Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Another Bike Commuter...

Not just another bike commuter, either.

I tried to take Chuong and John's advice and slow it down. The main place where I start to get sweaty is hammering on Southwest between Pennway and Baltimore. This stretch of road is plagued by grouchy motorists that have just gotten off the highway and now must muscle for the correct lane or be forced to take a less-than-ideal detour to get where they're going. I don't have much of a choice of route, all I can do is pick a lane that will get me where I want to go, and hope for the best. Usually, that's the furthest left (center) of three lanes, as most people want to turn right on 20th street or so.

What really finishes off the sweat-fest, however, is Baltimore. It's a relentless 3/4 mile with 200 feet of gain, or about 5% grade average. There's no level section. It's just one solid climb. As hills go, it's not that steep. It's just the cold-hearted wrath of one lengthy climb. This is where I had intended to "slow it down" a little bit.

Well, a problem happened. See, I'd gone this whole way without seeing another bicycle, save for one nestled neatly into the bike carrier on the front of a metro bus some 1/4 mile before this death slog into downtown. Then, I saw something. A blinking light. *sigh*



Keep in mind that my flabby ass hammering up a 5% grade means maintaining 11-12 MPH. Pretty weak, but I wanted to catch up and it seemed to be working. I'm not sure if he saw me and was slowing down, or if he was taking it easy (like I should have been) to hold back some of the sweat. I could already see from a distance that the guy in front of me was in RAGBRAI kit. I eventually caught up to him around 13th street and exchanged greetings.

As it turns out, he's not only a bike commuter that works at the same company I do, but he lives about 2 miles west of me, out in Lenexa as well. He doesn't work in the same building as I do, which explains why the bike rack at my building has never seen a bike other than mine.

It sounds like I might have another recruit for the Monday bike commuter convoy.

In other news, it did clear up last night, to I took my mountain bike out to the Trek Store ride. I was introduced to one of the bike shop employees who wrote this interesting story on choose2bike where he organized a group to commute to high school on bike, using pirate jargon on their route to announce turns, stops, traffic, and road hazards.

The Trek ride was fun, faster than normal, and had some interesting twists that would make any masshole or Prairie Village Yacht Clubber proud. No offense meant to Critical Mass or PV Yachters - but you guys have a reputation for pulling some interesting and/or dangerous stunts on occasion. Other than the one little incident where we jammed up 75th street pretty good and probably made a few new friends, it was a smooth ride, and I learned a new way to avoid some of the higher-traffic areas of my ride home at night.

1 comment:

Apertome said...

Sounds like a good guy to have met. I hope you guys can ride into work together a lot.

"masshole" cracked me up. I don't know a lot about those Critical Mass events, but it seems to me that the best way of communicating "we are traffic!" cannot be by breaking traffic laws and acting recklessly and unpredictably.

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