Archive for May, 2011

Forester Vs. Clarke V

May 31, 2011

Forester Vs. Clark V

OK, to recap from last time:

“Clarke’s aim was to reduce motoring by taking advantage of the public belief that bikeways make cycling safe for those without traffic-cycling skills.”

Moving on:

“Clarke achieved a double object by persuading his contracting officer to substitute encouragement for safety as criteria in the first document.”

We covered this:

more cyclists == more safety (for both motorists and cyclists, actually)

On the other hand, long time readers know that I don’t really give two shits about safety. 🙂

“Clarke then established a system which largely ignored cyclists with traffic-cycling skills (Advanced Bicyclists) while establishing a ubiquitous bikeway plan for those without traffic-cycling skills, who needed to be encouraged (Basic Bicyclists and Child Bicyclists).”

I have no idea what this means, actually, but we’ll struggle together.

First of all, Forester creates this imaginary category of Advanced Bicyclists who are the sole keepers of traffic-cycling skills. I all ready covered how this is to push a product.

However, I’d like to further examine the whole notion of Advanced Bicyclists. I don’t believe that they exist because there is a continuum of cyclists with skills. We are all learning and trying to better ourselves. That is until we get too old to ride. When I get too old to ride, I’ll hang up my hat and stop writing about bicycling because there will be, no doubt, people who are younger than me who have mastered everything I know and move beyond it. Thus, I’ll just look like an old fool pontificating from my wheelchair. If I break this rule, people, shoot me. 🙂

Where do we draw the line on what is “Advanced” cyclist and Unadvanced cyclist?

Actually, I don’t see the point of doing this. In Copenhagen, everyone rode, and it was fine.

“Traffic Safety” skills took a minute or two instead of eight hours or whatever Mr. Forester’s class takes.

When I started riding in Copenhagen, I was a bit shaky and nervous which is good. My nervousness made me aware, and it kept me safe. In a few minutes, I felt way better and I was all ready out running the leader of the ride in a fun loving way. After the first ride, I had a good idea of how to ride around the city.

Thus, I’d welcome any system that “ignores” Advanced Cyclists.

However, I do question whether more infrastructure “ignores” anyone.

If I really did think of myself as an “Advanced Cyclists”–which I don’t because I don’t have the ego to–I’d be able to ride safely and comfortably anywhere.

Mr. Forester, however, needs special LACK of infrastructure to feel safe. That is, his class teaches us to be afraid of infrastructure.

I consider this to be very ominous indeed. Very bad.

To me, to be a good, safe, fun or whatever cyclist, one needs to be flexible.

Weather could be different. The road could get slippery. Drivers could fall asleep. Bike lanes end. Drivers pull out in front of us without looking.

What’s the key to being safe in all these circumstances?

It’s not training.

It’s actually easy. SLOW THE FUCK DOWN!

Seriously, if you want to feel safe, slow down. Nobody ever got killed getting into an accident at 8 miles an hour helmet or no.

In fact, I bet if you broke down the risk of death, the number one thing that killed someone was speed, the speed of the automobile or the speed of the cycle or the speed of both. In fact, I bet that helmet wouldn’t really be that important because nobody dies at a slow, slow speed.

OK, the last sentence was hyperbole. Because one never ought to say never. People moving at zero miles an hour fall over in the store and crack their heads on the floor and die. Nobody thinks that everyone should wear a helmet at all times not even the helmet industry. Think about it.

If you EVER see someone–even the CEO of the “walking helmet” club–wearing a helmet to a bar and on the street, you’d want to institutionalize him.

I never heard Forester address this point. That’s because he wanted (he doesn’t ride anymore) to ride as fast as possible and that’s what he’s pushing. Racing on the streets which requires no infrastructure and lots of helmets. I wish he’d take off his mask, and you’d see the real person. He’s pushing for something I was against in an earlier post: street racing. If we eliminated street races of bicycles–just like we have with cars–all this safety shit would be irrelevant just like it is where there’s decent infrastructure.

Besides a slow speed, the one other thing that helps in making cycling safer is experience.

Helmets pushing and fear mongering plus lack of infrastructure is denying millions of us the thrill and cost savings of riding our bicycles to work. It’s also denying us experience.

How many people have you heard that have said that they no longer bicycle because the last time they did they got into an accident? Many.

Why can’t they press on? They are very afraid because of all these safety gurus.

I had an accident. My princess had an accident. We all have accidents. The point is that we should make this OK to happen. We should be OK with these small scrapes. Slow speeds and lack of cars running us over makes it OK to fall from our bicycles.

We need to realize that this won’t happen over and over again. We’ll become better riders, and we’ll become “Advanced Cyclists”.

Just kidding.

We’ll just be a little further along on the experience continuum.

Sea Port Madness

May 30, 2011

Yesterday, enroute to a cycling based activity–are there any other? :)–I rode my bicycle through Sea Port Mall.

Actually, officially it’s a village, but it misses the two things that every actual village has: people and decent food.

Am I the only person who is totally pissed off and fed up with the misappropriation of English words and their use in completely wrong ways?

An example of how obnoxious this is, imagine me telling people I’m a doctor because I read a book on medicine and that I’m a billionaire because I have a bank account. Oh, and because I ride a bicycle, I’m a pilot. I pilot my bicycle. 🙂

Anyway, while riding in Sea Port Village, I found something that I San Diego said was impossible due to fire codes, traffic codes, building codes, crime safety issues, and general NIH mentality: a walkable community.

Here were people from all walks of life of all races and classes together in one place. Everyone was fairly happy.

Oh, there was also, something else which I had been told were impossible: dedicated walking and bicycle lanes. That’s right. On a pedestrian walk, there was striping for bicycles only which is great because pedestrians and bicycle traffic ought not to mix. They go at much different speeds, and often the cyclists are obnoxious riding too recklessly. (I don’t do these things).

Oh course, the bicycle lane was impossible to ride in for any length of time because there were pedestrians who walked there and would not budge even though they saw me.

I quietly went around them because I realized that they were just having a nice day with their families and they didn’t need to be bothered. Plus, it was nice to see some people who weren’t obsessive about the law. Finally, the whole thing was a break for me.

I could have taken the main road if I needed to speed. What I wanted was a relaxing day, too, so I walked my bike when things got too crowded.

Anyway, I had a wonderful ride at Sea Port Village yesterday. I always enjoy my time there. I don’t know why, but I love to be around a lot of people especially people I don’t know. I love to see families have happy days together.

If only they actually allowed people to live there making Sea Port Village not only a village, but San Diego’s most walkable community.

Learning Bike Repair 101

May 27, 2011

The other day when I did the excellent Bike The Blvd, I met a new friend who had a problem with his back wheel getting stuck over and over again.

I stopped a few times to help him fix it. It was obviously a bad skewer which wouldn’t ever seat properly again. I told him to gear way down before he peddling and to avoid using too much pressure. I also offered for him to come over to my house to borrow a skewer or bicycle.

He marveled at my bike fixing skills. The funny thing is that I consider myself terrible at it.

For one thing, unlike many people I know, I hate fixing things. I don’t see the fascination; I just want stuff to be fixed. I work way better with things you can’t see or touch like words or computer code. 🙂

Thus, I was happy to hear that somebody thought I was good at bike repair. I have been working on them for over a dozen years.

Each time I work on a bicycle, I get a little better.

The best lesson, however, I have learned was in watching not what people do when they fix a bicycle, but _how_ they approach it.

The best repair people actually enjoy the job. Thus, I try to enjoy myself, also. Second, they are extremely patient which is probably related to #1. If they enjoy themselves, it’s easier to stick with it rather than trying to rush through it. Third, they tend to really pay attention to the situation rather than rushing in and trying things. Fourth, they make small changes and see how that impacts the system.

I’d like to add something that I do which is to read up on the subject before I try _anything_. This is tough, but it’s well worth it. If you know _why_ you are doing things rather than just what to do, you can fix things much easier.

Over the years, I have grown a little more confident in fixing my bicycle, although I still appreciate it when my princess works on it. It’s funny, to me, how many dudes are floored that she fixes my bicycle as if having female anatomy made this impossible or something.

However, as a few of my earliest bicycle repair mentors were women. They were the first people to explain the thought behind the repairs to me, also many of them exhibited the type of patience necessary to become really good mechanics.

The point is that anyone can learn to repair their bicycle if they care to do so.

The Mechanical Guru

May 26, 2011

One of the most useful Buddhist teachings, I have read, is to treat your enemy as your guru.

This is really, really difficult because if you really take this seriously, you will have the utmost respect for this person.

Why would you want to do this?

The way I see it, just like the advice of Christ of “turning the other cheek”, I see this as a way of eliminating anger, and thus eliminating suffering in one’s own life.

Now, I don’t advocate being a push over, or letting anyone get away with something wrong. Quite the contrary.

I’m not shy to put myself first when necessary.

However, there’s something really magical about practicing compassion, and I think that all cyclists should show motorists some respect and even some love.

It’s a very adult thing to do to treat someone well who wishes to disrespect you; I think that is what makes the bigger person.

This is the toughest thing in the whole world to do.

However, today, I would like to thank the motorists who are easier to love, those I call “protectors”.

There’s a certain practice in the bicycling community that I have not seen elsewhere.

This has happened to me a few times that I was aware of, and probably more times than I know.

Basically, an automobile, driving behind me, will block the lane for me.

A friend of ours did this when my princess and I were transporting a solar oven up hill on University Avenue. They just took over the lane, in their car, and they stopped all traffic while we made it up the hill.

Another guy has a pickup truck, and he will similarly use it to cruise behind a cyclist who is in a tough place, effectively protecting them.

The other day while I rode down Florida Street into the canyon, a woman blocked the lane and rode half a city block behind me at a snail’s pace, all for my safety. I knew this was true because she stayed back there until it was safe to pass and only passed when I prompted her to do so.

So, basically, all around me are wonderful little angels protecting me, and my fellow cyclists. Also, there are tons and tons of “Road Guru’s” who are there to teach us forgiveness and patience.

Over and over again.

Kopenhavn XI: Tivoli

May 25, 2011

I’m getting sick of my shadowboxing, argument posts so I’ll post some more memories of my wonderful trip.

We were last seen on the fortified castle.

As I crossed the moat, I thought, “there really was a time when a small swimming pool was enough to deter the military. Wow!”

Once on the island, the whole “compound” was smaller than I thought. The castle was beautiful and amazing, but I also thought that if I felt like I needed this to protect me, I certainly would have realized that I made a wrong turn somewhere in my life. Yuck!

Cecilia negotiated with the people in order to get us in the castle, but it turned out to be far too many Kroners, and not enough fun to be worthwhile.

So we had to figure out what to do next.

Nobody really knew what they wanted to do.

I normally would have expressed my idea, but the NYC couple only had a single day left so I deferred to them.

We finally figured out what to do and once again broke off into two groups: the bicycle group (me here!) and the bus crew (everyone else).

We rode to Tivoli which is a really, really old theme park.

Underneath the gaudy exterior is a beautiful old style park. The decorations are standard for theme parks with things like giant eggs (it was soon Easter) and so on.

There were even jungle noises in the bathroom. Only later did we realize that the whooping when you make a big one is not pre-programmed. We knew this because through Cecilia, of course, we met the art designer of Tivoli. So overall, the decorations of Tivoli were awesome. 🙂

In Tivoli, we had a traditional theme park time where we walked as couples, awkwardly like on first dates or something.

I did manage to swing some coffee ice cream which was great.

Otherwise, my princess and I, as huge intellectuals, didn’t really feel the need to engage in much of the park. It was more like anthropology (the field not the store).

Until, of course, the swings.

The swing set is a large spire that can be seen from far away from Tivoli. It’s like the Space Needle of Seattle (which doesn’t actually shoot you into space or anything). 🙂

For a few kroners, they will strap you into a swing. Actually you strap yourself in. The wires which hold the whole thing up have links that look like reinforced paper clips. The bars are cheap aluminum tubes.

I’m guessing that the shoddy workmanship is deliberate to make a routine ride insanely scary. All I could think of as we were brought up over the city was the links breaking. Well, I guess it was time to die.

Then they spun us which shouldn’t have been surprising, but I wasn’t paying attention. I immediately grasped my glasses.

So there I was with a perfect 360 degree view of Kopenhavn, and all I could do is hold my glasses and pray for the stupid thing to get my down before the wires broke.

Of course, I survived as did NYC couple who got me into this whole mess.

The rest of the day was an exercise in gratitude for still being alive.

Helmet/Safety Litmus Test

May 24, 2011

If helmets are so useless why such a push to get cyclists to wear helmets?

I don’t really know their motivations.

It is true that mandatory helmet usage discourages cycling. This fact alone ought to have any serious advocate running and screaming away from mandatory helmets.

In fact, this is one of the main reasons why I eschew such gear, though there are many other reasons.

The big problem that I have with mandatory helmet laws is that they seem reasonable, but are actually inconsistant.

Here are some things I’d like to ask the pro-helmet law crowd:

1. If the vast majority of deaths by head injury (70%) are suffered by those sitting in an automobile, why are bicycles targeted when the minority of head injury death are cycling related. Oh, and half of serious brain injury is also suffered by motorists or their unlucky passengers.

When I suggest helmets to motorists they laugh. I have the exact same feeling when I am told to wear a helmet on my bicycle.

2. Additionally, there are more head injuries off a bicycle rather than on a bicycle. So statistically more non-cyclists (and cyclists who are not currently riding) suffer head injury. In that case, shouldn’t I put a helmet on after I get off my bicycle? If stats are to be believed, cycling is actually protective from head injury.

3. If cycling safety is really so important that we are going to spend millions of dollars on it, why not spend that money on the things that really hurt cyclists? The vast majority of bicycling deaths are due to collisions with automobiles. If we really cared, we’d do more to stop the motorists who are killing the cyclists.

Instead we give tickets to cyclists for their “protection”. This makes me angry because they are obviously lying about caring about our safety.

If I want to protect someone, I don’t take their money especially for doing something that, as I stated many times, is not even that dangerous to themselves or others.

4. This is to the racer crowd. In motoring, speed kills. I believe that the same is true for cycling. I feel much less safe when riding fast. I can’t see so well, and I am forced to ride further out into the lane to avoid doors and pedestrians, things I usually can handle with aplomb when riding at a slower pace.

In fact, I’d postulate that many cycling accidents could be prevented if the cyclist rode slower and didn’t use the streets as a race track. In fact, like motor racing, I think that racing gear and racing in general should be discouraged from the streets.

I am much in favor of racing in race tracks. But what message does it send to motorists to ban NASCAR races from our streets then conduct bicycle races there?

It’s unfair, and it fuels the anti-cycling attitudes more than any other mode of cycling.

Yet, the cycling community targets the homeless, who have no other way to get around, and older people who salmon out of misplaced “education” from the past that this is the proper way to ride.

So there you have it: four things that will reduce collisions and deaths in our roads much more than mandatory helmet usage.

This goes along with the cost benefit analysis of yesterday.

If you think about it, we are literally pouring good money down the drain in plastic sculptures of dubious value that make us all look like life-hating idiots instead of spending the money on things that will actually make us safe.

Now that this information is public, until these questions are asked and why such a waste is justified, I’ll assume that the reason that people advocate for helmets is that they actually don’t like cyclists.

In our current political climate, there’s no reason why mandatory helmet laws will benefit cyclists.

You Look Like a Dork in a Helmet

May 22, 2011

I have zero to offer on the helmet debate.

In fact, writing about it goes against the spirit of this blog because this is supposed to be about bliss and cycling, and not anger.

The helmet debate royally pisses me off.

You can’t have a rational debate when we don’t have any standards.

I think that a cost benefit analysis is a good start. Another standard would be to measure against all other aspects of our lives.

To be fair, I’ll post some.

What we need to know from this:

“Ninety-one percent of bicyclists killed in 2008 reportedly weren’t wearing helmets.”

So there you have it. Helmets save lives, right?

Not so fast. How many cyclists were wearing a helmet who did _not_ get hit?

Another way to look at it. Imagine a helmet offering zero protection. If this were so, and 91% of cyclists did not wear helmets then we could get the same stats from above.

However, I’ll say that I do think that helmets can protect a person in some cases. For example, if I fall in the shower, I’d rather be wearing a helmet. If I walk across a street and get hit by a car, I want a helmet on my head. Same thing for slipping on a wet floor at Dennies. Or if I get into another domestic dispute and my “princess” cracks me over the head with a wine bottle–damnit, you know it, I need a helmet.

That’s why when you see me at the bar tonight, I’ll most certainly be wearing a helmet. Not.

Unless it’s Halloween and I want a scary costume. 🙂

So just because something is safer doesn’t mean people do it.

But let’s just say that we accept the standard that if something is correlated then it makes it right.

This is really hard to explain so to do so, I’ll make up a stat so we can see thing clearer via search and replace:

“Twenty-six percent of bicyclists who lost hands in 2008 wore wrist guards.”

So we should wear wrist guards, too. Right?

Not so fast, I made up that last stat.

Below is the real one:

“Twenty-six percent of bicyclists killed in 2008 had blood alcohol concentrations (BACs) at or above 0.08 percent.”

Based on our above standard, this means that NOT drinking alcohol triples your chances of getting into an accident.

To rephrase: “Seventy-four percent of bicyclists killed in 2008 were not protected by drinking alcohol ahead of time.”

But that’s absurd. Because we all know that drinking makes you dangerous just as we “know” that wearing helmets makes you safe. Right?

Well, how do we know that if we just took a parallel set of stats and used it in one direction: helmets are safer, and another direction, alcohol makes you crash even though, you are more likely to crash if you don’t drink.

The reason is simple.

It’s called Common Sense.

Wrong.

It’s actually called Begging the Question

“Begging the question (or petitio principii, “assuming the initial point”) is a type of logical fallacy in which the proposition to be proven is assumed implicitly or explicitly in the premise”

That’s right. We _assumed_ that wearing a helmet makes you safer then we found some stats and hey, now it’s proved.

So basically, this stat says nothing, though I will sip a few beers before I ride my bicycle. _That_ stat I believe.

Here’s my favorite:

“More than 7 times as many bicyclist deaths in 2008 were males compared with females.”

Thus, the most dangerous thing you can take with you on your bicycle is your pen15.

So now we are getting to the nitty gritty. Overall, I think that statistics suck and ought not to be used when making a decision. Stats are always coupled with the nebulous and made up notion of “safety” which is a weak person’s way of taking away people’s fun. If you want to tell me not to do something; own your opinion and tell me you don’t like it, and that you somehow feel empowered to boss me around. Don’t manipulate me with fuzzy math.

Hey, I am a bit pissed here.

OK, how about cost benefit analysis?

One way to look at this is to ask how often are head injuries caused by cycling.

We’ll look at the Bicycle Research Foundation for answers.

“Cycling represents 7.1% of all head injuries.”

I’m not a stats expert, but to me 7% is almost none. To put it another way:

“93% of head injuries occur when someone is NOT on a bicycle.”

Seems like cycling is safer than not cycling.

What causes more head injuries than cycling?

Perhaps we should ask an expert physician?

“Automobile (motor vehicle) accidents results in over half of all head injury”

So we are spending all this money on bicycle helmets, mainly to appease skittish, non-cycling motorists, when it turns out that they are SEVEN times more likely to have a head injury than a cyclist. That is, for every major head injury a cyclist gets, seven motorists also get a head injury.

Why motorists not wearing helmet?

Because that would be crazy right? Because it would be unsporting?

I’d ask Dale Earnhardt Jr. first.

But cars protect us right? Therefore, when motorists get head injuries they are not as severe as cyclists who are “exposed”?

Wrong.

From the same article, 70% of fatal head injuries are for motorists.

For a motorists to whine about how cyclists bring headaches to themselves; it’s a bit silly when they have the greatest risk of a deadly head injury.

In fact, I’d postulate that if we want to maximize harm reduction, it’s insane to target those least likely to get head injuries.

Thus, from a cost benefit analysis, bicycle helmets shouldn’t be on the radar.

This leads credence to my belief that those who are most vigorous of their support for helmets just hate cycling and are afraid to speak their minds.

I know that this is getting long, but just to put things into perspective, what’s the leading cause of traumatic brain injury in the US?

If you have been following my point of view, you’d know one activity which is NOT number one.

The CDC thinks it’s falls which make up 35% of these terrible injuries.

Cyclists are not even on the list which means that they are buried inside some other stat.

But this raises the question, why, again, are people so gung ho about protecting cyclists against something that almost NEVER happens? That is, we almost never fall off our bicycles and hurt our heads.

So when I hear, “Why don’t you wear a helmet?” here’s what come to my mind.

“Why aren’t there mandatory laws for motorists to wear helmets when most of the deaths by head injury are in autos?”

“Why are helmets even on the radar when accidents never happen?”

“Are there cases where helmets actually put cyclists at risk?”

“If safety is so important, why are we not focusing on eliminating what kills us the most which is bad motorists?”

I’ll answer some of those questions as well as raise a whole bunch more in subsequent posts.

My Commute X: The Grand Finale and Big Reveal

May 20, 2011

So I ride about another quarter mile at which is an easy climb until I get to a stop light. Despite the fact that there’s almost no traffic on this road ever, there are three lanes: two driving, and a turning lane.

Compared with older European and East Coast cities, this is a marvel due to the huge difference in the road width. For example, “Broad Street”, a huge central street in Philly has only two lanes and there’s no dedicated green turning lanes at all because they don’t believe in them. You just turn right or left when you can.

Thus, I am shocked that the city which continually cries poor would waste so much money on an empty road when then smaller and more used roads look like the moon. Why not have a single lane road? This road is parallel to the expressway and only should be used for going to the housing project–I mean apartment community. 🙂

Despite the low traffic, though, there is this one notion that occurs which I call magic traffic. This means that when one rides on a road which is very quiet with low traffic, you nearly never get passed and never see a car…until one gets to an intersection. Then traffic appears out of no where. I have no idea why this happens, but it’s pretty consistent for me.

This is a little scary because like before, one gets a little complacent on a quiet road then out of nowhere there’s a car. So I make sure to look over my left shoulder before riding across two mammoth and empty lanes to get to the turning lane.

Though this light does change, it usually happens when there’s opposing traffic who are making rights on red. This is kind of dangerous. Meanwhile, when there’s nobody coming the light stays red.

So for safety sake, I actually just run it. Yes, I am admitting it here. The infrastructure leaves us completely out of the loop. Following the law can and will put you at risk at times. Plus it’s a hassle. Plus, who benefits from this mindless law following?

I know there’s the whole scofflaw cyclist thing, but I am just being a realist. We were given human minds which are capable of creativity and thought far beyond the norm. Doesn’t it make sense, that, while not hurting anyone else, we use our mind to make ourselves most at ease and safest within reason?

Thus, I run the light when there’s nobody around.

Things get better at this point. This is the most outrageous blog post yet. 🙂

When I make a left, I actually cruise up onto the sidewalk.

If someone’s coming, I dismount.

But nobody is coming because nobody walks around here.

I do pass a bus stop which at times forces me to dismount. Otherwise, I roll on the sidewalk, THE WRONG WAY for a whole block.

Then I dismount and hit the button.

I walk my bicycle across the street. This one is even more mammoth. It could make one feel small and insignificant.

But being the only one outside the car, the most visible, and very proud, when I walk across the crosswalk, I keep my shoulders high. I walk normally, I do not like to be rushed. I think of myself as an actor walking in front of the paparazzi.

Sometimes, I make eye contact with the motorists all stuck in their little glass bubbles and smile. Often people smile back.

Before I get to the end of the crosswalk, there’s usually high speed traffic trying to turn in front of me. I often step back and yield. Then I get onto the sidewalk again.

Then I ride up the hill, on the sidewalk, the wrong way until I get to my job.

Then I have to dart into 50 MPH traffic–this doesn’t bother me while I am doing it, but writing it makes me feel like the designers are heartless assholes.

May they be happy.

Then I wheel my bicycle around onto the turning lane. It’s hard to describe, but it makes sense to me.

I wait for the 50 MPH traffic to wizz by on both sides until I can finally make my turn.

Then I climb one more hill to work. By this time, I’m smiling, the weather is usually nice. I am early almost always. Thus, I take my time going up the hill.

From time to time someone from work looks down and sees me seeming to struggle, but I’m not because I got it; I’m warmed up and just enjoying a slow climb. My princess taught me the value of enjoying a slow hill climb.

Finally, I roll into work. Before going into the building, I do a little weave in the parking lot just to enjoy the bicycle one more time just like I saw in the movie Basquiat. Sometimes, I even roll around the parking lot some more because it’s so damned fun to ride, and I don’t want to stop.

fin

My Commute IX

May 19, 2011

After the cul-de-sac, I pass the only legitimate reason for a motorized vehicle to be on this road which is to go to the petrol storage facility.

I am careful here because there are often huge oil tankers exiting. Like I said before, they are usually great and kind drivers, but I prefer to yield to them right away because they are faster, and it’s the polite thing to do.

Now it’s a slight climb on a crumbly shoulder, but you can take more of the lane here because, like I said, it’s low traffic.

This road goes for a quarter mile or so until we get to a threeway stop. Here it’s a bit confusing.

There’s traffic that gets priority to go to the 15. Usually, there’s not too much, but I can imagine it being a long, long wait to go straight during rush hour because “Oncoming traffic does not stop.”

Except when it does which is slightly annoying, though people are trying to be nice, because it’s hard to be sure. Also, they are faster, and I’m polite, too.

So I try to pay attention to see if someone’s waiting for me.

Sometimes, I get impatient, and I do a bad thing which is to salmon in the bike lane on the opposite side. This is because nobody would make a turn to hook me.

Except when they do.

On the other side of the threeway, there’s a golf course and traffic for that “Does Not Stop” either. Usually, it’s easy to see the golfers because they are riding in the gutter because I guess a turn is that much faster, even in a single lane of traffic if you rub your tire against the curb. 🙂

Usually, it’s not too bad going up this street except when there’s a golfer leaving golf. For some reason they always surprise me. I try to keep aware of traffic behind me, but since the street is so little traveled in this direction, it feels almost pointless.

The other day, though, a car came out of nowhere.

The next turn is a light. It’s usually not too bad. The only thing is to gear down before the left because it’s a rough climb.

This area has a super neat lawn for the big box stores that I ride by both on the right: Walmart, Petsmart, Albertson’s and the left: Fry’s.

For some reason, the big box store traffic is well behaved on this street, and it has a shoulder.

At this point, I can really start to hear the soft rumble of the 15, and it’s relaxing. On a good day, I’ll let my mind rest of the sound.

Next I reach an area that is heaven by suburban standards, but to me is awful. It’s a semi-gated community with green, but it abuts the freeway. There are large sidewalks, but there’s little to do save for walk to the big box stores which sucks because there are no back ways. I really don’t want to be a whiner here, but I guess different people have differing preferences. I’m just shocked that people live here at all let alone pay the rents they must charge.

But they do have a nice park which I can do merengue in during lunch.

Dancing in the park anyone? 🙂

My Commute VIII

May 18, 2011

Today was a particularly wet morning, mainly because it had rained last night. One of the things I love about San Diego is that usually the heaviest rain is at night.

This morning, however, I had to pay for all this rain as it was so wet in the stadium parking lot. I rode far around the water, but it was still like riding in an inch of water i the worst places.

At this point, I had the dilemma of either going around the bike trail which probably had mud on it, but riding on a longer and steeper hill which had more traffic or toughing out the mud.

I chose to tough out the mud.

Aside from the thin sheet of water flowing across the bike path, there was little to no mud.

At this point, I go beneath a few overpasses on a narrow windy trail.

At the end of it, I wind up on the next stage of the path which transitions from black tar to sidewalk. The sidewalk is actually much wider than the tar path, but the cracks in between the pieces of sidewalk make my bike bounce up and down. Really strange setup.

The freeway is up above on right while on the left is an oil rig which I love because I love to see our actual, real infrastructure. I find it ironic that in my cycling days, I get much closer to the production, storage, and distribution of oil than I do when riding an auto. At any rate, this is a kind of tourism or desirable view for me to see the guys loading up oil from huge tanks into their tanker trucks.

These drivers are almost always really sweet giving me an entire lane (on a one lane each way road) when passing my bicycle.

The trail soon ends. I estimate the whole “Qualcomm Stadium Bicycle Path” is about a quarter mile, but it’s hard to say.

At the end of the trail is a cul-de-sac. By this, I mean it’s actually an rounded end of the road, a “sac” like in the French use of the term, and not just a dead end.

There’s usually some big item dumped here, sometimes in front of the trail entrance like a couch and other smaller things dumped. Also, there is at least one suspicious looking car. I wouldn’t be surprised if I find a dead body or two here one day. It’s basically a place for motorists to come and make out, do drugs, sleep or whatever else they do. Also, sshh, it’s free stadium parking if you don’t mind walking half a mile and of course getting here early as it fills up quite fast with cars illegally parallel parked along the road. I’m definitely NOT suggesting that anyone ban games because it attracts a bunch of scofflaws; I consider parking here to be a neat trick. However, the motorists, now pedestrians on the path are usually shocked and terrified to see a cyclist on the bicycle path. 🙂