Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Small town cycling stories...



I just realized that I've been out of Seattle for 4 years now and I haven't shared any of my rural cycling experiences with this blog. I'm sorry about that, when I left, I promised to share my experiences with friends, but underestimated the magnitude of the event of moving one's family!

I have so many cycling stories, but I have one that stands out that seems uniquely rural, but could happen anywhere-

3 years ago, my cycling buddy Steve and I were out on a ride about 20 miles from home. It was March, and the weather was cold and dry, but threatening. We ignored the clouds (as any former native Puget Sounder would do). As we rolled along after a big hill, the clouds opened up and began dumping water - like monsoon dumping. A few minutes into the deluge, I flatted. We pulled off to the side of the road to fix my flat. As I struggled to open my saddle bag with numb fingers a car raced up, pulled over, and a lady ran out of her car with an umbrella and held it over us while we changed the flat.

It turned out that neither of us knew her, and she didn't try to sell us on any product, church or agenda, she was just helping out.

Bike Flopping



I thought I'd seen it all in the world of bike commuting, until yesterday I saw my first bike flop
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flop_(basketball)). Headed Eastbound on Pike St. approaching Broadway, I was biking 20 feet or so behind a guy in the margin between parked cars and a long line of cars in a traffic jam. A car ahead of him, without signaling, made a right turn to nose into an empty parking space. So the car cut off the cyclist, but the cyclist wasn't moving that fast and he seemed to have plenty of time to avoid being hit. But the cyclist ended up hitting the car's right rear door, and he exchanged  heated words with the driver of the car. I slowed up and watched things play out. The cyclist eventually proceeded ahead to the light, and the woman parking seemed angry/flabbergasted. I don't really know if she did or didn't see the cyclist before turning her car. When I caught the cyclist at the the light I asked him if he was ok, and he said he was fine.  He had seen the whole thing coming. He essentially wanted to teach the driver a dramatic lesson in bike awareness, and had done this same act before. I was kind of mystified by the whole thing, but glad that he wasn't really hurt. Others may see this differently, but my gut reaction was that "flopping" for the sake of teaching better driving habits does little to help cyclist safety. That said, I recall an incident about 15 years ago when I was attempting to make a right hand turn at a red light in my car, and was essentially blocking a crosswalk and not looking for pedestrians crossing from my right. A pedestrian came behind my car and pounded his fist loudly onto the trunk. He made his point. I was wrong. I have never ever blocked a crosswalk with my car since.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Close To Home

Terrible thing happened this morning on my commute route. The 55-year-old cyclist who is mentioned is not me.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Collision Report

Click the Bikewise.org icon to see the accident report.

Carol picked up the bike from the Fremont fire station today. I haven't seen it yet, but she made a wry comment about how I had some truin' to do. (My rear wheel is apparently toast)

I would post photo of my face, but I am afraid it would cause miscarriages.

On the positive side, I've probably acquired the ability to play some musical instrument. I just have to figure out which one. Bagpipes?

I am glad to be alive, and so far, not permanently injured. And thankful for police, EMT's, Harborview doctors and above all, Harborview nursing staff. And of course, Carol.

I am also thankful that the driver stopped after the accident. Not sure who made the call to 9-1-1 -- I assume it was she.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

My Bike Was Stolen...Until It Wasn't

I was downtown this evening, getting a replacement phone (I ran mine through the washer). I locked my bike to a bike rack near where I was going. When I finished and went back...no bike. No lock. No nuthin'.

I had the adrenaline rush of panic. It's been a very long time since one of my bikes was stolen. Immediately, I started mentally tallying the damage. It was an old low-end Bianchi steel frame, well-scuffed. Cheap steel fork. Sora shifters (yes, Sora), old 105/Ultegra derailleurs, 105 Octalink crank & BB, Eggbeater 2 pedals, and basic (Tiagra hubs, Alex DM18 rims, Sapim straight spokes) self-built wheels. Durano Plus tires. All in all, not a staggering loss, monetarily.

Oh, but I loved this bike. This is the bike I used for the Passport to Pain. More than that, it just feels right, like it wants to be ridden. Cheap components, but they all work happily with each other. If this bike were a dog, it would be a chocolate Lab. Ever-ready, always happy.

As I stood there with these thoughts running through my head, I happened to glance inside the nearby Jimmy John's, and saw a bike by the counter. A large-framed bike. Minimal, aggressive, and rather cool-looking. My bike.

It turns out the guys at JJ's took my bike, along with the rack it was locked to, and carried it inside. I suppose maybe they did this because the rack was not a public rack, and this was a way of getting my attention. That, they did. But, no matter. I am just so happy the bike was not stolen. Because I love this bike!

I hope your day was as good as mine.

Monday, November 12, 2012

...For Something Completely Different...

This caught my eye in my neighborhood blog. Most of the bikes I see are road, commuting, or mountain, and are ridden by adults. Seeing the passion for BMX -- by a 5-year-old! -- that's eye-opening.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Passport 2 Pain

Awhile ago, I vowed two things: 1) I would stop blogging, and spend more time riding; 2) I would not tell anyone about what a great place Vashon Island is to ride. Today, I'm breaking both those vows.

First, the secret will soon be out about Vashon. I can no more keep Vashon a rider's paradise by not mentioning it than Sheriff Tate could keep Boo Radley an innocent by declaring that Bob Euell fell on his knife, suh, he fell on his knife!

Second, I just have to tell you about the Passport 2 Pain.

Imagine a mountain stage of the Tour de France, with perhaps 3,000 meters of climbing, spread over, say 120 miles. Now reduce that 120 miles to 75, with the concomitant loss of recovery miles, and you have the P2P.

Or, think about the US Pro Championship parcours in Philadelphia. One hundred fifty six miles, with ten climbs up the Manayunk Wall with its (shudder) 17% grade. Now take a few of those climbs, tilt that 17% so that it exceeds 20%, shrink the recovery time to half, and you have the P2P.

Fellers, let me tell you about P2P. It's a 75-mile course that takes in more than 18 of Vashon Island's steepest climbs. For those of you who have never been to Vashon, imagine this. Sea level, 500 ft. elevation, and not much in-between. And what is in-between? Is seriously tilted. For those of you who have been to Vashon and ridden the published routes: you know that long, long climb up from the ferry? That climb is not part of the route, and hills of that grade are not considered as part of the 18. They are sous-categorie. They are what get us from one of the 18 to the next.

Now, it would be awfully funny if, after all this, I had not actually ridden the P2P. But I did. Woo doggies!