Thursday, November 5

Bad Pavement Makes Serendipity

This afternoon promised to be somewhat of a non event. It's been nice this week, unlike the entire month of October. Not quite chilly mornings and temperate afternoons. I know Rantwick claims life is enhanced by smooth pavement, but rough stuff like that shown in the photo also can make things a little brighter. It gets us all to slow down a little and interact with the neighborhood.

Coming home, I'd made the turn from FM 1709 (also known as Keller Parkway International Raceway) onto Anita, headed south, prior to turning onto E Hill Street. The photo was shot from Hill Street, looking West. You can see where I started my turn, at "1."

This used to be a nice, fast left turn, prior to a similarly fast right turn on to Gloria. Southbound, all the stop signs are in your favor. Nowadays, it's a little trickier. Now, I wait for any oncoming, northbound traffic to clear the gravel moat so I can sneak down the gutter pan onto Hill Street (carefully following the line of arrows) without having to do a cyclocross shoulder carry or risk bending a wheel. Commuting is NOT a cyclocross race, though I am occasionally tempted. As a wrong-way gutter bunny, debris in the gutter pan bothers me not at all. I just make sure I go slow until I reach the SMOOTH pavement beyond.

Today, by chance, towards me came a lady in a new VW Beetle going northbound . She was clearly intimidated by the gravel moat, creeping forward across the construction so as to not damage the paintwork or suspension of her very nice car. All this while, I was waiting at "1," with one of my weird left turn arm signals. As she pulled up alongside, she smiled and said out her open window "you'll pop a tire if you go through this!" I replied, "I'll be careful." I thought about elaborating, but I'd been waiting for a while and didn't want to unclip from the pedals for a long chat. Little did she know that I was about to make ChipSeal tempted to make a special post about salmon masquerading as cyclists, and sneak on to Hill Street without a care in the world just the moment she proceeded past me. Apparently, it didn't occur to her that my left arm, weirdly hung out, was signaling an intention to turn left rather than cross the moat. A block later, I decided to return for a shot of the scene of the crime. I'd missed the opportunity to capture the scene with the Beetle and its nice driver present. Smooth pavement doesn't prompt friendly motorists to warn cyclists about popping tires. Instead, they just want to zoom by them.

This delay due to rough pavement was serendipitous a second time. When I turned on to Gloria, what did I see, off on the sidewalk to my left, but what was either a middle schooler or a racing dwarf on a bmx bike, riding down the sidewalk. We waved and then I asked "you ready to race?" He smiled and laid the hammer on. Yup, whooped by a middle schooler, but I'll bet he was nearly as pleased as the occasional dog that gets to chase me as far as the corner of its fenced yard. He certainly stopped with a flourish when he got to his crowd of admiring fans. Another pleasant interaction on a pleasant day - due to rough pavement. Actually, due to no pavement at all.

Bikes really ARE different...


Rantwick said...

OK, OK, I will concede that bigger lack of pavement and construction that slows us all down enough to actually speak to each other do have benefits.

You will never get me to like potholes. Ever. Good luck and have fun in the big race. I'm jealous enough to start thinking about it for myself now...

Steve A said...

Rantwick might ask why, if Steve loves potholes so much, why doesn't he aim at them instead of going around them? Steve, in return, would answer that there is a positive side to all things. Flat tires, for example, taught me how to use that CO2 pump properly.

As for the race, contain your enthusiasm until you get a postmortem here and on BikeSkirt. If we both puke, you can take it as a warning!

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