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30 days of Biking--13 down, and some random thoughts - The Fucking Bluebird of Goddamn Happiness [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Zoethe

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30 days of Biking--13 down, and some random thoughts [Apr. 13th, 2012|10:27 pm]
Zoethe
I rode 27 miles today. That's the longest ride I've done in a long, long time. My knees have been bothering me a bit, so I stuck to the middle range of gears and focused on "soft" pedaling so that I didn't strain them. They were fine for the whole ride, though my hip joint started acting up a bit in the last couple miles. The worst was my derriere, which was not in the least bit happy with me for the last 10 miles. Altogether, I call it a good training run. Tomorrow will be a 1 mile day, though.

Random thoughts accumulated over the last few rides:

--If you're going to wear headphones with the music turned up so that you can't hear me yelling to you that I'm passing on the left, don't get all snarly with me when I startle you. You're the one who's not paying attention.

--People biking along and talking on their cellphones just kind of boggle me. I can hardly drink out of a water bottle while pedaling; talking on the phone would cause me to crash.

--Those extending leashes are one of the all-time worst inventions ever. I hit a dog once because it came charging out at me from the sidewalk while I was riding on the street. Today I had to come to a screeching halt when a person's dog crossed the road directly in front of me, otherwise I would have been "clotheslined" by the extended leash. I've seen near misses with dogs trying to chase cars. If your dog is 10 feet away from you, you only have the illusion of control.

--I ride in the street because it's the law, and for the most part I feel reasonably safe. But then I contemplate that it only takes one bozo texting while driving to drift over to the right and kill me. Then I don't feel nearly as safe.

--Drivers have forgotten what arm signals mean. I was crossing in front of a driver to get to the left-hand turn lane (the traffic was only moving a few miles an hour since we had been stopped at a light) and despite my clear signal, she tried to pass me instead of letting me get out of her way. She looked abashed and apologetic when we got untangled, but it was a little scary for a moment.

--The weirdest songs or phrases get stuck in my head while I'm riding. It's always something like The Song That Never Ends. I try to make it things that are good for a riding pace, but that doesn't always work. I have very little control over it.
LinkReply

Comments:
[User Picture]From: tormentedartist
2012-04-14 03:33 am (UTC)
I almost NEVER ride in the street unless I absolutely have too. I mean if I were to hit a pedestrian I'm a lot less likely to hurt them than if I were hit by a car...Where I live few people walk so I don't see a problem with riding on the sidewalk.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2012-04-14 05:49 pm (UTC)
See, I've had for more close calls with cars when I've been on the sidewalk: people turning in front of me without regard for my speed or even presence; cars backing out of driveways; cars pulling into the sidewalk to make a right without ever looking left. It's statistically safer to be on the street, particularly if you are biking at a good speed.

The one place I felt nervous yesterday was actually the one length of the ride where a sidewalk was not even an option. I try to ride at non-rush hour times, and stick to either neighborhood streets or four lanes where I can ride down the middle of the right lane, taking plenty of space and leaving the left lane for people to pass me. When traffic is light, it really doesn't cause them more delay than a parked car or a mail truck.

Except Saturdays. Saturday rides on the main road out here, I make on the sidewalk, because people driving around here on Saturday are CRAZY! Angry, crazy people.
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[User Picture]From: tormentedartist
2012-04-14 08:10 pm (UTC)
Hmm, you know if you were running for President people would accuse you of flip flopping : ) Honestly I've been pretty lucky on my bike so far and I have a mountain bike so I don't really have to ride around people at all. We have a nice cemetery nearby that is fun to ride around. BUt I'm glad that you ride at times the road isn't too busy.

Edited at 2012-04-14 08:10 pm (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2012-04-14 08:50 pm (UTC)
I freely admit to making exceptions! A cemetery would be a nice place to ride.
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[User Picture]From: ronin_kakuhito
2012-04-15 04:36 am (UTC)
The sidewalk is bot illegal in most places and less safe in most places. Cars are more likely to ignore you if you are on a sidewalk and tun you over at intersections. Also, roads tend to have fewer obsticles.
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[User Picture]From: mplsindygirl
2012-04-14 06:23 am (UTC)
You are awesome! I don't remember the last time I rode 27 miles in one day, especially not all in one ride. I usually ride on the street - on the side streets. There are a couple of busy streets I ride on to get to appointments, and I'm willing to break the law to avoid breaking myself in heavy traffic. That particular sidewalk is nearly always devoid of pedestrians, as people in the suburbs DO NOT WALK. I use my bike bell on a regular basis and it works better for me than shouting "passing on your left". I still startle some folks, due to headphones. Serves them right.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2012-04-14 05:52 pm (UTC)
I find bike bells much more startling to people, so have chosen not to use one.

I will get a mile in today, but it won't be a happy one!
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From: anonymousalex
2012-04-14 01:18 pm (UTC)
I'm so happy for you that you're doing so well on your biking project. Keep up the good work.

And while I'm not a big fan of the extendy leash, they do have locking features. If the dog can bolt out or clothesline somone, the owner isn't using it right.

-Alex
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2012-04-14 05:53 pm (UTC)
Yes, but if your dog is out the length of the leash when I come along, you don't have the time and space to reel him back in. I dislike them.

And thanks!
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From: anonymousalex
2012-04-14 11:53 pm (UTC)
I'm gonna stick with "owner isn't using it right." Which is one of the problems of the extendy leash: it tends to encourage poor usage. Another is, why does your dog need to be that far away in the first place?

Before I start enumerating the whole list, let's just stipulate that "not a big fan of" was meant as a hyperbolic understatement.

-Alex
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2012-04-15 12:06 am (UTC)
Got it. And the "why does your dog need to be so far away" is the basis for my dislike. They are teh dumb.
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[User Picture]From: samcallahan
2012-04-15 07:14 pm (UTC)
The last time I ever used one was shortly after we got our current dog. He started bolting at something, I hit the locking device, and my thirty pound dog snapped the line in two, and proceeded to head towards a busy street. Luckily, he could handle an actual emergency recall. I've never walked him on anything but an eight foot leather leash since then.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2012-04-15 10:02 pm (UTC)
That's exactly what I expect to happen when I see dogs run out on those leashes.
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[User Picture]From: fallconsmate
2012-04-14 03:30 pm (UTC)
i cant even imagine letting the wee beastie run out like that!! of course i live in a neighborhood where mr Yo Quiero Taco Bell is always cruising the street and looking for interesting things, too. (cute sturdy little boy chihuahua. not agressive at all, just checking out whats going on around here)

yay for you on biking! and depending on your bike type, you *can* get a seat that's more conducive to the shape of a woman's pelvis, and the way the pelvic bones are aligned. most bikes with shifting levers come with a seat that's built for *male* rear ends, with the bottom parts of the pelvis that are more close together...women are structurally different and having kiddos makes the bones move a bit *more*. your seat may be *just* enough too narrow to make it a literal pain in the rear. :)
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2012-04-14 05:54 pm (UTC)
I have a wider seat that I bought, I've just been too lazy to put in onto the bike. My bad.
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[User Picture]From: merle_
2012-04-14 03:59 pm (UTC)
People biking along and talking on their cellphones just kind of boggle me.

I have seen a person not only talking on his mobile but smoking while biking. In a downtown area. No hands free for the handlebars at times. I was so tempted to jog along the sidewalk after him to witness the final Darwinian moment.

I ride in the street because it's the law, and for the most part I feel reasonably safe. But then I contemplate that it only takes one bozo texting while driving to drift over to the right and kill me.

Yeah. Been there, happily lived through it. Technically a bike is a vehicle so you can ride in the middle of the lane. That said you'll piss a lot of people off if you do so, so it is more of a statement and possibly even less safe.

The weirdest songs or phrases get stuck in my head while I'm riding.

It's all about tempo for me. Whatever matches, even if it is a nonsense non-song. Conversely, if you are actively listening to music, it can alter your speed. I did some experiments while walking to work one year and found that my 30min walk could be 40min if I listened to soothing music, while speed death metal would get me there in 25min. It was quite astonishing how easy it was to program myself.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2012-04-14 05:56 pm (UTC)
I do take the middle of the lane when it's 4 lanes and not rush hour. People may get irked, but I don't care.

I don't listen to music when riding because I don't want to zone out to it, or to use earphones and not be aware of my environment. But yes, I imagine that the pace of the music could influence speed!
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[User Picture]From: merle_
2012-04-14 06:24 pm (UTC)
When walking in a controlled and known area I did not mind earbuds. Once I started working in downtown SF where red lights are just another hue of green.. let's just say I did not even think about biking that area and needed all the audio feedback I could get. After that I developed a sort of Zen mode where my internal jukebox can rule, or I can enjoy simple environmental noise.

I did not comment on extended leashes in case my inner self resorted to strong language.
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[User Picture]From: ronin_kakuhito
2012-04-15 04:41 am (UTC)
I've noticed that if I ride in the middle of the lane, cars tend to give me a lot more clearance. If I ride in the right third of the lane they tend to try to run me off the road. I have been taking longer trips recently and learned that I've become not aggressive enough to safely ride our busier streets.
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[User Picture]From: merle_
2012-04-15 10:25 pm (UTC)
In the middle of a lane drivers are forced to recognize you as a vehicle. It does get you honked at quite frequently (at least where I live) but is safer than riding in the "is that car door about to open?" zone.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2012-04-16 01:32 am (UTC)
I have noticed this, too. So I take the lane. I figure I'm moving at about the pace of a buggy, so they can just put up with me.
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[User Picture]From: mariadkins
2012-04-14 04:43 pm (UTC)
when i do take my bike out on the street, which is rare because we don't have bike lanes, and the lanes we do have, drivers don't respect, i ride on the sidewalk. because i'm terrified of drivers. i've seen and heard of far, far too many drivers run over bicyclists, motorcyclists, walkers, runners, etc, etc. saying lexington's streets aren't safe is a joke.

i know our generation was taught the hand signals for riding / driving, but are they still being taught? (just curious)

also, i saw someone on a bicycle talking on a cell phone not long ago. blew my mind. how the hell? really!
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[User Picture]From: reynai
2012-04-14 04:58 pm (UTC)
I know I was taught them in Driver's Ed (10 years ago) as a fusion bikers/if your signals go out type thing. I have no idea about today, or if anyone remembers, for that matter.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2012-04-14 06:04 pm (UTC)
As I said elsewhere, I find sidewalks very dangerous from drivers turning and not paying attention. But I'm riding around 15 mph, so it's more dangerous than a slower pace.

hand signals are still taught, but not seen much, so people forget.
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[User Picture]From: mariadkins
2012-04-14 11:11 pm (UTC)
for as much as i bitch about lexington not having sidewalks where people actually want and need them, the ones we do have, especially out here, nobody ever uses them, and they have nice rubberized bumpouts. the street i do bike on, especially when the local schools are out, has little to no traffic through the day. it's a peaceful place to bike and to walk - and flat until you reach the one mile mark.
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[User Picture]From: naath
2012-04-16 11:47 am (UTC)
Talking on the phone on a bike is really not that hard, physically speaking, provided one has good balance. Cyclists in general need to be able to ride one-handed in order to signal when turning, so "riding one handed" is a skill that cyclists generally develop even if they don't start out with it.

It's not a good idea though, your conversation is distracting you from observing the road conditions and that distraction could be fatal. So I don't actually do it.
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[User Picture]From: jume
2012-04-17 04:37 am (UTC)
I didn't even know that there were arm signals until I got to college
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2012-04-17 07:50 am (UTC)
See, that should never happen. It's irritating and dangerous that it does. Not blaming you, of course.
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