even steven

Two days ago, riding home from campus on College Ave., I almost got creamed, not once but twice … at the same intersection! Two vehicles, one heading north and the other heading south on Park Street, came to a stop at the stop sign. I was heading east with the right of way and no stop sign of my own. As I approached the intersection (with a good bit of speed, mind you), both drivers decided to cross. The guy heading north was driving a large truck with a long, heavy trailer in tow. I slowed quickly and yelled repeatedly at the top of my lungs. The elderly woman heading south didn’t even turn her head, let alone slow down. The other guy looked out his window after crossing the intersection, but by all appearances only to see whether there had been an accident.

Minutes later, I was heading north on M-52 when a bunch of young girls in a VW bug passed by yelling something stupid out the window. Do they really think you’re able to clearly hear and understand whatever it is they’re saying? I’m sure they just thought I was looking wicked hot on my bicycle and wanted my number, but I promised my wife that I wouldn’t use the bike to meet women, no matter how difficult it can be to hold them at bay.

OK, so that was a pretty crummy ride home (though, I’ve said it before and will say it again, any ride is a good ride, and my commute to and from campus on my bicycle is consistently the very best part of my day, no matter what). But the next morning, I passed a moving vehicle on my bicycle! Some guy was motoring south on M-52 in a tractor and I actually veered into the left lane and passed him, giving him a friendly smile and a giant grin as I did so. Then the thought occurred to me: why don’t we see or hear drivers yelling and cursing at farm equipment, for example, or at Amish folk in horse-drawn buggies when they’re taking their rightful place on the road but moving at a slower pace? What makes bikes and bicyclists in particular such objects of scorn? I just don’t get it.

Two bicycle-related workshops are coming up this month.  The first will be on Saturday, August 29th from 9:00 AM to noon in the parking lot of the Lenawee Christian Family Centre. The second will be on Sunday, August 30th from 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM at the Kiwanis Trail parking lot at the intersection of Bent Oak Hwy. and Riverside Drive in Adrian.  The topic will be bicycle “HABITS.” “HABITS” is an easy way to make sure your bicycle is set up for a comfortable and safe ride.  You can bring your bicycle if you would like to practice what you will learn at the workshop.  This is designed for anyone old enough to ride a bicycle.  If you are interested or know someone who would benefit from one or both of these events, contact Jim Manley by phone (517.499.0472) or email for additional information.

Attention all local bike commuters: Adrian Locksmith and Cyclery will soon be carrying Action Wipes. I promised Tim that I’d buy mine there and recommend to other commuters in the area to do likewise. I have read absolutely nothing but great things about these reusable, environmentally safe, over-sized, wet wipes.

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6 responses to “even steven

  1. I know that intersection well (our freind Moose lives near it). I believe one of the issues with that intersection is that it is one of the very few intersections in that part of town that is not a 4-way stop. Even when I drive down College I often stop at Park because my mind is conditioned that College Ave has 4-way stops at all the crossings. Discretion may be the better part of valor when cruising Park and College. Having said that, it does not exuse the fact that the motorists failed to yield the right-of way.

    • Wise words, John. And your comment raises an important point regarding vigilance. A road like Main Street/M-52 is full of obvious risks, so you tend to be on heightened alert, I think. It’s easy to be somewhat complacent or over-confident when you’re riding what appear to be quiet side streets.

  2. Sounds crappy, but I know what you mean about no ride being a bad ride. I’ve wondered myself about people’s patience for farm equipment or any sort of motorized transport, but goodness forbid a bike get in their way.

    • How nice to see you again in my neck of the cyber-woods, Dottie! I know it’s been a while since I last chimed in on “Let’s Go Ride a Bike,” but here’s a great big kudos to you and Trisha. Your blog has really taken off! It’s so cool to see all you have going on. Cheers!

  3. Actually, people (usually out-of-towners in a hurry, generally not the locals) do yell at farm equipment. ESPECIALLY if you’re rolling down a main road. And to compound it, often they don’t give us enough space, OR pass at dangerous spots in the road.

    *rolls eyes* People are dumb.

  4. I think the only reason they don’t yell at farm equipment is that in that confrontation most cars lose. If we weren’t all in such a big hurry none of this would be a problem.