Friday, June 24, 2011

Bike Commute 2011 - Day 30!!!!! & Favors

This report is for Wednesday, 22 Jun 11. 

Today ties this year with last year for the number of times I have ridden my bike to work. Last year the 30th time was late in October, and I was stopped by an early November snow. I'm right on schedule for my goal of 75 this year.
Favors -

I have a pet peeve, drivers who stop unnecessarily as a "favor" to me.

On the North Shore Bike Path, each time it crosses a street the path has a stop sign. When I started riding I would come to an absolute full stop, with one foot on the ground each time I reached on of these. This was inconvenient. It meant that I had to get up out of my saddle and restarting, which is usually uphill, if very difficult.

Now I've mastered a technique in which I slow so that when I reach the stop sign I've actually lost all forward momentum and "stall" for a moment. I come to a stop, but I'm still balanced enough, and it's brief enough that I don't have to take my feet off the pedals and I don't have to get out of my saddle. It's much smoother and I think I've gained almost 10 minutes from the previous procedure.

At none of these intersections does the street traffic have any restrictions.

I also use this procedure in Mundelein where I use side streets with stop signs. Sometimes the crossing street has a stop and sometimes not.

These "favors" I'm talking about are when a well intentioned motorist stops. They think they are helping me out by letting me go. This almost always occurs while I'm still slowing down and before I actually come to a stop, so that instead of "stalling" for an instant, I have to make a hard stop and put a foot down.

Usually they try to wave me across, ignoring the traffic laws, in that they have no restriction or obligation to stop, while I do and must yield the right of way to them. They wave me by and I shake my head and firmly wave them on.

I know they're trying to be nice, and safe. I'm sure they've seen most cyclists darting out across the street, themselves disregarding the laws and safety.

I don't know if I'm more annoyed at the drivers who are cautious, but unclear on the status of bicycles and the rules of the road; or of the cyclists who have bred contempt, uncertainty and disrespect of cyclists into these motorists. Either way, it's very annoying.

Does anyone else have this problem?

How do we fix it?

IN -

Heard strange noises this morning. There was a big storm last night (tornado warnings) and the ground was still wet. I don't know if that had anything to do with the first noise I heard, but it was certainly responsible for the second.

The first noise was in Mundelein, and it sounded a lot like the death ray of the alien tripods from the 1950s move, War of the Worlds. I never figured out what it was.

The second noise was when I pulled into the subdivision off Atkinson. This subdivision is in Lake Bluff I think and is fairly affluent, from the looks of the houses and the amount of land. It sounded like someone was mowing the lawn, and although it was getting rather light at 4:45, it was still much too dark for what I would have considered a good job.

After a few minutes I did figure out what this noise was, generators, and likely auxillary pumps for "lower levels."

In addition to the noises I had to negotiate plenty of downed branches from the previous night's high winds. It was nothing like I would expect from an actual tornado, but enough to make the ride a bit challenging.

Some of the lights were "out" as well. Milwaukee and St. Mary's lights were both blinking, which can be very scary with those confused motorists out there.


I followed my own advice and packed for rain, even though, again, it was sunny when I left work. I did get rained on, twice.

I passed, no one, not a single solitary pedestrian or rider on the trail until near Libertyville High School I had to stop because a parade was going by.

There must have been some sort of organized outing, because on the sidewalk as I was about to cross the street by the high school, over a dozen fun riders went by. I actually had to stop and wait for them to go by.

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