Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Hey, it's called a hand signal

I rode to work everyday last week.  No small feat given that monday through wednesday all had high temps below 20 degrees in the morning portion of my commute.  I discovered that below 17 degrees really requires a kitchen sink approach to clothing, i.e. wear everything you own that is warm.  It was great riding a dedicated commuter bike in my work clothes and regular shoes.  I spent some time on monday fabricating some mounting hardware for my panniers so that they could be mounted to the Haul.  For all of the obvious care and attention that Specialized put into designing the new Globe line,  little things like the rack tubing diameter being larger than a standard pannier mount leave me scratching my head a bit, but no worries, about 5 minutes worth of fabrication time and I'm all set.

I've been riding a couple of different routes to and from school.  I expect a certain amount of incredulousness on the part of the car-obsessed teenagers that I teach, but the inattentiveness of some drivers is a little over the top.  A colleague pointed out to me that I ride into school which is a nexus of inexperienced and inattentive texting-while-driving teenage drivers.  When you put it that way, it seems unsafe, but the reality isn't that bad.  My worst problems are occurring when I try to turn onto the greenway on Powell Ave.

As I approach the entrance to the greenway, I move into the center of my lane, left arm extended in the recognized "left turn" signal configuration.  I squeeze the rear brake (left signal still in effect, mind you) and slow down as I approach the very large speed table in the road that marks the greenway crossing.  Just as I begin to initiate my turn, a car will accelerate around me to make a pass.  This has happened 3 times, with 3 different drivers!  Have they changed the rules on me since last I was at the DMV?

All in all, I would rather ride my bike than drive my car.  I don't know why, I just know that's how I feel.  I've decided to sell my car and do without one for this year as an experiment in simple living.  Sure, we still have a car, but I want to be a one car household rather than the 2+ car household standard.  I think it is pretty doable and it will give me something else to talk about with all of the people I work with who already question my sanity.
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