Monday, March 5, 2012

Wednesday's adventure was named "Chafed Makes a Mistake"

Wednesday past I roll out of work and pedal towards home.  I like my home and I'm always excited about bicycling towards it but the wind has been picking up around here (a seasonal thing) and I am not at my fastest.  When I am not going very fast I think of it as "clip-clopping."  I'm old enough that I do not mind the occasional clip-clop.  I'm also young enough (or stupid enough, your choice) that when I spot a bicyclist up ahead I try and catch up, and if I catch up I try and pass them, and if I pass them I try and put some distance down and if I manage that then I look around for the next bicycle to chase.  Possibly this is an indicator that I was a Golden Retriever in a past life.  Possibly not though as I've never grabbed a bicyclist and carried him home in my teeth hile trying to not damage his advertisement covered spandex-lycra blend plumage.

So Wednesday I see a bicyclist up ahead.  I take off.  Fighting the wind and the cars and some unfortunate traffic light timing I finally manage to draw even with the other bicyclist and then (ta-da!) get around the other bicyclist who may very well not appreciate that he was competing in a pedal-powered 2-wheeled Indy 500.  Now I'm hauling down East Meadow and I need to turn right onto Bryant.  Because of the speed at which I'm travelling and because I am not a very sophisticated bicyclist and because there are more cars than usual parked on both sides of Bryant and the road is somewhat narrower than usual...because of all these things...I make that right turn way too wide and at not quite the last moment encounter a bicyclist heading in the other direction.

I have time for a short look at that bicyclist's mouth which is in the shape of a lowercase o.  The good news is that his mouth is not in the shape of a capital letter O because that is the shape of ohmigodiamgoingtoDIE!  Still.  I should have been slower and I should have been entirely on my side of the road.  I  say, "I'm sorry" as  we pass each other and his mouth loses some of it's o shape and we both get on with our respective journeys.


  1. I'm 64yrs of age and I still have to reel other cyclists in and then pass them putting some distance between us......the younger they are the better.
    You don't have to be young to play that game so I suppose that does make us stupid...!!!


  2. Racing other commuters is one of the great pleasures in life. Maybe I look silly, I mean I'm just commuting. On the other hand I've made friends and I hurt no one. I think it's the kind of silliness that can keep a person feeling youthful.

    Also, I bet you'd totally smoke me!

  3. My variation is pacing rather than racing, where I try to stay on my pace regardless of other cyclists. This is a moderate pace faster than many but not at workout speed, so I do get passed by some, mainly road cyclists in full workout mode, some of whom leave me in the dust. But the most rewarding aspect of pacing is that I often catch and pass them, just by staying on my pace, and grinding them down with the miles. And I'm heard to mutter "'s not a sprint, five more to go..."

  4. I will be old indeed when I stop chasing other commuters like this. The only question is whether said tendency stops me getting old. While I do stop at red lights and do all the sensible stuff, undertaking such a race can distract one from being entirely sensible.

    It remains my proudest sporting achievement to date that, during the 2008 Olympics, when British track cyclists were dominating competition in Beijing, I hared for several miles down Brixton Road near my house ahead of a chasing cyclist. When he eventually met me at lights near my house, he said: "Have you ever been down Herne Hill velodrome? You should. You've got a turn of speed." Since he'd kept up, I said: "I could say the same about you." "But I had your wind," he replied. My British modesty could only mumble.

    That, ladies and gentlemen, happened less than four years ago, so is definitely still worth bragging about.

    It's a good idea, incidentally, to ride what we in Britain call a tourer. It's got a good speed - but leaves you with an excuse if the guys on the carbon road bikes overtake you. I mean, it's not built for racing, is it?