Let the Mayhem Begin

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.

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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.







Day 3 -Sleep, Drugs Repeat

Since I nearly died (or didn’t as the case may be), I have been taking sick days from work. So far just Monday and Tuesday. I briefly considered working from home today. Then, after taking my meds, I sat down in my comfy chair and fell asleep until noon. I woke up with a “where am I” feeling. Groggy.

I am currently taking  a cocktail of medications. Prescription strength doses of Advil for pain, Advair for my asthma, Flonase for my sinuses, Zithromax for the infection, albuterol to quiet my airways.

I am coughing a lot and, for the first time in a week, mucus is coming up (sorry, gross!). Unlike last week, it’s dark, a telltale sign of infection. I am hoping to be well enough to get on my bike tomorrow and ride to work but my rule is if I am too sick to ride, I am too sick to be in the office. Taking two sick days in a row is extremely rare and messes with my pride.

The ER doctor and the EMTs both remarked on my cardiovascular condition. I imagine most overweight 60 year olds with a lung infection on top of asthma are a real mess. My vitals signs, despite my obvious physical distress were normal. (“We have a boring patient in bay 13.”) Actually, they are normal for an average bloke; both my blood pressure and my pulse were on the high side for me. (My dad was a physician. He did my pre-grad school physical one year. He took my pulse three times. Each time he got 48. I had to explain to him that running does that.)

So athletic friends it’s a good idea to tell you doctor that you bike or run or hike a whole bunch.

On second thought, I probably carried this infection for quiet a while and my strong heart and lungs compensated for it. Sunday night they raised the white flag and I went down for a nine count.

I never lost consciousness. The pain never went anywhere near my heart. In fact, the pain has all but disappeared now.

So I am going to curl up with a soft pillow and a snuggie and “enjoy” my sick day. And if you think for one minute that I am not riding on Bike to Work Day, you’re nuts. Gonna get it done.

My apologies to my kids overseas for posting ER pictures on social media and freaking them out. Now you know a little bit of what it’s like to be a parent.

My extreme thanks to all those of you who have sent me good wishes on social media. For those of you who have my phone number, please don’t call. I need to sleep.

And to all of you, get out there and ride. It’s Bike to Work Week!