Monday, September 13

Commuter Cheering Section

The Best Shot I've Gotten So Far of the "Bike Commuter Fan Club and Cheering Section"
This year, I’m making my morning commute about ten minutes earlier than a year ago. I find the earlier start gives me more pleasant traffic interactions and a bit of time to fully cool down before work starts. A side benefit to the earlier start is that I have acquired a cheering section of Keller ISD students to encourage me on my morning endeavors.

The cheering section was acquired entirely by accident, though it has now become a feature of the commute. Last year, I went through the area just east of Timber Creek High School about 5 minutes after the school bus went through. This year, I go through the same area about 5 minutes BEFORE the school bus arrives. This means that there is a large group of kids, and a few parents, waiting.

Well, this crowd waits at a corner where I make a right turn. As is my typical practice, I hang my right arm straight out in my right turn signal, and then make my right turn. I was somewhat surprised when I got a whole crowd of kids waving to me when I did this. It took a couple of days before I realized they did not recognize the right turn signal AS a turn signal, and they thought I was waving to them. The next day, I didn’t signal at all. After thinking about it, I decided not to be a grump and went back to signaling. What’s more, I stopped about a block short of the turn, turned on both my headlights and laid on a bit of extra speed for the crowd. I think they liked those touches, though the extra speed was a bit of a PIA as I completed my turn and immediately encountered oncoming traffic – both motorized and pedestrian.

Last week, I stepped things up a bit and decided to record this event for posterity. For my first attempt, I held the camera in my left hand and did my right turn signal. As you might imagine, bike handling was somewhat compromised, and the photos were quite a bit poorer than the one below. Hmm. Perhaps I really ought to look into some sort of camera mount.

Friday, I thought I might just hold the camera in my right hand, signaling with that hand. That sort of worked, but I am not as talented at such gyrations as, for example, Apertome or Doohickie. What’s more, my right arm sort of looked like an English automotive left turn signal rather than a proper one. While one photo showed my front tire at speed, the other (at the top of this post) captured the awaiting crowd, though before they began to wave.

I tried things again this morning, though I went through the corner about five minutes early today, so my cheering section consisted of one student, who still waved gamely. I got a little better shot, and managed to keep my right arm straighter, but the shot was even fuzzier than the one above. That flash really doesn't help much other than to let me know when the shutter has gone off.

Anyway, my revised, non-camera, right turn signal when a crowd of kids is watching, is to make a proper right turn signal, and then when they wave, I wave back with wrist action added to the basic turn signal. I really would prefer that our younger generation recognize a turn signal for what it is, and to be able to distinguish a turn signal from a wave. I’m not above combining a turn signal and a real wave.

It is AMAZING how easily some of us are amused…
Wonderful Photo of My Front Tire and Left Shifter


limom said...

That is so very cool!
Of course if it was me, I'd HAVE to wear a yellow jersey and throw water bottles!

Doohickie said...

I've picked up a bit of a cheering section since school started as well; I think they are middle schoolers in White Settlement ISD.

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