Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Fun in the Sun!

Ok, I admit it. I've been a Bad Blogger. I mean, when you keep a blog, people expect somewhat regular postings. All I can say is that I've been positively giddy with the sunshine the last couple of days. The sun has warmed us up to the mid to upper 60's(F). It's been a while since I've ridden in warm air and I'm out grooving on it while the Weather Gods smile benignly on us. The rain's coming back tonight.

In my defense, I've been shopping for a new camera to replace the one victimized by the squabbling squirrels. I'm also working on a "meatier" posting which is taking longer to compose than I counted on. Stay tuned for that in the next couple of days.

At long last I'm seeing a fair number of bikes on the road. Nobody really regularly but there's a variety of riders out now. Yesterday afternoon I started noticing that the "big bikes" were out in increasing numbers. The Goldwings and large touring bikes are getting dusted off in preparation for the coming riding season. The really cool thing is that EVERYONE seems to be trading friendly waves. Once the joy of the initial riding wears off I'm sure the segregration will return. For now, the riders are just so happy to be back on the bike in the sun that they're sharing the joy with anyone on two wheels. I even saw a guy on a Harley V-Rod wave at an old guy on a bright yellow scooter! Is that weird, or what?

Yesterday morning I rode out on an errand. There were a couple of motor officers working a short freeway that connects the East and West parts of the Metropolis here. One of the officers was in a short sleeved shirt with no jacket. The first thing that came to my mind really illustrates the difference between your average motorist and a two-wheeled commuter.

Where most people's first reaction is to get nervous and slow down, my first thought was that the officer must be pretty chilled with no jacket! The sun was out but there was still quite a chill factor. It's true, you just start thinking differently when you ride.

Today at lunch I had a couple of experiences with nearly getting rear-ended. Once was while I was turning into a gas station. By the way, I paid three dollars and a penny for premium today. Gulp! Although I'm told that in Southern California it's $4.15. Glad I'm on a bike. Anyway, back to the story. I always use my signals and flash my brake light to alert cars behind me. A big Mercury Marquis was behind me. I always watch my mirrors. The car's not looking like it's slowing down and I'm ready to abort the turn and get out of the way. All of a sudden I see the front end of the car dive abruptly. Guess they finally woke up.

After fueling I went downtown to get a new Oregon map from the Highway Dept.'s office. Then I needed to stop at a department store back by the gas station. This time I almost got squashed by a school bus! When I got to the store parking lot I seriously figured my lights were out or something. No, everything checked out fine. One time I was heading East and the other I was heading North so the sun wasn't a factor. How do you miss the bright yellow/green retroflective vest? I usually wear the Hi-Viz 'stich but had the vest today with a different jacket. I THOUGHT I was conspicuous.

Just goes to show you can never take anything for granted. Each thing you might do to be seen or to deal with traffic is just one tool. You can never rely on just one thing no matter how cool you think it is. There's no "magic bullets" out there for two-wheeled commuters. Stay sharp and stay tuned for the big post.

Miles and smiles,

Dan

2 comments:

Steve Williams said...

I've been a bad blogger too. Warm weather riding, work, and my upcoming exhibition just have distracted me...

All the riders seem to be in a good mood these days. Big storm coming, we'll see how things go when the rain starts coming down.

steve

irondad said...

Steve,
Are you going to have any of your exhibition on-line anywhere? Love your photos but don't want to ride to PA, no offense intended!