Friday, June 29, 2007

Ride On

It was a bit of an unusual ride in this morning. I waited at the corner for any other Bike Friday cyclists. None showed up.

I took the lane on Yonge Street when I was passing some parked cars. For the second time this week, a car pulled up close behind me. I turned around and yelled at him to back off. He did. I think he was just totally absorbed in a conversation with a passenger and tailgated me like he would any other vehicle on the street.

Then taking the hill down Yonge, where I can easily reach 50 km/h, a car pulled up straddling the line just behind me. He was going to squeeze between me and the car in the left lane. This is dumb and potentially unsafe, but wouldn't be the worst move I've seen. If he'd just wait 5 seconds, for us to be in different positions, it would be so much easier. I turned my head to say "no" to him, which usually works fine. He went anyways. I could see him smoking in his car, and then got a huge wiff of marijuana as he went by.

At the red light at the bottom of the hill, a guy yells to me, "Buddy!". I hear it as I zip past. I stop and roll back a few cars. He has his window down and doesn't look threatening. I'm kind of hoping he's going to ask me about riding his bike. "You're a good rider. I can see that, and that's great. But these guys out here are assholes. You're going to get yourself killed." I usually hear this from some idiot who thought I was in his way, but this guy seems nice enough. Frankly though, I don't want to hear it, especially if I don't know if the person has a clue about cycling in traffic. So I wave and ride on.

I should have asked him if he was about to get on the 401 and told him I was worried for him. Or asked him to write a letter for me to our politicians. I'm like George Costanza that way. I come up with all the best responses 5 minutes too late.

I had a little too much adrenaline pumping through my veins for one morning, so I decided to switch things up, and take my newly discovered offroad trail. It's only 2 km, but I needed a nice break. On my way there, a guy hangs his head out of a white van. Giving half a smile, he says "Ride on!"

Or maybe it was "Right on!". Either way, it was nice to hear. Yesterday, a guy gave me a thumbs up. In fact, I'm pretty sure it was the same guy as last year.

The air in the forest was cool and refreshing, and the surroundings make me feel far away from traffic and aggression at the top of the hill. It was like a short lived vacation.

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Darren J 6/29/2007 01:04:00 PM

4 Comments:

I think it was a muppet invasion or something? I haven't had a chance to finish my blog post yet, but I had "close encounters of the muppet kind" with 6 people this morning. It's a record that I don't want to break.
Now if you driving your Blue Velomobile you'd have a faster trip.. nice see'ing you at CM. sorry if I did'nt chat to much
I've been finding the muppets are even worse on the highways, now I've been in cars a few times. In the UK, a rule of thumb is to never be closer than 2 seconds' stopping distance from the vehicle in front; here in Halifax I've seen trucks on our bumper at 100km/hr. It's certainly putting all the accidents I see in the newspapers into perspective...
I had a weird couple of rides in as well. On my way to work, I came as close as I've ever come to being hit. Someone didn't have their turn signal on, but was going really slowly, so I turned left in front of them, and they started drifting right, towards me. I was pretty sure I was going to make it past them, but it would have been close. Fortunately, they looked up, or something, and braked hard. I tried to pull up beside them, to thank them for braking, but they were stuck behind a long line of cars, so I didn't get the chance.

And on my way home, someone was parked in the bike lane, picking up a passenger who stepped into the lane in front of me. I started saying "Don't you dare open that door. Don't do it. Just don't." and he heard me, and didn't, but he looked a little confused as I passed him.

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