A matter of course

Today was an interesting bike day.

In the morning, I had a bike-car contact moment when a guy stopped suddenly in front of me (someone had stopped suddenly in front of him). I had a moment to think “Huh. My brakes aren’t going to stop me in time. Whoops, I just hit him.” Fortunately it was just a firm but not fast contact of my front tire against his rear bumper, since I was only going a few inches per second. I lost my balance, but, not being clipped in at the time, was able to recover myself without actually falling over, although the bike fell almost all the way over under me. (When it has my bag on it, stopping it from falling over once it unbalances is challenging.) The only bad effect is a small bruise on my left shin from the pedal. Fortunately. It left me shaken and was a good reminder not to follow too closely and always be prepared to stop. Also, to not generally clip in in a hurry when at an intersection. (Despite the potential hazards of the clipping, I would have been more injured had I had standard pedals, because standard pedals have more sharp edges.)

The next interesting moment was when my constant paranoia at the right-turn that I had my first accident at paid off and I only had to slow a bit to make sure people were done turning before I got near. I always think my paranoia there is excessive, but occasionally it pays off. I have a general parannoia about right-hooks, and staying alert for that does seem to help generally. There were a couple of other situations on the way back where awareness kept me to the left of a person trying to turn irght.

I also had an epiphany about riding all the way to and from work. I’ve done it every so often for a while, but it’s actually taken me a pretty long time to really get the hang of the route to the point where I always have a feel for what’s coming next, how long it is, how to pace myself, how to handle the tricky spots best. It didn’t take me so long to get the hang of the route from the train station because it’s shorter and I was riding it nearly every day, so I didn’t expect it to take so long with this route. But now that I’ve got it, I feel more comfortable with the idea of doing it a lot. Today we finished our conference call at work about 15 minutes too late for me to catch the first evening local train, so I figured, you know, it’s going to take the same amount of time, why don’t I just ride. So I did, and it was pleasant, though there are always annoying bits (often other cyclists, I’m sad to say). I guess this is part of the process of becoming hardcore and just riding everywhere all the time like some of the awesome people I know. You just get used to it and do it, and not only does 10 or 20 miles not seem like a long way for a fun ride, it doesn’t even seem like a long way for an everyday ride. Also, I prefer it after rush hour is over. It makes the situation at Middlefield and San Antonio a lot less stressful.

I do really need to take care of this handlebar thing, though. I just can’t get comfortable on the Salsa handlebars even now that I’m used to them. It turns out they’re actually a bit deeper and have a greater drop than the Bontragers, even though I described the opposite case when I first looked at them. Anyone got a suggestion on finding a 60-65 mm (very short) stem with a 31.8mm clamp and a 15 degree rise? At a reasonable price, of course…

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