Monday, July 20

Remember That, and Thanks for the Insight

I drove to work today for the first time in two weeks. The weather was marginal, and I was running out of clean work clothes. In addition, we've got a customer review. It was time for the "Laundry Recovery Vehicle" to swing into action.

My first impression on driving roads I ride every day: I was amazed that I have little trouble. From the perspective of the Land Rover, the roads looked virtually unrideable. It gives me a little better understanding of some of the comments I read from news articles about crashes involving bicycles.

My second impression, upon reading comments about "The Wheels" post: Not nearly so amazing - when things are crowded, the motorists are even MORE eager not to get held up on a multi-lane road and they don't want to hit anything. They do the dance we all do - it's called "rules of the road and how we get along in traffic." What that means is they switch even earlier, except for the occasional dweeb. It's the same principle that causes everyone to switch early on a freeway to avoid a blocked lane. It just flows better that way. Mostly, they just get irritated at the dweeb who doesn't do the same and then wants back in at the last moment. Remember that if the dweeb honk (most dweebs don't) - he's still a dweeb, only now he's revealed himself as an unusually irritating and ignorant one because you're not a lane blockage, but traffic moving a bit slower than the rest of the pack. If you're not carfree, observe carefully the next time you drive. It also caused me to reflect on how repeated positive experience molds us.

Thanks to Doohickie & ChipSeal for a little added insight, Ride safe...

PS: Driving, I got to work 15 minutes later than normal and was reminded why one should be careful about leaving a sunroof even cracked open around these parts. Everything is dry now, however, and I don't think the seat stitching got wet.

9 comments:

ChipSeal said...

I am car-free, but I do get rides in cars, so I know exactly what you mean!

I can be in my buddies car, and he is hurtling down a two-lane country road at 20 MPH over the speed limit (Yes, he will often reach 75 MPH!) and it seems impossible that a cyclist could survive traveling in the lane. But I do it many times a week.

I take the lane on State Highway 34, SH 85 and SH 287, and it looks to me, even today, like a reckless and foolhardy move when viewed through a windshield. Many of the arterials in Dallas that I have hours of experience traveling on, look very frightening when viewed from standing on the sidewalk. We just see the speed and the platoons of dense traffic and it is hard to imagine how a bicycle at 12 MPH isn't "asking for it".

So good on you Steve, and congratulations to you, Doohickie, on stepping out and asserting your rightful place on the public road. A real form of bicycle education and advocacy.

Also Steve, thanks for commenting on Keri's essay You Lead the Dance, I read it for the first time today before reading your post. (He has a link to it in the body of his post.) I would urge all who have read this far to go read it a few times.

Steve A said...

Maybe we're all just incredibly lucky every day? Actually, I do count myself lucky to get to do such things daily.

Rantwick said...

Steve - Good post. As much as being carfree is admirable, I also really appreciate how driving and cycling can inform each other. I am convinced that cycling has made me a better driver, and driving has helped me understand what it is that drivers find scary about cyclists.

Doohickie said...

Funny you should post this, because I was just going to mention this as well. I've had some discussions with ChipSeal to try to explain the perspective of a motorist encountering a cyclist, and how that affects my riding technique.

I've also discovered the opposite is also true. I was driving a couple weeks ago on a crowded thoroughfare noticed a gutter bunny being closely passed in the right lane. Without too much thought, I slowed a bit to let a car change into my (center) lane so he wouldn't crowd the cyclist.

(My wife, who doesn't ride at all, wondered out loud of the cyclist wouldn't be safer by riding out in the middle of the lane so that cars would need to change lanes to pass him. So even a total cager can understand the benefits of vehicular cycling.)

Steve A said...

Crimeny - ANOTHER INSIGHT! Riding along in the gutter, do you think it would have occurred to the gutter bunny, in a million years, that he AND his motorized fellow travellers would all be better off if he were just riding in the middle of that twelve foot bike lane so they could figure out what to do early - instead of having to hit the brakes and try to move over when they realize the lane's just too narrow for two. Not everyone is kind enough to let such drivers in as Doohickie did.

Doohickie did well in choosing Mrs Doohickie, or maybe he was lucky to be chosen. She's a smart cookie and not to be trifled with. He ought to pass that truth along...

Doohickie said...

Doohickie did well in choosing Mrs Doohickie, or maybe he was lucky to be chosen. She's a smart cookie and not to be trifled with.

Funny you should mention that...

Steve A said...

I didn't realize we were twins separated at birth and by a few years! My own oldest was also born in 1987 - in California. She was not a son, however, though she's as car crazy as most sons. Please tell me your own was NOT born at Torrance Memorial Hospital.

Give Mrs Doohickie a big hug from me and let her know you're ready to come in from the cold and dump some of that ancient bike junk. I'll do the same...

PS: Daughter #2's graduation ALSO coincided with Doohickie family son #2 in time. Here, we start to diverge. My #2 was born in California, rather than Texas. That means we're fraternal twins at most.

If there's a Doohickie descendant #3, I do NOT want to hear about him/her. There're too many parallels already...

Doohickie said...

Nope, just the two.

Back to the coversation.... I had to drive today, and I came across a cycle commuter. So no I know what people think when they see me. In this case, though, I had an issue with the cyclist's style which was kind of annoying. Funny how you find yourself grading other people's cycling styles.

Steve A said...

Which begs the question of what, specifically was annoying?

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