Friday, March 14, 2008

All kinds of interesting stuff

Let's see... after last night's post, it was determined that I had to make yet another grocery run. I don't know what the deal was last night, but I just wanted to push really hard. I'm fat and out of shape. My lungs certainly are better off than they were two years ago, but as you can tell they're still in need of conditioning. Over short distances, I can lay it down pretty hard if I want to.

With the nearest grocery store just a little more than a mile away, I hit it really hard, and it felt good. I caught my breath while grabbing some items from the store, then hit it hard on my way back home, but not before I stopped in the parking lot to pick up a really nice, heavy duty bungee cord someone had left laying around. This also reminds me... I saw a VAULT DOOR for what looked like a small gun cabinet next to the dumpster at my apartment complex. I love locks, locksmithing, and that kind of stuff. No clue what the vault door was doing there, but it's obvious that someone had to partake in destructive entry. I forgot to pick it up last night. I'm only writing this here so I remember to go check it out this evening and see if it's still there. If so, I'll probably disassemble the door (it's usually easy from the inside) and get the lock to play with. Locks are like puzzles to me, and I am an amateur locksmith among other strange traits.

Enough rambling. This morning, you can imagine I was greeted with sore legs. Very sore legs. Although I stretched well last night both before and after laying the smack down on the pavement, I still have a lot of soreness. I took it easy on the way to the bus this morning. The ride happened to take me through two miles of fog so dense that it looked like mist in the sharp beam of my LED light. There was no hammering to be done. I averaged about 10 miles per hour this morning.

Coming off the Quivira Viaduct (where I kind of pushed it a little on the downhill) it was apparent that I was being tailgated by someone driving a PT cruiser. In no hurry and with an open lane to my left, I putzed along at maybe 12 MPH. Just cruising. It's a slight uphill. The driver remained glued to within 10 feet of me. As I approached the entrance to Circuit City, the driver finally decided to pass me. Now, I'm guessing this person was staying behind me because they needed the right lane. And there's only one reason you need the right lane when the left one is empty. It's because you want to turn. I slowed down more in anticipation. I was completely ready for what happened next, but it still cheeses me off. I got right-hooked by some old lady, hunched over her steering wheel. I had to turn with the PT cruiser to avoid broadsiding it because the driver slowed way, way down to turn. I rode along side it and pounded on the window. She screeched to a halt, startled and rolled down the window. I screamed at her, and she said she didn't see me.

I'm going to interject here. This is just insane. She didn't see me? Why was she pacing me? Does she just drive 12 MPH all the time? Why did she use the left lane to go around me? Does she always go into the left lane before making a right turn? Did she somehow miss 10 LEDs on the back of my bike, and two bright orange reflective strips? As she passed me, did she somehow miss half a kilo-lumen of photon energy in her passenger mirror?

Whatever. I told her to be more careful. She didn't apologize. She just drove off. Situational Awareness. I have it. Others don't. I'm conjuring up all kinds of mayhem which I could have wreaked upon car and driver in the moment, but chose not to. I'm talking air-hanky in the passenger window, Gatorade on the leather seats, and cleats meet paint kind of mayhem. Also, Kansas did just recently pass a Concealed Carry program. Not that I would stoop to the level of cage-ragers.

Ah well. I took a nap on the bus (I actually hate when I do this) and showed up to the coffee shop with Lorin to find JR waiting for us, and a new, unfamiliar bike next to the door. A dark navy frame with totally unfamiliar markings. Very thin stays and fork. Definitely steel. Likely custom. Black and purple bar tape. Racy looking, somewhat old school but not ye-olde school. This must be Andrew's bike. He comments here on occasion and had mentioned yesterday wanting to meet up with us. Now, because of various things that had happened last summer, I thought that I'd already met him, but I had not. Today was Andrew's maiden voyage for bike commuting, and he's starting off with a nice multi-mode setup riding from Prairie Village to Waldo, taking the bus to downtown, then riding some more to get up north.

So, our little bike commuter coffee clan had four members again. Bob dropped off the face of the earth back in September, so it's been a while since we've had four bikes outside of Starbucks all at the same time. It was nice running into Andrew. Hopefully bike commuting works out as well for him as it has for so many others.

This is a great time of year to get started commuting by bike in the great plains. As it warms up and gets lighter, things seem to get easier and nature tends to lend itself to longer and harder rides and the discovery of more interesting, possibly safer routes. It also gives you a good solid six months to get helplessly addicted to the habit of riding a bike damn near everywhere as you build your obsessions on all the wonders of the bicycle. Apertome also started about this same time last year. As it turns out, he became a pretty serious year-round bike commuter, even if his cow-orkers don't realize it. Maybe we've hooked another one.

Random Tunage:
Erlend Øye - The Black Keys Work
Stabbing Westard - Save Yourself (whatever happened to these guys?!)


dvicci said...

I had my own encounter this morning as well, though I never actually came into contact with the woman.

People are brilliant. Nice interjection... my thoughts exactly. That sort of driving indicates a quantifiable lack of understanding of even the most rudimentary physics of moving objects. Oh, and advanced cataracts.

Other than that, I drove to the grocery store last night. I could have, perhaps should have taken the bike, but... well... there you have it. I need to get some ankle straps. That's the only thing holding me back from running those sorts of errands, I tell ya.

Warren T said...

A driver saying "I didn't see you" is just reacting the same as my kids do when I ask "Who _____?" Response: "Not me." She got caught doing something wrong.

Apertome said...

Woah, that sounds like quite a close call, and lady clearly had no excuse. Kudos for keeping things in check, it's easy to get pissed off in a situation like that but it's almost always best to take the high road, so to speak.

I hope Andrew keeps it up, commuting only gets more fun over time, or at least that's my experience.

Regarding Stabbing Westward: those guys rocked. I never did get the last album they put out as I heard it was poppier and I lost interest. It's a shame, they put out some really great stuff.

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