October 01, 2010

Doctor's Orders

I've had a stiff neck for a while now...nearly 5 weeks.  It began one morning after I presumably slept wrong on it, but I think I seriously over-stressed myself prior to that by playing football one day and then going out wakeboarding the next.  For a couple of weeks the pain seemed to fade, but never completely gone, it erupted again after another football game.  After that the pain did not fade.  Rather, it seemed to become more painful and irritating each day.  This week I scheduled an appointment with my doctor. 
I was a little apprehensive about finding out what was wrong.  I felt terrible the day before the appointment and missed 1/2 a day of work.  I even rode the bus to work; fearing that the pain was exacerbated by my riding position.
I love the efficiency of my medical team.  Checked in, vitals check, flu shot, visit with doc, x-rays, follow-up with doc, all in 45 minutes!  Not to mention that I set up my own appointment online and can email my doc and receive responses. 
My doctor diagnosed a neck sprain.  Textbook example.  The plan of recovery?  Anti-inflammatories and daily cycling.  Really, it was more like this:  "daily low-impact aerobic exercise...so cycling."  Did I mention I like my medical team?  My recovery plan requires that I ride my bike!  Wahoo!

September 28, 2010

Reactionary Meetings

This morning after flying down Nemesis Hill (affectionately named, for its effect on my return commute), I bottomed out at a hasty speed.  I did my best to maintain speed.  I kept the big gear up front and pedaled hard. 
As I approached the next cross street, a car pulled up to the intersection on my right and executed what I remember (as a teenager) calling a "California Stop" (although I have never experienced anything to justify that generalization).  Fortunately for me, the driver saw me quickly approaching AND he reacted. 
At first, I perceived his reaction as conceited and rude because he hit the accelerator and crossed in front of me while he turned into the parallel lane to mine.  As it turned out, I did not have to react in any physical way to avoid a collision.  In fact, I purposely did not react...you know...so I could show that man what danger he was flirting with.  (Retrospectively, I think I made a stupid choice there, but I won't admit where.)  Had the driver hit his brakes instead of his accelerator, he would have stopped midway into my travel lane and I would have had to react in a big way to avoid collision.  I had to admit to myself that he made a good choice and subsequent reaction.
I ended up coming within 10 feet of that car as it crossed through my lane, and then I kept up with it as we rolled up to the next red light.  While pedaling in the car's right wingman position I realized that we would stop next to eachother, and I would have an opportunity to communicate with the driver.  I acted as I would have if our meeting had not been so reactionary.  Truly, having thought about it, I was pleased that he had reacted with confidence and prevented collision.

September 27, 2010

Historic Routes

Quick side-note:  I took my bike into the LBS to have its first tune-up.  Oh how I love a quiet, smooth, clean rig!

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a little piece about Spokane's 2nd Avenue.  I shared my ever-so-humble opinion that anyone wanting a bike lane there is crazy and probably sustains a death wish. 

Surprisingly (to me anyway), the very source I pinned with flaming the issue - Bike to Work Spokane - linked to my miniscule piece of the blagosphere and my readership sorta exploded.  Consequently, a few comments were shared, and one of those struck a chord in me I had never considered.

bleckb wrote:
I'm one of those who want something done for cyclists on 2nd. It provides a great through-way to get from one end of town to the other, linking Ben Burr and Fish Lake, along with Browne's Addition and Sunset Highway and Government Way.
Once 2nd is put back together, I'll be using it again. I come down Washington and turn at 2nd and follow it out to Sunset and Gov't Way. It's been a designated bike route probably since Expo 74 era, and it's on the Master Bike Plan.

The part that struck me was that last sentence.  I don't know bleckb's credentials.  (Oh wait, his blogger profile says he is an english teacher...uhhhh...I hope I'm grading well here!)  Has he been riding the 2nd Ave. route since Expo 74?  No matter. 

What struck me is that this route has been a bicycle route for a while...probably longer than it has been a one-way, business-laden arterial.  I hadn't thought about the historical aspect of bicycle routes.  Remnants of neighborhood structure are still visible over some portions of 2nd Ave, and I can see in my mind's eye a lazy day in the early history of Spokane when young people rode and walked those streets in safety. 

I still retain my opinion that vehicle travel on this dangerous street should not be compressed, but I appreciate the vision shared by Mr. bleckb.