Tuesday, June 30


Today was an exceptional commute day, so exceptional that I'm going to defer my planned "Experimental Cycling" post. First off, the weather was great! Second off, traffic seemed light today. I got all the way to Highway 26 before the first traffic interaction, which is very unusual. But the real treats were saved for the trip home; normally a lot less fun than the ride in.

Before you ride any further into the post, pass your mouse over the embedded Google Streetview and observe where the line falls on the road. Don't go clicking now!

View Larger Map

No, it wasn't me, y'all ought to know better, even after such a brief intro. I actually saw a guy, dressed up in cycling duds, on a road bike, on MY road, on a WEEKDAY, at GOING HOME TIME! This has never happened before. But it gets even better. As I came up to the stop sign on Coffeetree, whoosh he goes by, headed south on Katy Road. Katy's the road in the Streetview. I like it because the cement truck drivers and I wave at each other each morning as they head south and I head north. It's also got a pretty good surface. If you now click on the Streetview arrow going south, you can see how much room a UPS Truck takes up.

After I made my turn to Katy, the guy was a couple of hundred feet ahead and I had a grandstand view. He seemed to be doing pretty well, and he certainly kept a pretty straight course along that white line, but I was interested in how the motorists would behave. About a half dozen cars passed us. Four of them made complete lane changes to pass him. The other two were a bit cozy for my taste, but they still probably gave him at least three feet.

But it got better. Oh, LUCKY DAY! I caught up to the guy at the Keller Hicks four-way stop, which is where I usually turn left before turning right onto Hwy 377. I stopped behind him (I'm in full anthropologist mode by now). When my turn came, I made my left; up ahead, he seemed a little perplexed about the traffic waiting to turn right onto Hwy 377. Then he shot into the parking lot and down a few stores, looking to turn left. I made my right with my motorist buds when the light changed, set up to move left for the left turn and then, due to northbound traffic, elected to take my "failsafe left" instead. As I completed the turn, I did a gratuitous head check - he was still stranded back in the parking lot with Hwy 377 traffic passing both ways. I felt like a Peeping Tom. I do hope he made it home safe.

Later, I saw another spandex guy riding north on the "wrong side" sidewalk as I waited to cross Precinct Line. Not really worth observing.

However, the very best was yet to come. Almost home and, what do you know, but a big, mean looking dog decided he needed exercise. Having a recent ChipSeal Post in mind, I decided to step things up a notch, & then another notch. He did likewise. Turned out he was a spiritual cousin of Bud's. Priceless way to finish the day and I'll bet I made that dog's whole day...


Steve A said...

Memo to self - "Failsafe Left" must not be deferred for too long. It, and it's companion, the "Failsafe Right" is a handy, if obvious, principle for any long-distance cycle commute. I don't know why Forester didn't talk about it.

ChipSeal said...

Hah! I bet you did become that dog's highlight for the day! Just think, on a hot day like today, he probably spent the rest of the afternoon panting to cool down.

If the streets are engineered for traffic flow and through-put, it stands to reason that following vehicular rules will be the most efficient way to travel.

And really, what adult doesn't know the basic rules of operating in traffic?

I hope those guys noticed you and were jealous!


Rantwick said...

I had a similar experience yesterday with a sidewalk rider who appeared to be making better time than me for quite a while. As is almost always the case, the street won out in the end.

I'm not clueing in to what "failsafe" turn is... help?

Steve A said...

DEFINITION - "Failsafe Turn" - a post in the very near future. For those with an aerospace background, or a structural civil engineering background, failsafe is a recognized term. It's a factor that keeps commercial aircraft flying, even after massive damage to the airframe.

Doohickie said...

You're either an accomplished vehicular cyclist or a snob.

Maybe both.

Steve A said...

The first isn't a big accomplishment. Mostly, it's what you learn in driver's ed, adapted for low power output.

The second, I'd cop a plea to being a reverse snob. My usual commute uniform is a tank top and cargo shorts.


Despite Doohickie's healthy skepticism, I'd give long odds that most riders he encounters make him look like an extreme radical vehicular cyclist. They might even think him a snob if he were wearing spandex. It's even possible that his Schwinns are merely an effort to keep in touch with "the little people." ;-)

Seriously, ANYBODY who willingly rides his bike for transportation regularly, and who does things just a hair better each day, is further out on the ragged edge than almost all people riding nowadays.

Keep the cadence up...

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