Monday, June 02, 2008

Skittish

Temperature at departure = 66° F (19° C)

Wow, it has been a very busy couple of weeks. KAT's high school graduation, the last days of school for Jon and Curtis and a host of other things -- including a few recreational bike rides -- I haven't spent as much time in front of the computer lately.

We really over-did things Saturday, cleaning out the garage and attic, which had a ton of wood shake shingle debris from when we got our new roof a month or so ago. After church, Peter and I decided to take the opportunity to ride the 22.5 mile loop on the trail. Temperatures were in the mid 80's and there were a ton of people, both walkers and cyclists, who had the same idea.

My bell thumb got a really good work out and the behavior of most of the people we came into contact with reminded me of the steers we used to see at my grandmother's farm. When I was a child we spent every other weekend during the spring, summer and fall at my grandmother's farm. That is the way I remember it and I think my brother and cousins can back me up. Part of the farm had been leased out to some neighbor to graze their cattle. I was fascinated by these huge animals and would often try to pull some grass and feed them when they came up close to the house. My grandmother would warn me not to get them skittish -- but I don't recall them ever being that interested in me. The people on the trail yesterday are a different story.

I rang the bell well in advance of passing people and it freaks so many of them out that they just sort of mill around in the middle of the path not knowing what to do. It's pretty simple people, move over to the right. Families were the worst; they'd just spread out all the way across the path and freeze. I don't mind with small kids, I slow way down, smile and apologize or say "no problem" if they apologize to me. Then there was the recumbent dad and his two teen-agers.

Peter was behind me as I pulled around a corner at mile 18. There in front of me, headed our direction was an older couple walking on the path, side by side, with recumbent dad and his spawn trying to pass them. The first kid made it as did the dad ... but the teen-age daughter who was bringing up the rear decided that it was her right to pass too. Closest call I've ever had in 40 some years of riding bikes. I was as far to the right as I could safely go and she just kept coming. Our wheels must have only been 5 inches apart and we brushed shoulders. I honestly don't understand how we didn't smack head on into each other. Peter tried to slam on his brakes to avoid me (I guess I'd hit mine a bit too) and she almost hit him as well. Recumbent dad's little princess, of course, believed that we were entirely in the wrong.

Okay folks, they post the rules of the path at the trail heads. Spend a few moments with your spawn and go over it with them and be prepared to that the responsibility to tell them to hold up or move to the right. Arrrrrgh. There, I feel better.

Close to the new detour on Roe there is a Sonic and a Quick Trip. The plan was to stop for a drink at Quick Trip for a slushie but Peter talked me into going to Sonic instead since it was "happy hour" and the drinks were half price. I'm glad he did. Sonic has a bike rack next to their picnic tables -- Quick Trip has no bike friendly space at all.

We took a break to enjoy a slushie and headed home to get ready to grill. All in all another wonderful weekend ride.

Oh, yesterday's moment of irony came as I was driving home from church. East bound 435's exit to 69 is always an adventure. Those exiting 69 are supposed to yield to those coming off 435. There is a short section of the two lanes where both must cross over to the other lane of suffer the consequences. There was a car coming off 69 that speed up to try to beat me and refused to yield. As I let her pass I took note of her bumper sticker. So, she refuses to yield but insists that I coexist...

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

That yield sign is more a suggestion. Personally, it is my lane until I decide to change lanes. Deal with it. :)

Noah said...

I got cut-off by a sticker-wearing member of the "coexist" camp. From what I've seen, "coexist" means "do not inconvenience me and everything will be just fine."

Of course, lately it also seems that the Christian Fish is more of a "Warning: Road rager!" symbol than a testament of faith. But we won't go there. I love the Lord, but sometimes I wish he'd save me from his followers.

monkeywithchainsaw said...

Well, I guess the same percentage of people who are bad drivers will probably be bad bikers. At least they aren't on the roads.