Thursday, July 25, 2013

Notes from the bike path

After a slow start this season, I'm finally riding my bike with some degree of addiction regularity. Riding feels better than anything else I'm doing these days (except spending time with my kids and granddaughter). Sometimes I ride the same route 3 or 4 days in a row, and even so, I never know what's going to happen out there.

My next-door neighbor asked me today if I had ever watched My Strange Addiction.  I said I'd seen a couple -- one about a woman who eats tires .... She said there was one about a woman who eats remote controls, another who eats her own hair follicles, and one about a guy who rides his bike 8 hours a day, even while he's working. He rides so much his hips have worn out and he can't walk right, but he won't get surgery because he won't be able to ride while he recuperates.

I said that one I understood. I had just come home from a 26-mile ride, and I was standing in her front yard still in my sweaty spandex capris wondering if I could go out later in the evening and get in another ride.

Addicts are people who eat tires and remote controls, not people who ride bikes.

The other day on Facebook a friend whom I'll call Doc -- because he's a doctor -- said I could assume I'd achieved an acceptable level of aerobic punishment if I got home from a ride  sweaty enough that I couldn't wait to take a shower. Obviously he's a runner.

First, my clothes dry pretty fast on a bike ride when I'm trying to keep a steady 14-16 mph pace over the miles. And yet, I do come home sweaty enough to wring moisture from my clothes on a hot day. And I definitely need a shower.

But whether I must take a shower depends entirely on whether I've completely depleted my stores of energy 10 miles back. Today my ride calculator said I'd burned over 1200 calories, and I'd eaten a small apple with peanut butter in the previous 14 hours. Fuck the shower; I wanted food.

In fact, I can come in splattered heels to neck in goose shit (that was Monday night), and I'll still have to consider whether I need a shower before I eat. Speaking of food ....

(photo credit:
The Canada geese are thick out there this summer. Nasty shitting hissing flapping fuckers. They didn't used to bother me, but this year their numbers have tripled. I'll just pick up to a good fast pace and there they are spread across the bike path like they fucking own it, especially in the evening when I tend to ride most often.

The other day I rode earlier in the day and didn't run into one flock on my way out. They were all down by or on the river. On the way back though, they were all there, flock after flock crowded on the bike path. If they could talk, I'm sure they'd say, "Damn it. You're early today. We weren't ready for you, but here we are now. By the way, your shirt looks lovely with our shit splashed all over it." Damn birds.

 I hiss at them so they'll be intimidated and get out of my way faster. It usually works, but this year a few of them have gotten uppity and tried to attack my bike as I slowly passed. Assholes.

Last summer a lone goose ambushed a friend who was riding along the bike path minding his own business. The evil gander meandered onto the path out of nowhere; my friend hit it, went over his handlebars and landed on his shoulder. After surgery he ended up with something like 8 pins in his shoulder. I don't know if he's riding his bike this summer, but I think it would be hard to get back in the saddle after something like that.

There are lots of hungry people in this city. I don't understand why they don't do like Bob Cratchet and bring home a goose for dinner. Yummy, free goose.

One night I rode out about 8 miles and had come back about halfway in a fairly isolated area -- no houses or businesses nearby. Right there on my side I saw a grocery store cake in a plastic cake carrier upside down on the path. It wasn't there when I rode by the first time. And I hadn't passed anyone going the other direction in quite a while, nor could I see anybody ahead. What the fuck?

I slowed and examined the cake from my bike. It was close to 9:00, I hadn't eaten dinner yet and I was getting pretty hungry. That cake looked like a gift, and I certainly don't give a shit if my frosting is on the top or the bottom of the cake. Of course, I prefer cookies to cake, but life doesn't always hand you a cookie. Sometimes it's a fucking cake.

Sometimes people try to kill me. I mean strangers who don't even know me. Here are two examples, but I have more.

One evening I was riding on my street a couple of blocks from home when a guy suddenly opened his car door. I was giving myself enough space just in case such a thing should happen, but the funny thing this time is that the car was running. And the guy wasn't getting out. Not even his foot was out.

I hit my brakes and slowly passed him. When I looked down into his face, he looked .... I don't know. Busted. After I rode by, he closed his car door and stayed in the car

I think he did it on purpose. A friend said maybe he was going to steal my bike. I don't know. Some people are just mean, like it or not.

Monday I got the walk sign at a stoplight. I was just about to ride into the intersection when a man came to a swift stop in the walkway right in front of me. I hit my brakes and stopped inches from his passenger door. He was on the phone and was looking to the left. I waited. He didn't look to the right where I was .... inches from his door.

His 3 kids did though. They were laughing about him almost hitting me.

Finally, as the time on my light was running out, a guy in the next lane honked at the asshole and yelled and pointed. He took the phone from his ear and said, "What?" He still didn't look to the right of his car. The guy pointed and gestured toward me, and finally he looked.

Then he said, "What?" to me.

Fucking idiot.

I said, "You might as well go ahead and turn. I already missed the light."

He still didn't get it. His kids did though. They thought it was hilarious. I guess they didn't realize if his driving was unsafe for me, they weren't safe either.

He went back to his phone conversation and turned the corner. I think he still didn't know he'd been seconds from running over me. I had to wait for the next light.

Several times I've seen couples riding together -- a man and a woman. And they're wearing matching shirts. Not ever the same couple, but the shirts are always red. No logos.

Who does that?


  1. First: Exercise makes the body produce endorphins, quitting to exercise will cause endorphin withdraw, so technically we are both addicts :D And frankly, I turn raging if I don't get to ride for a couple of days, just ask anybody around me.
    Second: You know, the geese never really hiss at my when I am on my commuter. I think they hate spandex as much as car drivers (who are also a lot nicer if I wear regular clothes - it's called the Mary Poppins Effect).
    Third: I SAW THE CAKE AS WELL!!! I thought, "Someone has a very sad evening, because there is no cake."
    Fourth: The interaction with the driver didn't happen to be on Patterson and Stewart, did it? One day I will die in that intersection. I had a driver make an emergency stop, when he saw me, then he apologized. Then, as I was about to ride off, he cut me off a second time and drove away. I was unaware that apologizing for almost running me over gives someone the right of way... I might have to try that some time.
    And yea, people thinking that it's hilarious that they almost hit you, that's a WHOLE different ball of goose poop. I bet they will keep laughing if they get charged with vehicular homicide.
    I asked for bike mountable cameras for my birthday :D

    1. One more thing: I don't buy red jerseys for THAT reason... I don't know what's up with that.
      The guy in the Bicycling Magazine ad wears one as well, and so does the guy in this video (I assume you don't object to language).

    2. First, yes, riding a bike releases endorphins kind of like sex. Only I actually ride a bike.
      Second, I'll have to try a ride in street clothes and see if the geese like me better. I don't trust the drivers no matter what I wear.
      Third: I can't believe you saw the CAKE too! And I can't believe somebody just left it there. It was still good.
      Fourth: YES! It was Stewart and Patterson. Although 4th and Edwin C can be pretty hairy too.

      Finally, I love love love that video. I'm going to post it on Facebook. I laughed so hard. I want to blast it from my bike as I'm riding along .... I'm on my motherfuckin' bike ....

    3. It's my ring tone whenever I get a text :D Makes for great faces in meetings :D