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Wheels spinnin' round and round - The Fucking Bluebird of Goddamn Happiness [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]

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Wheels spinnin' round and round [Jun. 4th, 2005|09:13 pm]
[Current Mood |recumbentcosmic]

I have just returned from what I think is the best bike ride I've ever had in my entire life. I spun out 17 miles in an hour and 15 minutes, and never felt like I was working all that hard. I don't know if I was in "the zone" or what, but I felt like I was flying, and I didn't want it to end. Just an amazing, calm feeling. I'm just sitting here thinking, wow. I wish I could find coherent words to describe the feeling.

And I almost didn't go.

We made our Costco run and then stopped for dinner, and by the time we got back here it was after 7. I'd already decided that I wanted to ride a little further south before dropping down into the park and had mapped a route, but I hesitated - darkness might overtake me. I decided that if it was getting too late I could always bail out of the park at an earlier point, and it was a lovely evening. So I saddled up.

I am riding strictly on the roads these days. It takes a little practice to get used to it, but once you do you wonder why you ever put up with the hazards of sidewalk riding. I obey the traffice lights, and at light-governed intersections often position myself in the middle of the lane, slightly ahead of line designating where cars should stop. This accomplishes two things: it gets me out of the way of cars that would like to turn right, and it keeps me clear of the path of any car that might turn right into me as I was crossing. As soon as the light changes I move across and out of the way of the traffic behind me.

And so, as I crossed Lorain, a woman in a car that was waiting to turn left called huffily to me out her open window, "You know, there are sidewalks."

I wish I had the time to stop and educate her.

First of all, when I am riding at speed, I am going 14-17 miles per hour. This is not "sidewalk speed." Do you really want me bearing down on your kids or your grandma at that speed?

Secondly, sidewalks are dangerous for bikers. Drivers don't see them and tend to cream them in driveways or crossing side streets.

Third, in many cities it is actually illegal to bike on the sidewalk, though ticket issuance is rare. Bicycles are classified as vehicles and share the same rights and responsibilities as cars. So back off.

And finally, what the hell are you getting huffy for? If I'd been in the crosswalk you would still have had to wait for me before you could have turned left.

There wasn't time, however, and I went on. I rode up a street that I'd never ridden so far south on before, and was amazed to watch it change into a kind of country living enclave, with barns and horses, only a few miles from our very suburban house. Then I dropped into the park on a wooded road that was beautiful but a little scary - no shoulders and curving. The only safe way to ride is kind of to the middle of the street because you want drivers to see you and NOT to try squeaking by you. Bikers are rarely killed by drivers approaching them from behind. It's the guy next to you or crossing you have to watch out for. (Or the assholes like the guy who almost got me on Friday because he had to race past me and then abruptly turn into the McDonald's right in front of me.)

Anyway, got on the bike path and sailed through the woods. The further south you get, the more primitive the park becomes. I just rode and rode.

And right as I was getting out of the park, three kids on bikes were coming toward me. They had to move to their own side of the path and one of them yelled, "Geez, if you're gonna ride fast use the road!"

I can't win.

[User Picture]From: lea724
2005-06-05 01:51 am (UTC)
That sounds absolutely wonderful. Some of my family and I went on a biking trip last summer in Vermont and the first day we got there, we did a quick bike warmup around the deserted roads. It was nearing dusk and beautiful and quiet and absolutely euphoric. That's the feeling I "pictured" when you were describing your bike ride.

I am riding strictly on the roads these days.

I don't bike ride (now that I'm back home) all that often, but when I do, I prefer the roads. It sort of gives a bigger rush, imo, with the traffic *right there* and the whole experience.

As for being yelled at, I was once biking down a cobblestone street and had an old lady yell at me, "Wear a helmet!" Which I guess was considerate of her...
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2005-06-05 02:19 am (UTC)
I'd yell at you, too. [g] I literally won't ride around the block without a helmet. Too easy to screw up the brain, too simple a solution to omit.

But yeah, it was probably like your Vermont ride.
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[User Picture]From: kathrynrose
2005-06-05 01:58 am (UTC)
Hey, is that a new biking icon? I love it. :)
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2005-06-05 02:20 am (UTC)
Yes, someone made it for me - I can't remember who! Eep!
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2005-06-05 02:26 am (UTC)
Yes, I did, and thank you!
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[User Picture]From: lacey
2005-06-05 03:12 am (UTC)
I have often found that the times I had the most fun were the times I almost didn't go to.

As far as biking, people are always gonna' find a reason to yell at you. Just keep in mind when you're riding that you're doing something to help yourself... something most ppl won't do.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2005-06-05 01:23 pm (UTC)
Yeah, when I road home from work on Friday I ended up taking the more direct but less pleasant route, straight up Detroit Road, because the wind was blowing really hard in my face. A couple times carloads of teenage boys yelled something insulting out their windows. I find them quite ignorable, but it amuses me - why do they find me threatening in some way that they must denigrate?
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[User Picture]From: lysana
2005-06-05 03:32 am (UTC)
I would like to thank you for using the roads. I *hate* it when bicyclists think they're pedestrians.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2005-06-05 01:24 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I really want to educate and encourage people, becuase the more cyclists do it right, the more people will get used to it.
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[User Picture]From: finding_helena
2005-06-05 04:14 am (UTC)
Around here, I won't ride on the main drag. People go at least 30-40 and it's very busy and they really are not on the lookout for cyclists. I'd rather look dumb riding on the sidewalk than get myself killed. And I hate the feeling of a line of cars breathing down my neck.

I lived for a couple months in bike-friendly Davis, California. That is the best place to be. Anywhere else... well, people may want to save the environment, but cyclists don't get much respect. There is one main drag around here that has bike lanes, which really surprised me. Too bad it's not the one near my house.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2005-06-05 01:07 pm (UTC)
I had to search out an alternate route to avoid the busiest roads, so I do understand. And even then it was a little scary at first. But the local biking club is working hard to increase bike awareness.
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[User Picture]From: his_angel
2005-06-05 06:26 am (UTC)
I luv Costco. We went a coupla days ago and loaded up on some stuffs. After trying their steak I won't buy steaks anywhere else from now on. They were tender enough to cut with my fork!! We have wine at our local Costco now too which is great! Even got some hard to find items this last visit.

We almost didn't go out on the Harley's today. Don't know what changed His mind but we had a wonderful time!!

His ~angel~
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2005-06-05 01:08 pm (UTC)
I haven't tried their steaks here because the ones in Alaska weren't very good, but it is probably a different source for meat. Thanks; I'll have to remember to give them a try.
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[User Picture]From: susitna
2005-06-05 09:23 am (UTC)
Awesome! You're getting out of biking what I get out of snowboarding, ie, it's so wonderful you can't describe it.

BRING MS WORD WHEN YOU COME! I don't have it here and it's a big part of the reason I haven't been updating.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2005-06-05 01:02 pm (UTC)
Sweetheart, I sent it to you a LONG time ago, like right at the beginning of the school year, because your dad told me you needed it there. Do not frickin' tell me that you lost it.

Also, don't update in Word. Update in Notepad, which doesn't put any weird unicode symbols into your document.
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[User Picture]From: elfwench
2005-06-05 01:21 pm (UTC)
I wish I could find a form of exercise that turns me on the way you have. Frankly, I don't like getting sweaty. I don't like hurting, and I don't like my bike (which is now rusted from disuse and being stored outside)... I had one bike I liked and I payed a small fortune for it... It's not easy to find an adult bike to fit a 4'11.5" person without going to a Japanese (read: expensive) brand... but that one is long gone.

Actually, I used to love horseback riding (I used to ride English in high school). But that's expensive and I haven't done it in years.

I have a pair of used cheapy roller blades I need to test out. I might try that and see if that trips my trigger.

But first, I need to find my keys... I haven't seen them since we were Christmas/Yule shopping in December.

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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2005-06-05 01:26 pm (UTC)
Finding something that really appeals is essential because otherwise it's just miserable work. I have such a fear of falling that rollerblading doesn't appeal to me at all. I hope it works out for you!
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[User Picture]From: wundergeek
2005-06-05 02:45 pm (UTC)
I envy you for being able to ride on the road, I really do. In the city where I live, riding on the road is nothing short of taking your life in your hands - the drivers here are *insane*. I've been hit four times in the four years I've lived here with a car. Add in the fact that they don't repair the roads. Ever. (4 foot wide potholes every winter! Whee!) ...and bike-riding is just not an option here. *sigh*

I never even bothered to move my bike up here, it's still sitting in my parents' basement. So, you're lucky.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2005-06-05 03:00 pm (UTC)
Wow, that sucks. You have my deepest sympathies.
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[User Picture]From: sarahdelynn
2005-06-05 06:33 pm (UTC)
Sounds great! I used to go on super long bike trips with my dad out in the country where I grew up. I really miss that.

Speaking of my dad, he still rides quite a bit in the Marysville area in Ohio. Recently, though, he got into a very serious bike accident (helicopter ride to the trauma center, ongoing facial reconstruction surgery etc). He was apparently riding very fast and a dog started chasing him; he overcorrected or something and wound up sailing headfirst over the handlebars. Basically he lost the tip of his nose.

He said he was extremely lucky he had decided to get the more expensive, highly rated helmet, and also that what had done all the facial damage was mostly his sunglasses! They basically came down and sheared across his face as he skid on the pavement. I know, "ouch" and ew." The doctors said they see this every now and then, and the best prevention is to wear those dorky goggles if you need sun protection.

Just a word to the wise. You can't be too safe when you're riding :) Keep on truckin!
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2005-06-06 01:34 am (UTC)
I actually wear safety goggle-style sunglasses because I have such severe allergy problems that I need to protect myself against anything that would fly into my eyes.

I hate reading about injuries like this. I hope he's okay.
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[User Picture]From: kmg_365
2005-06-06 12:26 pm (UTC)
Where I went to college, the local police (who quite literally had nothing else to do) would ticket you if you rode your bike on the sidewalk. And I also learned that you could get points on your driver's license if you rode your bike drunk ;)

That said, the only thing that annoys me is when a person rides their bike in the middle of the road where the speed limit is 45 and there is a bike lane on the right side of the road.

If we were to ever dust off our bikes (or roller blades, or my skateboard...), there is an insanely long bike trail that runs right behind our house. When we did ride our bikes, we road on that - much safe.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2005-06-06 12:36 pm (UTC)
I try to be very polite and only take the lane if I'm doing a maneuver like getting to the left to make a turn. Otherwise I try to keep over and make room to share.

The bike path through the Rocky River Valley is 13.2 miles. I'm hoping that the weekend after the coming one (we're out of town this weekend) I can find time to ride up the entire length of it. I prefer a loop trail, which is why I ride south on the roads and drop into the valley, but I would like to at least once go its entire length roundtrip.
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[User Picture]From: channelpenguin
2005-06-07 08:33 am (UTC)
It's illegal to ride your bicycle on the pavement in the UK, full stop. Except for kiddies on kiddie-bikes with only one brake (or something like that). People do it a bit, though, to get round traffic, usually.

There are more cycle lanes now, but cars drive in them (or park in them!) quite a lot. Holland and Denmark, now they have it sorted when it comes to cycle lanes!

The worst local habit in my area is riding at night without lights. Usually on the pavement. Double stupidity/illegality.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2005-06-07 09:32 am (UTC)
I lack bike lights, but I also lack any desire to be out on a bike after dark, so it works out.
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