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 |

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Ideas That Go

Utilitarian cyclists in Oakland California.



Did you notice the credits at the end? Could that be John Forester's nom de plume?

Via the bike radio show Bikescape.

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Darren J 6/21/2007 11:43:00 PM | 0 comments |

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

A Hot Ride Downtown

This story doesn't have an exciting ending, but if you're willing to read through, I'm interested in hearing comments.

It's Monday, after work. The weather is nice and warm, which seems to bring out a lot of cyclists. I'm passing under the 401 on a narrow path used by cyclists and pedestrians, mostly heading to and from work.

A cyclist is heading towards me, gunning it, so I slow down to make sure I don't brush my knuckles on the fence. A second after he passes, I hear a guy yell behind me. Apparently the cyclist behind me didn't appreciate the close call.

I ask if he's ok, and he tells me that the fast cyclist nearly made him crash, but he's alright.

Guy: Hey, how long does it take to get downtown from here.

Me: Maybe about 40 minutes, but it depends a lot.

Guy: Depends how fast you can ride?

Me: Yup. And what way you go. Are you going to take Yonge Street or do you know the back roads?

Guy: I don't know.

Me: Well, follow me, and I'll lead you on the back roads some of the way. You don't want to ride down Yonge over there.

We pull up to the highway ramp to wait for a break in the traffic.

Guy: Doesn't it feel weird being attached to your pedals like that?

Me: No, you get used to it pretty quickly. I used to have regular pedals with a strap, but this lets me go up hills a little faster.

He has regular pedals, no straps. I see he has sandals on, the kind you just slide your foot into without the thing between your toes. He's also half way through a cigarette. I start to wonder how much time I'm going to add to my commute home by waiting for this guy.

Me: Where are you riding from.

Guy: Yonge and Finch.

We're still waiting for the cars to let up. We make a few comments about the traffic. Eventually we cross and head over to a quieter street.

Guy: Hey, do you know where I could sell this bike?

Me: I don't know.

Guy: I have the instructions and everything. It's only 2 weeks old. It's a GT.

It's a yellow GT mountain bike. I don't end up looking too carefully to see the model or suspension type. It does look new.

Me: There must be some bike shops that buy used bikes.

Guy: There's one on Queen Street, right?

Me: I think there used to be, but I heard it got shut down by the police because there were too many stolen bikes. (I don't know how true that is).

Pedal, pedal, pedal. He's definitely not keeping up, even at a slow pace on level ground. I recommend he take the subway, but he's not interested in waiting the 15 minutes until they let bikes on.

Me: Have you tried Craigslist?

Guy: What's that?

Me: A web site. You can sell anything there.

Guy - nothing

Me: You don't want to ride that bike? It looks like a really nice bike.

Guy: Nah, I want to get something better.

We continue on to the bottom of the hill at Hogg's Hollow. I recommend he take Yonge now because the hill is too steep on the side streets. We split up.

The bike hasn't shown up on Craigslist yet.

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Darren J 6/20/2007 12:23:00 PM | 7 comments |