An admitted shoe geek waxes philosophical about running, triathlon, and life in general.
Comments welcome!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

What price, the life of a cyclist?

Just two days ago, I posted about that really cool looking elevated traffic circle in The Netherlands, built specifically for cyclists and pedestrians. One could only dream that the American infrastructure would include, if not such extensive structures, at least the thought behind it -- safety of the cyclist is more important than the money.

An article posted on the Bicycling blog yesterday illustrates the basic differences in the considerations of cyclists and motorists between our fair country and that little Dutch land over the pond. I urge you to read it. It's sad, really.

On a thread on Velocipede Salon, examining the same elevated traffic circle, one poster cited some perfect examples of intersections in New York (surrounding Central Park) for the application of this concept. Sadly, in the same post, he said that, " Those intersections kill people every year. Elevate pedestrians and cyclists up out of traffic and carry them over to their destination. Unfortunately, we just can't afford stuff like this in the US any longer."

Ah, yes, it's too expensive. So expensive that a number of people have to pay the ultimate price annually. But obviously that ultimate price isn't enough to pay for change.

The life of a cyclist in this country is easily dismissed to a motorist's convenience, the responsibility of the driver easily absolved with the flippant "I didn't see them." It's all a tragic accident (which I don't disagree with), and so no one is responsible (which I vehemently DO disagree with).

Driving a car, and a BIG one at that, is considered a right, dammit, in the U. S. of A., and no one is going to get in the way of that right. Hmm... I wonder where along the line in the last 80 years, from when cars were owned by less than 10% of the population ANYwhere, that roadways became owned by the motorists themselves.  Where did the privilege of owning a vehicle and the convenience of travel on government-funded roadways become a right of the population, along side Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness?

Isn't the more sensible approach that which is taken in The Netherlands? The responsibility belongs on the person operating the more dangerous vehicle. Their licensing education system is geared that way. And *SHOCKING!* it produces overall safer drivers.

Where does it start? Obviously these things (education and infrastructure changes) aren't free. When motorists view the infrastructure of this country as the means to move everyone to their destination safely, and not just themselves, we're one step closer.

Monday, October 28, 2013

This is SO COOL!

I saw this posted on BikeRumor today, and just wanted to share. Could the American infrastructure ever support such a structure? Likely not, but one could dream...

Monday, October 21, 2013

It was a sudden gust of gravity!

Gravity is one of those constants, you say. Physics uses something called "the gravitational constant" to describe the action of two bodies relative to each other.

I say no. It's a sentient being with a devious and evil intellect. It waits, biding its time, patiently watching for that perfect moment to suddenly reach up, increasing its pull exponentially, and take you down.

 It's been a long time. Probably more than 15 years. And I could have gone a lot longer.

On Saturday, I crashed. Did a ground check. Had an unscheduled get-off. Kissed pavement.

It was kind of embarrassing, as I was leading the shop group ride at the time. Hit a wet paint strip mid-corner and the bike slid out from under me. Fortunately it wasn't all that bad, so I was able to get back up, straighten out the handlebars, get the chain back on, do a quick physical inventory, and get going again.

So here's the set-up -- it was a foggy morning, as most have been lately, so there was some patchy water sheen on the roads. The particular corner is off-camber coming from a slight downhill, and the county, in its infinite wisdom, had recently put in a traffic light at this intersection. Meaning lots of new paint stripes for crosswalks and stop lines. There's actually no way to take this corner and NOT go over paint stripes.

I'd slowed way down, or at least I thought I did. I kept the bike fairly upright and turned it rather than leaning it heavily, still with the weight on the outside pedal. But in spite of my efforts, the bike slipped on the wet paint stripe, and down it went. I hit mostly on the hip, my feet came unclipped immediately, and the bike went sliding across the road in front of another car (that was fortunately stopped for the red light). The look on that driver's face was priceless.

It only took a few minutes to get going again, after the aforementioned accounting and a little small talk with other the riders in the group. And we were only about two miles from the end of the ride anyway (though with one decent hill in that distance).

Total damage: bar tape on the right side beyond help, scrapes on the handlebar and brake lever that I sanded down, a scrapes on the wing of my saddle and the pedal that are nothing more than cosmetic irritants, a couple small holes in the right glove that won't hurt them much, some dirt on the jacket that'll wash out, and a nice raspberry/goose-egg on my hip that's still smarting when I sit down. It's amazing how much skin damage can happen under Lycra that remains perfectly fine.

Could have been a lot worse, though.

But like I said, it's been a long time since I crashed on the road. I wasn't missing it. Really.

So, Gravity, have your good laugh, sit back and chuckle, then go back to sleep. Hopefully for a good, long, LONG time.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Alpine Loop Gran Fondo

Another great video... I envision putting together an event like this -- something that takes on a life of its own, grows organically, and becomes something great. Enjoy.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Cycling safety -- Do more, shout less.

It seems that a day doesn't go by where I don't hear about another cyclist killed while riding out on the road.

I just read this Guest editorial on BikeRumor about bicycling safety. A bit of a different approach.

I can't agree more. Please read the editorial, and consider supporting this organization.