Jason’s Ranting & Raving

Those who don’t read have no advantage over those who can’t.

Rough Bicycle Commute Today

Posted by jaystile on June 25, 2009

Today has started off just peachy. The dog got up a half hour before I wanted to get up after I had stayed up late playing poker the night before. I had all my saddle bags packed before I went to bed, so I put on my clothes, kissed the wife & kids, and hopped on the bike to ride to work! I manged to catch every single red light. The area I live has plenty of sidewalks and no bike lanes. To try and ward off the aggressive drivers (who try and teach you a lesson for riding your bike on the road) that swerve too close or honk, I hop on the sidewalk. This however gets you out of the flow of traffic and at every intersection someone is trying to turn in front of you. But they are looking for cars, not bikes. They are looking at the road, not the sidewalk. Probably about 6 times, there was someone waiting to turn with their car parked WAY over the cross walk. Of course, they don’t see me because they aren’t looking, or they are playing with their radio, or they are talking on the phone. I have to come to almost a complete stop a few feet from them before they make their OH I DIDN’T SEE YOU face. Of course, you didn’t see me. You weren’t looking.

Now, here is the major bad thing that happened and it was totally my fault. I’m on the sidewalk (because there are no bike lanes) and a bus stops ahead of me. Two people get onto the bus. I think the bus is about to close it’s doors and leave because after riding the bus for 3 years in Chicago I know about how long it takes to load/unload a bus. NOPE! A large man steps out of the rear door with the confidence of someone who is going to have a great day! WRONG AGAIN! I slammed on my disc breaks skid about 4 feet and hit the guy with my left shoulder, which caroms me off to the right toward a newspaper stand. I stick out my right hand and catch myself with a large thud and the newspaper stand tips over. OUCH! My right hand hurts now. I have a big bruise on my palm by my thumb and a scrape on my wrist. The guy was very apologetic. Even though it was totally my fault. He said he had seen me riding and can’t believe he didn’t look when he stepped out. Now, I’m a jackass because I was mad. I didn’t say anything mean, but I didn’t ask if he was OK. It could have just been the comparison with hitting a newspaper box, but it felt more like I bumped him than hit him. “Hey, Dude with the yellow Angelia Jolie style sunglasses, hairy shoulders, white tank top, and lisp! I’m sorry! Are you OK?” Seriously, I feel like a major d-bag.

The ride wasn’t over yet. Besides the cars crossing my path and red lights and minor injury, I got passed by a dump truck. For .25 miles (.40km for my non U.S. friends) it stunk so bad that I felt like I had to vomit. Then as I am almost to work I pass one of those industrial strength lawn mowers that showers my legs with hard little pieces of grass, sand, and stone. Finally, I made it to work and take a shower. I have grease on me. I couldn’t seem to get the grease off my elbow, fingers, and neck (off course I had to scratch my neck with greasy hands!). So now I’m work with a healthy bit of grease on me relating my story.

Surprisingly, I’m not in a bad mood. It’s actually kind of funny to me. I know it could be worse, did I tell you about the time I failed to climb a 2 inch ( 5.1 cm) curb? My front shock compressed and my tire snapped to the side and threw me over the handle bars where I broke the fall with my face and shoulder. That little trip kept my from cycling for 3 months.

Life is short, so have a good day, I know I will!

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2 Responses to “Rough Bicycle Commute Today”

  1. Travis the Mighty said

    Did you really tip over a news paper stand? Sorry for your misfortune but that’s pretty funny.

  2. Kate said

    But, seriously, aren’t you taking it out on the pedestrian? ““Hey, Dude with the yellow Angelia Jolie style sunglasses, hairy shoulders, white tank top, and lisp!…” He’s so nice, trying to take the blame – as if he had much choice, the way bus doors work and due to the fact that the bus driver is waiting to take off.

    I’ve been knocked down or nearly knocked down too many times by bicyclists on sidewalks, running red lights, and ignoring pedestrians in crosswalks. Recovering from surgery, I find cyclists whizzing by me with cm to spare really disturbing because if you surprise me, startle me, I’m liable to fall over. I’m a former cyclist, I’ve cycled all over the world. And cyclists need to own up to the fact that they are on METAL, riding FAST, and can do injury to people.

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