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
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.
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