Monday, August 02, 2010

Face-melting heat, Park Street, brine and coconut sunscreen

A new personal heat record: 118*F heat index. Ouch.

I had a good tailwind, and I think I'd have preferred a headwind in this heat. On the flat stretches of road, I could easily go fast enough to get some breeze, and it wasn't too bad. Going up hills, my speed would often match the wind's. Combined with 50% relative humidity and triple-digit ambient temperatures, that's no good. I really did feel like my face was melting off. A few times, I squirted my eyes with water to drive the stinging brine away from them. And all this on a relatively short commute.

I had some errands to run on the way home, and I'd usually take Pflumm. Pflumm is an arterial road that doesn't have any highway interchanges. If you count the small curvy northernmost section labeled "Quivira Drive", Pflumm cuts through all of Johnson County and the biggest intersection you'll ever have to deal with is Shawnee Mission Parkway. It's a decent road to ride on, but it's still an arterial road with hurried motorists. Today, I opted for Park Street instead. Park is a short road that runs parallel to Pflumm two blocks to the west and only for a little ways near Old Town Lenexa. It's very residential. It's got tree coverage. People sit out on their front porches and wave.

It reminds me how vitally important a good route is for us bicycle commuters, and how often finding a good route involves riding just a block or two away from the big roads you normally think of when planning your trips.

Finally, a few blocks from home I rode past a small, private pool for one of the nearby neighborhoods. I caught a very strong whiff of coconut-scented suntan lotion. I might not have air conditioning for my commute, but motorists miss a lot of little things in their hermetically-sealed transportation bubbles.

Random Tunage:
Dresden & Johnston feat. Nadia Ali - That Day (Tritonal Air Up There Mix)
New Order - True Faith (The Morning Sun Extended Remix)


Apertome said...

Now that's some serious heat! It's been hot here, but not like that, thankfully (knock on wood).

I find the same thing about routes. Often there is a good smaller road that parallels a busier road.

Unfortunately, where I lived in PA, that was not the case. There were a lot of roads that didn't go through, either because of the river, or RR tracks, or mountains.

Warren T said...

It's that time of year. I'm thankful for mis-aimed sprinklers. I hang my shirts out to dry and find those white streaks when I gather them up. Riding over the blacktop patches in the roads feels squishy. Yep, it's August in KC.

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