10.04.2006

a hazard... an obnoxious and easily remedied hazard

watching some Bill Maher stand up
I am watching it with one eye
my hands go between the keyboard and my glass

wanted to read this to see if it wants to make any sense

people are a hazard

I am not going to go into great detail and specifics about all people
and why each and every person is a hazard
right now I want to focus on the people on the bike trail
more specifically
the people on the Mount Veron trail in Northern Virginia after sunseat

yes
LIGHTS=LIFE
GET A LIGHT

as much as I love racing the traffic and running the lights
I very much enjoy the carfree routes around the city
the bike paths may not be as direct to where I want to go
but there is less need to stop and start again
so it can be a more fluid riding experience
also less stressful

the Mount Vernon trail can also be very beautiful

after work I like to stretch my short commute home to be a little longer
if I can sneak in 45 minuites to an hour forty-five minutes on the bike I am stoked
things are usually more like 59 minutes
but there are times when things get to run longer

tonight after working late I wanted to lose the day in a quick ride
so I jumped on my thirty year old Colnago that is built into a fixie and pointed down M Street toward the Key Bridge
traffic was pretty backed up
at 28th Street I increased my advantage over the cars

the fixie not being second nature to me had me weave at a mellow clip through the nearly parked cars
the traffic lights worked well for me
those lights that were not green were easy enough to split with safety and courtesy

had to stop at Wisconsin and M Street for the red and then for things to clear
at the change of the light I zipped across
it was not green for me
but it seemed like a good time to take my turn
the gap was free and easy

with traffic really backed up ahead I rode the double yellow line down the middle of the road
always cautious of the frantic U-turn or the drunken jay walker

the lights lined up red
but I kept flowing through
at 34th street I split through two cars that had the green turn arrow headed my way
the second car sped up
as if to close the gap
I was there and gone
already anticipating such a predictable aggressive move
they could have rear ended the car in front of them
I didn't see it as I was looking forward
but I didn't hear it... aw shucks
the left turning cars and trucks headed up 34th were backed up feeding into M Street

on the left hand side of Key Bridge I dipped onto the sidewalk

with flashing lights on my back and a HID light on my head
I felt that I could be seen as well as I could see

the bridge had its usual sidewalk activity
a mixture of tourist, walking business people, joggers, runners, happy couples, homeless people, college coeds, and other cyclists
any combination of the list with headphones
many of them lacking common sense
as I spun along I looked through the tall fence at my side and looked at the white marble monuments
the kennedy center
the lincoln memorial
the washington monument
a photographer had a camera on a tripod with a cable leading controling the extended exposure of the bulb setting
he must have been shooting film
this is a beautiful site
especially at sunrise or sunset

weaved cautiously and courteously through the varying traffic
turning onto the Mt Veron trail just 20 yards past the end of the bridge

not far into the trail I was already greeted by cast of idiots
young and old
all sorts of people getting their post work "thing" in without any lights
some relectors... but that depends upon the lights of others
my HID gave me fair warning of anybody or anything ahead
but... I worried about tweedle dumb and tweedle dumber having a head on with each other
it amazes me that there are not more accidents on these multiuse trails
people are jokers

the darkness and the absence of light being a huge contributing factor
but these people are still jokers in other scenarios

the ride went on without incident
I mutter joker to each and every cyclist that nearly collided into me on their lightless bikes
some cyclists with headphones
some cyclists without helmets
apparently some cyclists without brains

the street are safer as the streets have street lights and the cars illuminate the street
the bike paths are a terror without lights

sure in my youth I thought I was some sort of Vampire from the Lost Boys as I sprinted madly in the dark
never knowing what was going to appear in front of me
but now I am old and conservative
the thought of testing my reaction time is no longer that same thrill

the number of runners decreased as I split the distance to the airport and roosevelt island
wanting to go further but needing to head home I headed up the 14th street bridge
a joker with no lights came screaming down taking the corner wide almost hitting me head on
with my size and my lights I am not sure how he did not see me
I understand
not everyone looks so far ahead
not everyone thinks so far ahead

the legs were feeling a little bit of a burn at this point as I was over spinning my small geared fixie
knowing that traffic was coming up I used the last set of open path to spin the cranks

when I fed onto 15th Street things were oddly carless
well.. there were cars headed out of the city but no cars headed in
perhaps not so odd... guess that is the standard post work momentum

with the Holocaust Museum then USDA on my right I timed the light perfectly to be greeted by open road as I passed the Washington Monument on my left
the lights were red but the coast was clear
in the distance I could hear sirens
I followed the sound
then the lights of a motorcade came into view

I guaged the speed of the rapidly moving motorcade and looked at the lights
my timing was such that I would still have the green when I made the light
but
how far in front of the motorcade would I be
I increased my pace a tad
took another measure of things
there was plenty of space
I made the light long before the motorcade went straight through the intersection behind me

my pace dropped to a more comfortable pace
the frantic spinning of that low gear is not something I care to keep up too long
it is not that comfortable
nor does the bike feel as steady at that cadence

as I passed the entrance to the elipse I ran the light
a firetruck was exiting the area
but the emergency vehicle had not started to pick up speed
which gave me time to jet through
as I cleared the intersection this vehicle also added to the sound of sirens

as I passed the Department of Treasury I could hear the motorcade coming up 14th Street just one block to my side
they moved into the distance fast
the sounds added to my excitment as the sirens echoed between the buildings and down the openings of the city blocks

turned into the now closed Pennsylvania Avenue turning at Freedom Plaza for the home stretch of 16th Street
raced the cars up 16th to Mount Pleasant
took the tunnel under the circle
then passed all sorts of car traffic that was blind to me even with my bright lights
anticipated the actions of the cars around me
as they do not see me
even if I shine my white/blue light into their rear view mirror I remain invisible

weaved into neighborhood practicing track skids as I closed in on closer to my house
in the alley behind my house I used a patch of sand to alternate my skidding leg
dismounted
carried the bike into the basement
leaving the light on until the basement light was on

got out of my sweaty gear
put on some dirty clothes
yes I should shower... but i did not shower
went upstairs and joined my kids for a little Animal Planet
a great show about fish in the deep
which was exciting to the boys
all sorts of discussions of Nemo being the name of a fish in a movie
and this being the real deal
yes fish have friends
no fish can not talk

those people are a hazard
I need to be careful of the people on the trail
and the people on the street
so I can get home and hand with my family

dinner was made
the dog had been walked
helped dress the boys for bed
a little Animal Planet
then some stories before bed

not a bad night
work was work
but the time after it was pretty grand

4 comments:

gwadzilla said...

too much red wine
not enough strength to see if that thought ever came around to make sense

gewilli said...

fucking brilliant shit joel... brilliant shit man...

nice to know that the bike path up here is the same as down there...

kickfreakingass entry

gwadzilla said...

glad you liked the post

I am always scared of my long winded rants pushing my images and information down the page

glad to see that someone other than me reads my long winded posts

gwadzilla said...

wonder who else got this deep in into the blog