t eevn deign to glance my way.  That unpredictable voice escaped and  hollered at the void between us “Not  looking now, either!  Hope you don’t kill anybody else this morning!”   He passed me widely before making his right turn… so I’m hoping he heard.

I’m pretty sure the yahoo who was compelled to pass me in the flogging UNDERPASS under the RR tracks on Stadium east of Neil was no more hostile… like most oppressors, he couldn’t comprehend my existence and the inconvenience of waiting a few seconds.

On the other hand, this morning I approached Bradley from Country Fair with a sinking heart… I was going to *make* the green… but only its tail end, and full double-lane traffic was crouched, ready to pounce, on Westbound Bradley… no doubt many of ’em people as “almost late” as I was for an 8:00 arrival at Parkland.   I planted my self in the middle of the lane… then tried to figure out with my complete lack of ability to do so whether or not the lane was wide enough for a safe passing (it’s skinnier what with the snow…) which it might have been for the little car behind me, but not the bus behind it.   I heard a honk… but directed at said bus that was pulling around … and I attacked that downhill and got Sir STudly prob’ly up to … maybe 15 mph.  The car behind me was… still behind me.   Perhaps cruise control on 12 ’cause teh gap was widening.  One of the kindly protective folks I work with, perhaps?I pedaled strongly into the turn lane and… so did the car, well behind me… and didn’t recognize the driver at all, and she just proceeded on into school, as if she hadn’t done anything remarkable…. and perhaps that’s true, but I’m remarking anyway 🙂

Mashing Moratorium

Yesterday I attempted to get to Tuesday yoga, but was thwarted by my chain, which refuses to stay on the cassette (even for a single rotation) if I go into that biggest ring in the back.  Took me long enough to figure it out for public safety to arrive with a flashlight… and to make my back really hurt from bending over it. (Maybe my back hurts *because* I’ve been attempting yoga… )  So now I’m relegated to the Middle of the Chain ’til I get it fixed.  (I think I’ve whacked the mechanism with cargo too hard.)

Two *more* driver interactions yesterday — lady coming out of Parkland behind me didn’t have her lights on… didn’t see my assorted gesticulations in front of her (I pointed at my backpack blinkies ( but I didn’t pay anything like that for ’em!) but she came around and when I hollered “TURN YOUR LIGHTS ON!” she did… but I was already hollering more loudly “HANG UP YOUR PHONE AND TURN YOUR LIGHTS ON!”  and happily only thinking the invectives.

Rather different at Pennsylvania and Race, where I almost stopped at the four-way and then started forward, just as the perpendicular van started forward at me.  We played chicken a bit and I kept going, and what came out of my mouth was  “It’s a four way stop and I was here first.”  A little bit later I hear “I’m sorry.”  I say “thank you.”

I rewound and replayed the dialogue.  The apology was too slow and carefully stated to be  “Oops! My bad!”   — and I had spoken as a child would have, a child uncertain, a little fearful, but accustomed to adults understanding what was right and wrong.  His apology was said carefully, as if I might not understand him… as if my caretakers might have put those blinkies on my bookbag and I just might have insisted on dangling a plastic jack-o-lantern from my panniers.

I was mindful of the day I’d arrived early for a group ride and commenced to practicing making U-turns.  (I have an abominable sense of my place in space.  Yes, this makes yoga interesting, too.) I was focused on it until whoa!  There was a pickup who needed to get by.  I said, “I’m sorry,” and he replied “That’s okay, I was watching you.”

I thought then, and I think now, that I’m quite happy if someone thinks I need extra time and careful explanations when we’re having a roadside interaction.   Slowing down and being more careful is something we could use more of on the roads.  (When it’s done at a math training session, I *will* get my computer out and surf, though, and you’ll hear my quick wit and acerbity.)

A little breezy

Grist has an article about “real stats” regarding how much law-scoffing really happens in NYC by bicyclists… and it’s legion — as it is with pedestrians and drivers, too.

Today was pretty windy going in.  I’m afraid I was inspired *not* to call in and pledge to WILL simply because hearing how they provide what I need while the weather wails outside, instead of actually telling me **anything** about the weather that I couldn’t get a little further down the dial at the automated weather was incredibly annoying.  In fact, the recitation of the weather script was interrupted by a tornado warning (for other counties), but absolutely no notice was made thereof.  Okay, I **am** mildly curious about why they can’t say “this is what I see on radar.”   Personal refusal to pretend to be weather-savvy out of loyalty to the canned?   Edict from on high regarding What You Can Say about the Weather?  Radar is considered intellectual property and therefore describing what you see on The Weather Channel on a radio station is illegal transformation of information?  Complete and utter ignorance that people actually care about what’s really happening?

I changed the radio channel to WWHP and they *were* talking about the weather, albeit in Farmer City.  However, two Right Wing Political Ads and four Seriously Redneck Songs later, I had to bail.  I’ve got nothing against the survival of long-haired country boys, but there’s more to the world than that. Oh, WHFS (“4853 Cordell Avenue, Bethesda, Maryland.”), the sweet memories… no, it didn’t survive time either, so I can’t get it online.

Today, at just before 7, I am informed that it was rainign in Decatur and… two minutes later, it starts pouring on my awning. It abated a bit later and I went to the porch and got on the INternet, which I’ll have in the house at the end of the week.  Radar told me this would pass, and I got inside before the next deluge hit. Thursday is the estimated connection date for my very own connection – but I’m not supposed to try to hook anything up until 8:00 p.m.

Ride in was pleasant and delightful.    I stopped to snap a picture — which, alas, I don’t have the cable to upload and share — of the Brand Spanking New Cut Curb on Goodwin and Main.   This lets me cruise from Main straight on up through instead of having to cut sharply right to get to the crosswalk cut curb.  This is the U, so no telling whether they’ll do the same at the other end, but it’s nice.

I am pretty sure, though, that the honk-and-point that happened on Church Street, coming out of the  of Prospect, was a driver wishing I were on the sidewalk.  That’s the first time that’s ever happened out there — it’s two lanes, one-way with parking on both sides.  At the honk I”d automatically responded with the standard full-body grin and wave ’cause maybe I’m s’posed to know you, and the driver slowed exactly as one would who was considering further response, but then kept going.  I checked my baggage and nothing was falling out (the far more common reason people honk and point).  Ah, well, A65 4328… I hope you were just waving and nobody has to pay later today if you were frustrated. A lane and three quarters really ought to be enough for ya, though, since nobody else was there.

LIghts went out here… just a second, but everything reboots. Autorecover worked for all for whom it mattered but now they know that lights do go out…I’ve been singing “Jesus saves and so should you!” an awful lot the past few weeks…