Thursday, March 5, 2009

Home Again

The great thing about commuting to work by bike is that you get to ride back home again, scoring two rides for the price of one, or, as some people would have it, being twice as crazy as a normal person.

As I was getting ready to head back home today, one of my coworkers asked, “Are you going out in that cold?” I will mention that, as I was asked this question, I was standing next to my bicycle already wearing a helmet and putting on my gloves.

I nodded. “It was 37 degrees when I rode in this morning. I don’t guess it’s colder than that now.”

Just as a note to show you how good I am at predicting even the near future, this proved to be a bad guess. It was freezing! Oh, and there was a headwind. Okay, it was freezing because of the headwind. The actual temperature had in fact risen by a staggering two degrees, but the wind had also picked up by several miles an hour, so I think the overall effect was to make things colder. And, because of the wind, the ride took a bit longer.

This same coworker followed up her question by asking, “Did you hear about that boy?"

This was rather a vague question. I suppose that I might have heard about “that boy” without realizing it, but I took the safe route and said, “No.”

It turns out that the boy in question was out riding his bike and was struck by a car and ended up on the hospital in a coma. Well, I didn’t know about that boy, and I’m sorry to hear about him and wish him well - I hope he gets better quickly and suffers no ill effects - but possibly you could have chosen a better time to tell me about him than just as I’m getting ready to get on my bike and ride home.

Just about ten minutes after I hit the road, a giant humvee, pretty much just as wide as the entire lane, whizzed past me without moving over one inch to give me clearance. The wind of its passage nearly blew me off the road. Slowing down as you pass a cyclist would be appreciated, especially when your vehicle displaces so much air. (I have seen this humvee several times, unless there are a lot of bright yellow humvees driving around the town I live in, and I am always amazed at how much of the lane it takes up.)

Oh, and, just a note to the driver of the huge red pickup truck: I appreciate that the honk you gave as you approached me from behind was polite and was clearly intended to let me know of your presence. Thank you for being considerate. However, I’d really appreciate it if you merely passed me safely without honking, since the honk tends to make me jump. This is not a good thing, since it kind of makes the bike swerve, and my near encounter with the humvee a very short time before had already made me a little nervous. Still I appreciate the thought. You were much nicer than the guy who threw the half full bottle of soda at me. (In case you're wondering, said bottle bounced off my leg. It only hit me obliquely, so it didn't hurt much.)

However, humvees and horns aside, it was a ride, and I was glad to be on the bike turning the pedals.

See you on the road.

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