It’s Bike to Work Week which culminates with Bike to Work Day on Friday. Bike to Work Day is to year-round bike commuters as New Years Eve was to W. C. Fields. If people like me are going to get through the week, we have to chill. We have to have extra patience. We have to be extra aware of every minute of our ride to and from work.
This morning’s ride to work was surprisingly normal. There were plenty of new bike commuters but they all rode predictably and sanely. Despite a cool headwind it was an enjoyable ride.
The ride home was a different matter. It was like being in a video game. I had a strong tailwind and the temperature was in the low 70Fs. Speeds were a bit higher. People were looking around. Leafed out trees and bushes were obstructing sight lines.
On the ride down to the bike trail, I made my way around two young women with two dogs taking up the entire trail. Ding! They moved. I hit the chicane and there were three people arrayed across the width of the path. The one on my side of the path jumped to the side and said “Sorry!”
A line of bikes approached me on the super nice new trail at the TR Island parking lot. One of them decided to pass the others and came right at me. Good thing the new path is wider. I made some snide remark at the pathlete and rode on.
The next few miles were cool. As I rode I directed traffic like a quarterback point out the coverage in the defensive backfield. You go. Keep coming I’ll wait. Pointing my passes out. Hike!
Approaching the beaver bridge north of Slaters Lane, two short old-ish women dressed for February were having a conversation. One on the left side of the path, the other on the right. They created a pinch point. DING! I slowed and threaded the needle without incident.
I came around the blind curve at the Slaters Lane apartments and there were people on either side of the trail. One stepped back realizing they were positioned dangerously. She said “Sorry!”
After the power plant comes a right followed by a left that takes the trail along the railroad tracks. A grandpa, a grandma, and a toddler were standing along the trail. Grandpa crossed the trail. I rang my bell. Toddler followed Grandpa. Grandma followed Toddler across the trail without holding Toddler’s hand. Grandma didn’t react to my bell at all so I slowed to a near stop. She never looked at any of the other people approaching her on the trail either. Grandma needs to see an audiologist.
I made it through Old Town without incident allowing a bus to run interference for me through the pedestrian throngs.
Under the Wilson Bridge I was cruising along when a girl on a skateboard came sailing toward me from an access path to my right. I yelled “Hey” and she stopped with a smile on her face as if to say “My bad.”
On the climb to Washington Street, I caught up to Big Ed, who was fighting gravity and losing. Ed and I rode together for the next several miles. We crossed the Cameron Run bridge. A Hispanic mom, dad, and daughter were fishing from the bridge. As I approached, mom and daughter back pedaled in front of me. I said “Hello” and veered around them. They didn’t react. Next time I’ll try “Hola.”
The rest of the ride was a slalom run around pedestrians. Lots of pedestrians.
We didn’t hit a single one. We are professionals.
I didn’t drop a single f-bomb. Ed cursed a blue streak. (Okay, I’m kidding. About Ed.)
My hope is that heat and humidity will keep the number of evening strollers down as the week progresses and the number of bike commuters increases.