Thursday, May 05, 2005

bike commuting an extreme sport

This blog has not even existed a week yet, and already I feel I don't have enough to say.

It's been a good week of bike commuting, 3 days so far, and with National Clean Commute Day tomorrow, I guess I better bike in tomorrow too. The weather has been dry, sunny, and cool. This morning, at the road crossing where my trail crosses busy Route 29 in Centreville, I had to wait much longer than I usually do. So, I rode circles on the shoulder waiting for the busier eastbound lanes to clear. Then I made my way out into the dirt trail which crosses the skinny median, and did a trackstand ("balancing", for the non-bikers reading this) waiting for 2 cars and a dumptruck to go by. The cars in this direction are going much faster than those in the eastbound commuting direction. The dumptruck went by at about 45-50 mph, a bike-length away from me. After making it safely to the other side and back on the trail, I wondered if this was a smart move, to wait out in the median like that? I've made several changes for safety on my commute over the years, especially after Oliver was born, but I still hang out in the median. I'm putting an awful lot of trust (and luck) in the hands of drivers, because in that median, I have nowhere to go if something goes wrong.

I wish that an inherent risk of death were not a part of cycling. Bicycling should not be an "extreme sport". I mean, I'm not BASE jumping, riding 60' surf, or skiing down Mount Everest. I'm just riding a bike! Sometimes that happens to be on roads made for cars and trucks.

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