Monday, July 23, 2007

thanks, but no thanks

Today a nice lady tried to yield to me.

I was stopped at the East entrance to the 14th/Newport Ave roundabout, she was in it from 14th looking to go West on Newport. She saw me waiting, so she slammed on her brakes. The car behind her slammed on his.

I appreciate her attempt to be nice to a cyclist, but she has a greater duty to the rest of the world to abide by the Oregon Revised Statutes, which include not stopping in a roundabout. That is against the law. Also, yielding to traffic when you have the right-of-way is illegal as well. The idea is to keep traffic flowing. I know she has the right of way, because I have the yield sign. People behind her are not expecting her to slam on the brakes at that location in the roundabout.

Her actions almost caused Johnny Q. Public to rear-end her. I appreciate the gesture, but...she needed to continue past and drive on. My stance did not change and she ended up fingering me and then driving up on the truck skirt to get around the circle. Had she driven correctly, none of that would have happened.

Had she been on a bicycle, we could have easily pulled over to discuss it.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

two a day

People sometimes never stop to answer the question, "What is the worst that could happen?" Perhaps they even fail to ask it. not let this be you.

My five-year old will one day grow weary of hearing about the risks present in the world, I am sure.

truly amazed

First, I did the full century ride. I did not have to evac out. It was really amazing to find I could ride that far, that long.

Next, I continue to be amazed that the state of (Oregon, could be any state) continues to license people who cannot read English, or read in general. While on the ride up to McKenzie Pass, an RV passed me, taking up more lanes that it should have needed, clearly longer than the maximum footage described on signs in the area. He must have failed to recognize that his RV's length was longer than what is described as too long. He physically expressed amazement to learn he is number one with me. After all that, his length and width, he was also travelling too fast for the turn he was negotiating. I suppose he is too important to be bothered with safety issues, and much more important than the rest of society to be concerned with rules that apply to his level of RV class.

Further, the illiterate red-neck in his "rig" who thought it would be best to barely scrape by us in our bike-lane then drifted to the right to straddle our bike lane for another 1/4 mile, I can only say, you certainly will not drown swimming in the shallow-end of the gene pool.

Lastly, the crew(s) who supported the Tour des Chutes truly rocked...they had food, good food, drink, bathrooms, and a great attitude for all riders. How refreshing to come off of the Pass and have someone there to take care of you and think they are doing you the favor.

The idiots were out there, the ride was awe-inspiring, the support was amazing, the day was incredible. See you next year on the ride...


Friday, July 20, 2007

soldier of fortune

Tonight I had to ride to Ray's for some bars for tomorrow's century.

On the way there, I ran into another rider who had written on his messenger bag, "Bikes not Bush." I told him that was a brave thing, considering this county is still mostly red. He replied with something akin to, "Hey man, this is a war and bikes are how we will win it."

Wow. That is right, that is how we will win it.

Spare you car, your wallet and the air you breathe. Help fight and win the war. Soldier on...on your bike.

(There are enough anti-bush bloggers out there, you do not need me dog-piling on. It would be too easy.)

Bikes are how we will beat Bush in this war.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

body count

Yesterday I dropped my bike off at Bend Bike-N-Sport (excellent service) for a tune-up prior to the Tour Des Chutes cancer benefit. 100 miles is my poison.

While awaiting my evac, I watched each car that drove by to see how many persons were present. 90% (or so) of the cars that drove by in a 14-minute period were solo. The others had another person in the passenger seat. Usually these were heavy equipment dudes, as evidenced by the matching hi-visibility vests they each wore.

I think all of the cars were designed to carry five passengers at least. Some were equipped with more seats than that. I concede it was lunch time, so worker bees gotta get out of the hive and get some food or run errands. But...that is a lot of empty space, wasted space, useless space. Why could they not ride a bike to do X (where X=anything)?

Are we back to the burdensome bothersome hassle argument? I do not buy that. Is it about speed and getting back by a certain time? I might buy that if you are punching a clock, but not everyday. I will never know the answer, unless I stop everyone and survey them. But that would waste gas.

To read my stuff, you might think I am pompous about bike-commuting. Maybe. Maybe I earned that right while commuting in the heavy Salem rains of last November. But, if you think you can out-argue me on this, forward me your counter. Tell me your reasons why you cannot get in the saddle and use the single-most efficient form of transportation to get from A to B. Better, I challenge you to do it for a week...five days of work. If you are guilt-prone, it is the least you can do for this town.

If we all did a little more, there might be...might be...fewer cars to count and healthier bodies.


Wednesday, July 18, 2007

not about the car

It has been a year since I gave up the company car before I quit to go back to school. I never set out to be gung-ho bike commuter man.

It started as a necessity; I had no car. At school, eight blocks away, having a car would have been stupid. I would have been lazy and driven it everyday, finding some excuse. What I realized was that many of my classmates were doing just that. They were driving one, maybe two miles to school, even on nice days. I think that began to galvanize me. That was simply dumb. What a waste of everything, including the $100 parking permit ($300 for a reserved permit, often utilized by people car-pooling from Portland, which made sense). One person eschewed the permit, taking his chances with the City of Salem. After he got $100 in tickets, they booted his car, which cost him another $100.

Then it turned into a game. How much superior could I feel on a daily basis? I started shaving my legs, because hey, I was a cyclist. The legs turned into a comfort thing as well. They just felt better shaven. Anyway, I began to feel better physically and environmentally. The enormity of driving dawned on me. How much was I saving? How much was I protecting. Was that Hummer with the trophy undoing everything I was doing? Was this futile? I tried to spread the gospel of bike commuting, but most people thought it too much of a hassle; too burdensome to undertake.

One week, I had to wear a tie in the afternoon, everyday for four days. I rode in Monday morning with all of the dress clothes for the week, and stashed them on shelves near my desk in the library. Their they laid, all week, getting used up each day. It was actually easy. I explained what I had done to some of my classmates. They thought I was high.

After a year, it is no longer about not having a car. It is no longer about keeping fit. It is everything at once. I am doing my part for myself, for my neighborhood, for the air. Sound lofty and ethereal? Maybe.

And my legs are so smooth...


Tuesday, July 17, 2007

two a day

Everytime you see a person without a helmet, whether it is a kid, a grown man post-DUII, a parent (seen riding without a helmet, while their kid has one on), think of this article.

Normally, I try to stay away from the Bulletin, but they do have AP links on their page.

racing, but not racing

I can almost match traffic down Newport Ave in the AM. On my Felt road bike. My single-speed can only get to 22-24mph before it gets unstable from my ferocity. But I do not like to work that hard at pedalling.

Assume traffic is not speeding and I can match it or beat it during rush-hour. Better, one car trying to turn left can hold everyone up, getting me huge passing bonus. Woo Hoo. Plus they are all behind me as I get into the drops and cruise past Drake park on the way home.

Today, I saw two of Bend's finest staked out at River Rd and Galveston. I gave them a wave, as they could be scraping me off the pavement tomorrow for all I know. Traffic was very reasonable as it moved past the Johnnies Law.

I watched Hell on Wheels last night at the St. Francis (too funny that after years of repressed catholic education, I slurp beers in a converted catholic school). Man that movie was hard-core rockumentary about the 2003 Tour. I thought I biked hard. Those riders go harder, but they also get an LMT and more pasta.

Before the movie, I hoped for a speech about bike commuting, critical mass, political unrest, green, etc. I suppose that would have been preaching to the choir, given the target audience, but sometimes people need a nudge. Cool regardless.

I may not be on the Tour, but racing traffic is just as rewarding for now and validates what some already know: bike commuting is more efficient, especially in this town.


Monday, July 16, 2007

rolling home

On the way home today, a nice lady decided to yield to me as I approached the 14th/Newport Ave round-about. It was either that or slam on my brakes.

Granted, I could have looked back earlier, I could have stuck my arm out sooner...but perhaps we both could have been going slower. I concede my lack of attention as to merging. She waved me ahead with her free hand, which meant she was driving with no hands. Her other was engaged with her cell phone. She paid attention to her surroundings. She had that going for her. In return, I did not scowl at her.

I wonder sometimes if recipients of my scowl realize why they are on the receiving end. In Salem one afternoon poststudy group, I was tearing down Commercial/Liberty, rounding through the Northbound S-Curve, going faster than the speed limit. A Hummer H1 drove up alongside in the center lane and the trophy in the passenger seat was smiling at me. I mouthed something cutting edge about what *kind* of gas-guzzler she was in. The "O" her mouth described was rather rewarding.

I do not recall when I became aggro about gas-guzzling...maybe it was within the last seven years, around 2000, when I went blue.

That nice lady on the cell phone today was driving alone in an SUV. I could have offered her one of my bikes to ride instead. But she was busy driving on the phone.


Sunday, July 15, 2007

hollered at

Riding along O.B. Riley with my co-workers, an older gentleman hollered at me for riding just inside the bike line, rather than outside of it. He must have failed to observe the construction zone, the rough road and the divots, holes, gravel piles, etc. populating the bike lane area. A cyclist has to come out of the lane and ride on the poorly done road area, typically utilized by the four-wheeled coffins.

That is our statutory right, to come out of the bike lane to avoid foreign objects. A car is required to yield when that happens.

Perhaps it was asking too much of a car to slow down, allow me the space, and then resume their consumption of fossil fuels. He had to roll up along side me, tell me how I am his best friend, I am number one in his book and then slowly accelerate. To his credit, he *was* driving a fuel efficient Japanese car. But that is all the credit he gets.

Do drivers of cars not understand that they are driving 2-3 tons of machinery? while I am riding on 18 pounds of thin metal with nothing for protection other than the 30SPF I sprayed on? I have seen irate drivers almost cause head-ons with opposing traffic, because they were more concerned with yelling, swearing and telling us we are number one with them.

Drivers need to get over themselves. This is not just about cyclists versus cars, but everyone versus cars. Pedestrians mostly...many cars do not yield to peds at legal crosswalks, often due to cell phone usage.

Soon, hopefully, there will be a time when cell phones cannot be used by drivers while the car is in motion. Until then, the drivers will sometimes pull over to talk. While blocking the bike lane, no doubt.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Clean up yer shite

Tonight on the way back from the old mill poseur complex, I watched a large dog drop a massive dump in a parking lot. The "master" commented on the size (to the dog, not me) and then walked off.

In this town, typically the dog's handler will take care of the dookies. Looks like this owner did not get that bulletin.

I rode by him while he was standing ten feet from a plastic bag dispenser, specifically for dog shite; I mentioned to him that bags were right there. His look initially said, "Hunh?" I followed up with, "So you can clean that up."

His look changed to "go eff yourself."

I suppose perhaps he did not get enough hugs as a youngster, so everyone down-wind must now recognize that that fella does what he wants.

Bend continues to grow.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

first post

My first entry from Bend, Oregon. Where the weather is great and the car drivers are not paying attention.

Bicycle riders on the other hand, seem to have their heads screwed on right.

I ride 1.7 miles to and from work and at lunch, ride another 17 to 33 depending on the day of the week. I do not own a car, which sometimes makes life difficult. Like when I am trying to schlep a ride back to Salem for school. There are only so many buses that go that way.

Much of the time I am on my bike is spent navigating the debris in the bike lane that the city is wont to ignore. The rest of my time is spent keeping an eye on drivers who are 1)talking on the phone, 2) talking on the phone or 3) consider me as insignificant as the environment they are polluting.

Whew...that was a vitriolic first entry. As I ease into putting my thoughts to posts, I will try to keep from being whacked by a rolling coffin.