Monday, February 11, 2013

February Bike Rides

Most of this week's blogging will be dominated by beer news, but I did get out on my bike a bit over the last week and had some thoughts.

First, I want to start with an apology from bike commuting to work last week.  In getting lights, fenders, etc. all ready to go, I realized that the front fender I bought didn't fit the front fork on the mountain bike I was using for commuting.  I thought, "Well, I have a rear fender, which is where most of the liquid is kicked up and the downtube will block water coming up from the front wheel," so I figured I would be fine. 

I was not.  So my apology is to the Washington State Department of Transportation.  I sucked up an awful lot of that chemical that they sprayed on the roads last week to melt snow.  I have no idea what it did to my intestinal tract, but I know that there were several gallons spraying in my mouth no matter what I did.  I had not paid attention to the relative width of the tire versus the downtube, thought about how much of the time the wheel and downtube were not actually aligned, nor really considered that the front and rear tires are moving the same speed and kicking up the same quantity of liquid.  My bad.  Sorry if you had to re-coat those sections due to my inconsiderate consumption of your chemicals.

Second, I want to say that one of the nice things about riding in the snow, ice or other similar conditions is that you can tell just how many people are traversing the same areas at the same time.  I loved being out in completely crappy conditions and seeing from the tracks in the snow that another cyclist or two or three had already been by in the fresh snow.  Definitely a feeling of camaraderie with those unseen brethren. 

Next, it turns out that there is a valid reason for only a handful of us being out there.  It turns out that it really is cold, wet, dirty and overall much less convenient than in the nice weather.  To and from work in the dark and quite a bit soaked on both ends.  Add to that the many, many layers you get dirty each time and the overhead is quite a bit higher than when it is drier and warmer.  Not ideal, but it really makes one appreciate the nicer riding conditions.

And, speaking of nicer riding conditions, my rides this weekend with my teammates, when it was drier and the roads clearer, made me appreciate how little fitness I have.  I did also appreciate when they came back for me, insisted that I uncurl from the fetus position, stop crying, stand up and get back on my bike.  All three times.

On my ride, I was not showing fortitude or fitness, which reminded me of a golf computer game I had ten or more years ago.  When you hit a particularly bad shot, the computer commentator would say, "That had neither the further-ence nor the toward-ness he was looking for in that shot."  My riding was like that, I had neither the fast-ness nor the go-up-ness I was looking for in that ride.  On the other hand, I was trying to remind myself that being out there in early February is the best way to feel okay in March or April.  Or maybe it won't be until June, but at least it's sooner than if I waited.

And lastly, the other thing that really stood out in both commuting and training this weekend is how good and bad some drivers are.  I had lots of considerate drivers pass me during the last couple of weeks; most that I hardly noticed or those that I noticed had taken a moment to give me a touch more room.  Yesterday, however, while I was riding by myself, I had a couple instances where people went out of their way to buzz me or make the point that they didn't think they should have to share the road.  Crossing the TJ Menach Bridge, I had a red Toyota Tercel buzz me so close that I was stunned that his mirror hadn't hit me.  The hand gesturing from the passenger indicated that it was an intentional shot across the proverbial bow.  Keep in mind that the bridge is two lanes, that there was light traffic and no car for many, many car lengths near it.  Just a guy being a dick.  The other similar experience was just a few miles later as I passed a large church where a number of cars were exiting.  As I approached the area where the parking lot entered the roadway, a black Cadillac Escalade roared straight across the road and turned very late so that they didn't turn into the lane, but turned mostly over the white line on the shoulder where I would be in 30' or so.  They completed this threatening maneuver by hitting the accelerator and roaring down the shoulder for an extended distance before moving over into the lane of traffic.  It really made me wonder what the lesson at church had been that day.  I'm not a biblical scholar, and I don't think that Jesus touched specifically on car/bike interactions, but I'm pretty sure he would not be in favor of threatening people riding their bikes.  At least that's my guess.

They say it takes all types, but honestly those are a couple of types I could do without.

All in all, though, glad to be on my bike again and looking forward to the street sweepers starting their annual process of cleaning up the sand/gravel/grit and stuff taking up the shoulders.  And maybe some grass growing so I have a softer place to lay beside my bike crying just a little.

1 comment:

  1. Since you love cycling even in crappy weather conditions and difficult tracks, just make sure you are safe and equipped with the appropriate gear. Thanks for sharing your experience.