Wednesday, August 5, 2009

I take the lane

Every day, as I ride up and down the city, my brain moves along its own route collecting all sorts of scrap thoughts. Some of them stick and become this blog, and others just slide away.

On my way to work - the down part of the daily journey - I saw:
• Construction on practically every single street I rode on. Either road work, or reno work, or total new construction from an old house being knocked down and a new one going up. If you want to live in fancy Forest Hill, you'd better realize you're moving into a dusty, noisy, road-blocky-offy - albeit leafy and expensive - enclave.

• A whole lot of garbage and recycling trucks now that the strike is over. I know everyone's glad to see them, but man, it sure was nice not having them out on the road. Tho cement trucks and extra-wide yard service trucks terrify me the most.

On my way home - the up segment - I saw:
• A "State Police" car, parked next to a couple of pilons. This little block in the university campus is used for movie shoots all time. Why this block so often? Dunno.

• A woman sitting in the driver's seat of a Porsche Carrera. Think about it. How many times have you seen a woman sitting in the driver's seat of such a vehicle? To add to the spectacle, she was talking on a cell phone.

• I also passed three or four other cyclists. Usually people are passing me, but clearly, I'm becoming a bone fide road warrior.

Speaking of my becoming a road warrior, something I've discovered en route home is the best way to turn left at a particular intersection that was driving me nuts: take the lane. There are times to be timid and times to be bold, and at this intersection, you have to just be entitled, be a vehicle and do it. There's an advanced green, which is nice and long, and I've tried every other way to turn left - walking the crosswalks (interminable), riding across the crosswalks (unsafe), using the crosswalk to sneak in front of the front car in the left lane (stupid and obnoxious), hanging out to the right of the front car in the left lane and signalling lamely (stupid and unsafe cuz the car behind may be planning to zoom past you meekly trying to turn left), and hanging out too far to the left at the front of the left lane (the next car will sit unsafely beside you, only to almost run you down as it turns left also).

So the past two days, I've boldly taken the lane, and it feels like the absolute safest way to do it. I signal boldly, I'm geared down so I can take off quickly when the light changes, and I've been wearing a bright orange shirt. Always a good cycling policy.

Here's a cool website I picked up from reading a very cool blog called Road Warrior (OMG! I thought I was the R.W.), anyway, he points to a site that has a whole bunch of gorgeous photos from the Tour de France by Brent Humphreys. Here's just one:

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