Wednesday, July 11, 2007

All kinds of cyclists this morning!

As I left my apartment complex, I heard a noise behind me. A rumbling sound, like that of a 150 horsepower diesel engine in an underpowered Johnson County bus. I glanced back, and sure enough, the D (Dreaded!) bus was bearing down on me at the stop light. When it changed, I took off. It passed me. A short while later, it stopped to pick someone up. I blew its doors off. It passed me again. Leapfrog with buses!

As I approached 79th street, I encountered Karen again. I'm usually riding too hard to talk much but we exchanged greetings and worked our way towards downtown, taking turns pulling, although she pulled more than I did. We encountered the Dreaded bus again at 79th and Neiman, but this time it was ahead of us.

I'm feeling kind of weak from 4 days straight on my bike. I'm at 73 miles for the week and more than 170 miles total for the month. By this time tomorrow, I'll have close to 200 miles for the month and we're not even half-way through it yet!

Karen and I ran across another cyclist near Antioch (the intersection shown in the first photo). This is who I had seen ahead of me on Thursday during B2WW. I didn't catch his name, but he lives near where we met him, and works at Cerner in North KC, making his commute easily as formidable as my own. As you can tell, he opts for a gigantic backpack. Wow.

I actually did slow it down on Baltimore today. I was even going slow enough to break out the camera for the death slog uphill. There was a bicyclist behind me by about 1/10 - 1/8 of a mile (about a city block) but he never caught up, even though I was just putzing along in the granniest of granny gears on the Trek, which isn't all that granny compared to my hybrid or MTB.

I rode to Starbucks as usual. At first, I saw Lorin ride by. He must have caught the L bus from Oak Park Mall. No coffee for him this morning, as he continued through the intersection. Then, as I'm locking up, lo and behold, the Dreaded bus arrives! Glad you could make it, buddy! I'm pretty sure the driver saw me, as I saw a silhouette of the driver's head visibly glance my direction, then mutter something. Take that. Slow and steady, pal. Slow and steady.

I went inside for my machine-fabricated mocha handed to me by a button pusher. He's a friendly button pusher who happens to know me by first name, but a button pusher all the same. As I'm standing in line, the cashier (a different kind of button pusher) mutters something about how everyone is riding their bike today. I look over my shoulder, and it's Bob, a 50-something (maybe older) guy who I talk to on occasion.

Bob has been talking about bikes with me for about 2 months now. I see him maybe once a week or so, sometimes twice. He used to ride a lot, but it started to hurt his back. He asked me about different kinds of bikes, and last week, I pulled up some websites and showed him some things to look for in a comfort hybrid bike, which would allow him to sit more upright, possibly with a suspension seatpost, and a seat that's easy on the tailbone.

He went to River Market Cyclery, my favorite bike shop by far when it comes to the downtown area, and they hooked him up with a Schwinn Sierra GSD. Not a great bike, but not your average wal-mart Schwinn, either. I checked it out, and the components aren't too shabby for the price. He was having problems with his gears grinding and I offered to look at it after I got done drinking my mocha. A few minutes talking to him revealed that he was cross-chaining it, which is a big no-no. I helped him understand his bikes gearing a little better. Hopefully this helps his shifting woes. As we sat and talked about bikes, I saw at least 3 or 4 other cyclists ride by, including the headphone-wearing helmetless bee. Ugh.

4 comments:

Tim O said...

Here's a picture of what your bike commute will look like if you can recruit some more commuters....

http://www.velonews.com/images/gallery/12687.19436.f.jpg

OK it's Stage 4 of the TdF but what the heck....

Are you riding the Discover Vision ride tonight?

Tim O said...

OK here's the actual link:

Big French Bike Commute

Noah said...

No, with my wife working graveyards, my evenings are usually spoken for. Besides, I'm creeping up on 200 miles for the month already, and the leggies are just finally getting used to my commute.

I know I'm a weenie, but the Discover vision center ride really is more like pain and training than fun and recreation at this point.

Tim O said...

I had kiddo issues and didn't go either. I only have 65 miles in this month so I may go later on tonight and knock out a few miles....

I am working on a blog of BAK, I'll post the url when I get it done.

I hear you on the Discover ride...I need the challenge sometimes however!!

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