Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Track Stand

A beautiful track stand is a butterfly balancing on the edge of a flower.  It is a Luna moth hovering in the twilight's gloaming.  The bicyclist hovers silently, paused in mid-flight as he or she waits for a pedestrian, a red light, or a Hummer III so wide as to be encompassing the entire bike lane.

I can't do it myself, damnit.  When the light turns red I unclip and put one foot on the ground and wait until I am again cleared for take-off.

Such is life.

The best track stand ever took place early one cold morning at the third traffic light of the Palo Alto trifecta.  This roadie-commmuter balanced on two wheels, frozen, poised, motionless, giant swirls of steam from a neighboring car rising around his pedals and eddying around his top bar.  Cue the power chords.  When the light turned green flights of angels swirled around his head and crowned him with laurel leaves.

Best track stands are not the norm.  Craptastic track stands are the norm.

Case in point would be the intersection by the Mountain View REI with Charleston running alongside.  Light turns red.  The pseudo-roadie wearing his spandex like a sausage wears an intestine sidles up.  A steady stream of cars who have, you know, a green light, are driving into the shopping center to his right.  He sortof gets into his track stand position but his bicycle creeps forward.  He wiggles like a three year old with crossed legs.  He oozes a little into the intersection.  The cars check their progress like nervous sheep being approached by an electric fence.  He staggers forward by inches until he is about 40% of the way into the intersection and the cars have to swerve into oncoming traffic to avoid him.

I see one of these drivers.  He looks pissed.

The light changes.  Pseudo-roadie's ears go forward like an intelligent Golden Retriever dog.  Unfortunately, if he biked by here more than once every three years he'd know that the next light is a green arrow for the other direction.  It's still red for him.  He's now progressed well into the middle of the road but lacks the cojones to actually go for it.  The cars drag their way around him as if he were a large rotting log caught in mid-stream.

At long last the light turns green and I exact my revenge.  I sweep by him, safely, on his left.  Dusted by a middle-aged mom on an off-rack bicycle.  Oh the humanity.

No comments:

Post a Comment