Saturday, January 22, 2011

My Hair Shirt

Let me preface this by saying that my standards for my own conduct have no bearing on what I think other people should do.

When I ride, I scrupulously follow traffic laws. I stop for red lights. I stop at stop signs. Even if there are no cars or pedestrians at the intersection. I stop for pedestrians in a crosswalk. I ALWAYS, ALWAYS yield the right of way to pedestrians, regardless of whether they are in the right. I ride as far to the right as is safe, except to make left hand turns. Etc, Etc.

Sometimes, I break a traffic law. When this happens, I feel pretty awful. To help expiate the guilt, I fine myself. I look up the amount of the fine for the violation in Washington State, and I donate that amount to a cause that, hopefully, will help those in need.

Today, I donated $124 to Northwest Harvest, because I was unable to stop in time to stay outside of a crosswalk into which a pedestrian had entered. (Riding far to the right, I couldn't see around a truck that was parked nose into the crosswalk.) The pedestrian was able to step back in time. I am very thankful for that, because if I were ever to hit a pedestrian, I don't know what I'd do. (Lesson learned: if I'm approaching a crosswalk, and I can't see the curb at the crosswalk, I need to either slow down or, if it's safe, move toward the center of the road until I can see the curb.)

Interestingly, later in the ride, I was stopped at a crosswalk with pedestrians in it while several cars blew through, while a cop sat watching. (I am confident that if one of the drivers had had a knife and was Native American and hearing-impaired, the cop would have swung right into action,)

Anyway, if my code of conduct is personal, why am I publicizing it? Don't know. Maybe because I'd like to believe there are others out there who have the same personal code of conduct? Or maybe I'm being just a wee bit sanctimonious.

Ride on, ride on.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

It was the 80's

Carol was rummaging through old photos, and dug up this little blast from past. Brings back memories:
  • Notice the large glasses and the mustache. Sorry, it was the 80's.
  • Notice the suspenders. There was no excuse for that.
  • Notice the hands on brakes and the frantic grin. Had just learned to ride the rollers, and was nervous
  • This was my first ever "racing" bike. It was a mid-70's Raleigh Super Course, a decent touring bike that I incrementally upgraded with Campy Record parts.
  • The wheels were my first-ever wheel build. They were 700c tubular (the frame was for 27" wheels -- so had extra long reach Dia-Compe brakes), Arc-en-Ciel (I believe) rims on Campy Record hubs, and probably cheap Clement Concorde tires. I trued these on the frame, and they truly sucked.
  • Though it's hard to tell, it's set up as a fixed gear. The common wisdom back then, from the Mike Walden school, was that the first 500 miles of each season were to be on fixed gear, preferably < 60 gear inches. Made sense for southeast Michigan, where most of our hills were highway overpasses.
  • The shoes were Brancales with wooden soles and nail-on cleats. They were also one (U.S.) size too small, but they were all I could get. So, riding in the winter was absolute torture. When I finally bought a pair of right-sized Duegi's (50 Euro) from Multigear, my feet thanked me.
The caption reads:
Ted Diamond of the University of Michigan Bicycle Club (far left) [ed: wish they'd keep my politics out of it!] uses a set of rollers to show how easy [ed: easy, my ass!] it is to ride even if there's snow outside