It’s Wednesday, so let’s drive like idiots
My commute to Yellow Bike this afternoon was fraught with bizarre motorist behavior. It started less than a mile from the house. My legs were barely warmed up. I was enjoying the delightfully humid air and the stiff breeze out of the southeast. A pickup truck decided that he could turn right onto a side street in front of me. I had scanned back as I approached the intersection so I saw his blinker. He barely turned with enough clearance and that mostly because I slowed a little. He completely misjudged my speed and hit the gas going into the turn. His turn radius was wider than normal and his hurry up took him into the opposing left turn lane of the cross street. Fortunately it was empty.
Then I’m bombing down Metric where it crossed Walnut Creek. The lane narrows because of the bridge and the bike lane disappears. I was controlling the lane with a position very near the center of the lane. The driver of a small compact car decided he didn’t need to change lanes to go around me and squeezed by me in my lane. Obviously hasn’t heard about the 3 foot passing ordinance here in Austin.
On Parkfield there was the postal delivery dude driving from mailbox to mailbox. This street has the dreaded door zone bike lane. He was driving in the parking lane between the bike lane and the curb. Of course as I began to pass him he started to move to the next box and just then a car passed both of us. This prevented me from giving him a wide birth and I’m pretty sure he didn’t see me. Fortunately it worked out as he stayed in the parking lane.
The always popular passive/aggressive behavior of diesel pick up trucks. Drivers decided it’s really funny to gun the engine as they pass, releasing a nice cloud of black particulates and noxious gases. One on Duval and one on North Loop. Fortunately my chemical warfare training kicked in both times and I stopped breathing as I passed through the cloud. Such a treat.
There was the lady-on-cell-phone-in-SUV trick on 51st. She decided that her right wheels needed to be halfway into the bike lane as she as queued up at the stop light at Lamar. This is particularly narrow bike lane anyway and she had sizable mirror sticking out. I resisted the temptations to break it off as I passed by.
The final clown was the pizza delivery guy at 51st and Old Manor. Pulled partially into a driveway but blocked the bike lane with the rear third of his car. 51st was very busy and I didn’t have a gap to get into the regular lane to go around. I had to slow down and wait to time my pass. He got out of his car just as I passed so I shared my opinion of his prowess and skill. I got the nobody-home-blank-look. Which is encouraging. This means the economy has recovered enough that even the complete dolts can get jobs.
Several times during the day I was passed by squads and platoons of white SUVs and cross overs. Did I miss the announcement about this being white SUV day? Very disturbing, particularly the string of 10 that passed me on Duval. Kinda freaky.
Although I’m wondering if my t-shirt was making drivers crazy.
I fight for the users
I arrived at the shop in one piece and in a relatively calm mood. Cycling can have that effect despite the clown act that is Austin traffic. I got to the shop early to do some anti-entropy tasks. I went through the scrap tires and bundled them for recycle. I also attempted to organize the scrap tubes. I would like to keep them as they have multiple uses even when they no longer provide pneumatic support.
It was a fun shop. Busy but not frenetic. Mostly volunteers with a few people working on their own bikes. We sold a couple bikes and had multiple inquires about earn-a-bike. Even met some people that may work toward collective membership. Which would be awesome as we can always use more shop coordinators.
I learned a neat trick to reassembling coaster brakes hubs. I’ve always fumbled a little demonstrating. A fellow coordinator showed it to one of our volunteers as I looked on. Always a successful shop when I learn something.
old man’s about to knock on the sky and listen to the sound
I found my zen returning on the trip home. Much less traffic. Nothing very frenetic. A nice tailwind. Good tunes in the earbuds. Smooth enjoyable ride.
Although I felt a twinge of paranoia as I turned onto my street. Jim Morrison started singing.
This is the end
This is the end
My only friend, the end
Of our elaborate plans, the end
Of everything that stands, the end
No safety or surprise, the end
I swear my iPhone has a mind of it’s own. The shuffle mode on iTunes cannot be random.