April 27, 2011

Seconds are Hours

Between heavy rain storms, I'm attempting to ride once in a while. 

This morning I headed down my normal route, and as I approached one of the early traffic lights, it turned red.  I could hear a vehicle behind me, and I went into decision mode.  Do I: 1.  Stay mid-lane and frustrate the vehicle behind me if...(looking back and confirming) ...that plans to turn right, or 2.  Pull over and give room to that huge truck by carrying my bike up onto the sidewalk?

The implications here are always a battle in my mind.  As a cyclist on the road I have the right and responsibility to act as a car.  By so doing I will be most predictable, and often most annoying...because to drivers, seconds are hours.  I've experienced Frustrated Driver Syndrome (FDS) in two basic situations:  Either I'm going too slow or I'm blocking a right-turn lane.  Which brings me to the other side of my internal battle.  If I were in a car at a red light, planning to drive straight, and happened to be blocking the right-turner behind me, that driver would hardly bat an eye.  But in the same situation on a bicycle I have been honked at, revved at, and driven around.  Because seconds are hours.

This morning, because the light had only just turned red; I lifted my bike up over the curb and waved two cars up to the line before resuming my position in the street.  (I have often chosen not to do this for the express reason that my position in the street would be forfeited to a long line of cars.)

Later in my commute I found myself in the other FDS-inducing situation.  Entering an S-curve that is a single lane wide and bounded by curbs on both sides, I could hear a couple of vehicles behind me.  Out of the corner of my eye, I saw one car enter a left turn pocket out of the lane.  Then the second car, despite being seconds away from a two-lane section, revved his little pickup and passed within 6 inches of me.  I really appreciate being able to allow him to save those precious seconds...

April 11, 2011

The Coldest Part

This morning I was a little set back by the fact that I could not find my fleece cap to put on under my helmet.  I hadn't looked out the window, but I figured it would be chilly.  When I walked out the door I was a little surprised to hear rain on the tin awning.  It wasn't pouring, though, so out I went despite my wife's encouragement that I was still early enough to catch the bus.

In fact, the rain was just a little off and on sprinkling.  The ride turned out to be quite pleasant!  There was not even enough wet to make a stream off my fenders.

Nope, the worst part of today's commute was the shower.  Today it did not warm up.  At all.  I don't like cold showers.  At all.

April 05, 2011

Cuts Like a Knife

The weather here is Spokane has been wet and cold.  A few days last week teased with sunshine for a few hours, but most days the rain came back.  Yesterday was no exception.  I rode to work in overcast and I rode home in light rain. 

But it was not the rain that made life uncomfortable yesterday.  It was the morning cold.  I chose to be a spring optimist and wore a short-sleeve jersey under my jacket.  Generally this would be enough, but there was a gap at my wrist between my glove and jacket sleeve.  I am a terrible wimp about gaps in clothing.  For this very reason I wear long socks and I prefer pants that cover the top of my shoe...even when sitting.

As I sped down Nemesis Hill, that gap at my wrist began to shout at me.  It felt like a sharp knife pressing against my arm harder and harder.  It must have something to do with the moisture in the air, because generally I can handle a bit of cold without complaining. 

Today I wore my winter garb of long sleeve shirt and short sleeve shirt under my jacket.  No gaps.  No cold.

January 28, 2011

The Itch

Looking back at the calendar, I see I have only biked to work once in January.  Bummer.  I'm committed to getting past my neck pains, so this may last longer.  But with the streets free of ice and snow it's getting harder to resist. 

The lack of riding has not left me completely inactive.  I'm running and working out on my lunch breaks, but I've still put on a bit of weight lately.  I'm confident that commuting would have curbed that occurrence. 

I looked at my road bike hanging in my shop last night and briefly wondered if I'd be able to get serious about riding it this year.  The answer quickly pushed doubt away, "Heck yes I will!"  I won't let an injury take me away from what I love.  At least not yet! 

Anyway, with the desire to ride growing within me, I had to at least write about it. Ride on!

January 18, 2011


I've been dealing with a little pain in the neck lately.  It started off a much bigger pain in the neck, but mostly it is nothing more than background noise now.  Except when it's not. 

I've had plenty of neck pains, and usually they last no longer than a week.  You know the kind:  wake up in the morning and feel a sharp shooting pain when you look one direction.  The pain fades day after day until you forget you ever had it. 

This particular pain in the neck chose to go the opposite direction. It grew day after day for 2 weeks.  My method of ignorance was ineffective.  Then I played a friendly game of flag football and woke up the next day almost unable to lift my head out of bed.  The pain continued to grow that week too.  With some drugs and physical therapy, the sharpness of that pain disappeared, but the sharp-edged nerve-pinch feeling remains when I turn my head...or look up...or look down. 

I'm 5 months into this now, and I'm finally tired enough to take another crack at PT.  I cringed this morning when the therapist informed me that my riding position could be adding to my pain.  I secretly brushed off that suggestion because I have only ridden 1 week of the last 5 weeks.  Also on the chopping block is the ergonomics of my work desk. 

It's tough to accept direction to change things.  Ugh.

On the positive side, my PT appointment was timed such that riding to work was the best option today!