Thursday, 3 March 2011

You Take What You Can Get!

Today was the first time in two months that I went on what can even remotely be described as a "recreational" ride. Having finished my errands, I continued onto the Charles River trail for a half hour - then turned around and rode back. The wind was brutal and the temperature around 30°, but the trail was finally free of snow and I couldn't resist it despite my continually running nose. 

It felt weird to cycle "for no reason" after not having done it for so long! I kept thinking "wait, where am I going again?" before remembering that I wasn't headed anywhere in particular. But I'm sure I'll get used to it soon.

The Charles River trail now has less snow on it than the roads do - which is odd, because I didn't think they'd even plowed it all winter. Maybe it's warmer next to the river.  As for the roads, the snow has mostly melted - but hardened snowbanks still pop up when you least expect them, making transportation cycling like an obstacle course that requires constant merging in and out of traffic. I keep looking out the window and hoping that finally, today cycling will be normal again. But it isn't quite there yet. You take what you can get.

On the road, I had a conversation with a motorist at an intersection that I've had several times before (not with the same motorist, mind you). The light had just turned red and the driver began signaling a right turn. Since I was already on his right, I positioned myself slightly ahead of him and waited for the light to change.
Driver (good-naturedly): You trying to race me, hon? I'm pretty sure I'll win!
Me: What?... Oh. No, I'm trying to make sure that you see me and we don't collide when you turn right. If I'm further back you might not see me.
Driver: Huh?  (thinks about it for a moment) Oooooh. Huh! Okay, that makes sense. And I've been wondering why you guys do that.
For me, these kinds of interactions confirm what I intuitively suspect: Some of the safety maneuvers that cyclists take for granted as being logical and inherently understood by both parties involved, in fact often aren't. So here was this motorist, apparently wondering for God-knows-how-long why the heck all these cyclists need to make it a point of stopping slightly in front of him at intersections, and the reason simply never occurred to him until I explained it. And no, I don't think he was teasing me by pretending not to understand. Still, at least he was friendly and from now on he'll know. You take what you can get!


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