Wednesday, September 30, 2009

It is so much nicer to ride -- usually!

I normally go in to work around 9:30 AM. But for the past two days, I have been an early bird. While it is nice to start early and finish (try to) early, as a VC, I pay a price, because of the time at which I leave home to go to work (and on the way back too, unfortunately.

I am sure you guessed it! For what it is worth, here is a quick peek! What you are looking at is the line-up of cars on Valley Ranch Parkway caused by back-up at Valley View Lane and Riverside. It is usually not this bad later in the morning, say around 9:15 or so.
I usually don't mind these drivers' manners or lack thereof and riding along with them. While this part of my route to work is not the most challenging, the harder part is just down the road, at the intersection of Riverside and Vally View Lane. The video below should give you an idea of this craziness!




Of late though, I have been wondering, is it really worth messing with this? Should I take a saner and safer route, perhaps take the Campion Trail to La Villita, instead of trying to maneuver through this mess? That's exactly what I did this morning!
Is that better or is this better? I would like to call the picture below, "Galloping Gikma (pronounced Jikma or GCMA) :)
Even the safer route has a price to pay. First off, it is a bit of a detour, which is not something El Groucho is ready for in the morning. Secondly, I have to climb this 6% grade hill. Did I fess-up that I am not a big fan of hills, especially if they are on my commuting route?
I did not mind the detour or the 6% grade this morning. I survived them just fine.

This evening's commute back home was a different story. On the same route, this evening, I came close to being hit TWICE within 10 minutes. In both cases, I did signal, follow all the rules and I am quite confident that I was visible.

In the first case, the first guy who almost hit me was driving a Caddy De Ville. I was on La Villita, headed towards Campion Trail. The two lane road becomes a one-lane road, as it nears the trail. I moved over from the ending lane (right) to the inner lane. The Caddy guy honked at me and nearly missed me; put the pedal to the metal and drove away "victoriously". I was annoyed. I made the exception and treated him to a finger. My bad perhaps, call me a donkey, but I too am human, what can I say?

In the second case, three cars honked at the Olds Achieva, which almost hit me, on Valley Ranch Parkway East (I was headed towards Cimmaron/North). Mind you, this is a 2/3 lane road and usually most people are courteous. Cyclists are almost dime a dozen on this road, on many days!

I didn't break any laws! I followed all the rules to a tee!

Another fine example of lack of education on the drivers part? Or is it the Mercury Retrograde??

Again, for someone who is not a native Dallas-ite, I say this behavior is new to me and I haven't seen much like it elsewhere :(

Y'all be careful out there!

Peace :)

7 comments:

  1. There sure are good and bad days, my friend. I'm becoming surprised by how little I care about honking, yelling and even bad driving. It used to upset me quite a lot when people did that stuff. Now, sadly, it's just normal.

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  2. I wish I could do that. I guess I have my moments :(

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  3. I too sometime find it difficult to restrain hand signaling my opinion of a jackass. But it is dangerous as I consider everyone here armed, drunk and looking to inject some high drama into their bleak lives.
    Its a sad state of affairs when the state feels a need to legislate courtesy and common sense toward bicycles but that has happened here. Didn't change anything.

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  4. As Rantwick says, it's just some days.

    A few weeks ago, I was headed home on a lovely Saturday evening. I was on a 2-lane, one-way street, riding happily in the middle of the right lane with a breeze at my back. Two cars passed. One honked. A few minutes later, 4 cars passed, 2 honked, one yelled. I turned left onto a 4-lane road and stopped first at a red light. A minivan pulled up behind me. The light turned green, he honked. I think I was passed by 20 cars my whole ride home and 1/4 of them were occupied by a-holes. Go figure.

    Then I'll go weeks without hostility. And have days when everyone wants to be my friend and help me out. The other night I was in a knot of heavy traffic, everyone having to change lanes ans maneuver around me, I heard not a sound. And when I needed to merge left, my request was granted immediately.

    Hold your head high and don't take any of it personally. Take the route that suits your mood. Want to get there, take the fast road. Want a quiet, quality ride, take the trail. It's all good.

    BTW, I like your perspective of what traffic looks like from the sidewalk. I think it's important to show that... also the perspective from behind the wheel of a car... and juxtapose it from the cyclist's perspective. Here's what that kind of traffic and that kind of road looks like behind a 15mph cyclist:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HUNKox4-W90

    And don't berate yourself when they hit a nerve and the finger is quicker than the brain. It happens to the most serene of us ;-)

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  5. I tried the take the lane thing on the south bound Central Serice Road yesterday near the Galatyn area. It was my last, I'll stick to sidewalks and side streets. Having pissy in a rush psycho's driving a ton weapon at 70 mph a foot on your side is way too un-nerving.
    I wonder why Richardson hasn't built a safe way to cross Central east and west? They built an expensive looking steel and wood bridge to climb up on Jupiter from the bike path.

    Just trying not to die from internal bleeding.

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  6. The alternate route seems better, even if people were less than courteous today. It's probably worth another shot, to see if it's always that way or if you just got unlucky today.

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  7. I find that motorists are at their BEST in those knots of heavy, complicated traffic with lots of lane changing going on. They're not nearly so endearing if it's just heavy, straight ahead traffic. Signaling seems to fascinate them, though I'm not convinced that most of them have a clue what the various signals are actually supposed to mean.

    I vary my route depending on my mood, the wind, the sun, and how long it's been since I went down that way. On occasion, I even discover a new route variant, though I've been making this commute for over five months now.

    For MY take on the "take the lane" thing, see today's post on my blog.

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