Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Cloud Ride

It was really foggy today, and it had me thinking of my friends across the "pond" and how they must often ride in it. It is more rare here, so when I saw the weather report this morning, of cloudy and 41 at departure, I was thinking cool, it sure beats the low 30's I've been riding in lately.

For some reason, riding in the dark fog in the morning had me thinking about Ichabod Crane... it was a little eery out there, which I suppose is apropos with Halloween Tomorrow. (Hopefully no Headless Horseman in my future.)  

Turns out it was literally like riding through a cloud. Wet. The other thing is that I was worried about drivers' ability to see me, even though I stick to the bike lane and less busy roads when possible.  I have been leaving earlier and now see a lot of school busses. They always make me nervous because they are blind-spots-on-wheels (perhaps I should start calling them headless horsemen), and I also always wonder about the drivers' experience. 

Turns out, like riding in the rain, riding in fog is fun. And its beautiful this time of year. Snow will fly soon, so I will soak this up while I can.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013


I found a large horseshoe on the road today while biking to work. It was raining quite a bit, and I cruised on by. (Once I am going, I don't usually stop for anything - am even tempted at times to leave my own water bottle behind if it falls when I am in a good rhythm).

But needing a little luck in my life right now, I decided to go back for it after a few strides. It had obviously come off a draft horse, and must have weighed as much as my u-lock, perhaps as much as my bike frame. It is a bit unusual to find a horseshoe in the middle of the city. In fact, I don't know that I have ever found one before (does it show that I spend little time in the country?). I was not too far from the State Fairgrounds, and sometimes have to dodge horse trailers when they have shows at the barns, which must explain where it came from.

I was on my way to a morning meeting at a health clinic with a dry suit and tie packed in my messenger bag. So instead of opening my bag to the wet, I looped it through one of the fastener straps and expected to hear the heavy *klink* as it fell of the back when I started riding again.

It was still with me when I got to the meeting, changed, met. Then changed back again and got drenched on my way to Downtown. It was still with me when I got to the office, so I hung it over my doorway.

It wasn't raining much and I didn't have any close encounters with cars on my way home.
My luck must already be changing.

Friday, October 11, 2013


Went to see the movie Gravity tonight. It was pretty crazy. It was fitting that when we exited the theatre there was a torrential downpour. It was fantastic to run in, and it reminded me how much I like biking in the rain. Especially when it is raining hard. Once I rode in a thunderstorm at night, power knocked out, branches falling around me... Wizard of Oz type stuff (not so much fun). But a steady rain that you can zone into and feel the rythm of your body, I love it. The gravity part is nice too.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

2 Years

Its been one year since I started this blog, two years since my close encounter with the old lady driving a Buick. Not a lot has changed since then, but I certainly have. Today, I received a timely email from one of the groups I follow, Transportation Alternatives (based in New York City), which shared some statistics from to a poll they had conducted on transportation, in relation to their current mayoral race. New York is certainly not representative of the country, but I found it interesting that a third of NYC voters knows someone who has been seriously injured or killed in traffic. Presumably, this number includes motorists as well as bicyclists. 875 responses on a random sample is a pretty good data set on a poll like this, so when you group those who want protected bike lanes with those who want safer streets for pedestrians (total 67%), it becomes pretty clear that traffic safety is a common interest.

Physical rehab aside, it took me a little while to be comfortable on a bike after being hit by a car. I've had a few close calls since then. On the road, I have learned that my safety is my own responsibility. I have to trust the drivers around me, and they have to trust me that I will "ride in a predictable manner." I've made mistakes, and I have seen my share of drivers make mistakes, mostly out of impatience.

Still, there are others that I have encountered with open hostility towards people on bikes. They are the folks that worry me the most, more than the ones not paying attention for a moment. I've been yelled at, called names, and have had drivers intentionally cut me off and cut it close in order to try to prove a point. The point taken is that they are too foolish to know what they are risking. I've yelled back, chased people down, and even tapped on a driver's window to get their attention and tell them off. I know that just perpetuates the hostility, and it can get a rider into an unpredictable situation or altercation. So mostly I try to grin and bear it, and use the anger and adrenalin as a PED to improve my ride.

There is a bike memorial that I pass when I ride along West River Road in Minneapolis. It serves as a reminder to me of the everyday dangers, and the precautions I need to take when I am on my bike. When I see it, I remember my own crash, and how blessed I am that it wasn't worse, that I am lucky to be live and to have quickly rehabilitated.  I am glad to be there for my kids, glad for the opportunity to ride with them and share this passion. I am grateful for the new perspective that seminal event has given me, and hope to maintain this as a day of rebirth. God is great!