Various observations regarding biking

Committing to foolishness

In my continuing effort to see the weight reading on the scale descend consistently, I have committed to a fairly stupid commute by bicycle, a journey of 17.5 miles.  Each way.  Five days a week.

I have not yet done five days, but I have done four in a row, and am getting there.

A few observations:

World’s worst crossing guard

At an X intersection in Roslindale I saw a crossing guard help a fourth grade child across the street by the employing the following technique: standing on the sidewalk and shouting, “COME ON, HURRY UP!”  The target of this advice was at the opposite corner on the diagonal, meaning she would have had to cross– alone– through the only part of the intersection without a crosswalk.  And the light for the main street (Washington Street) had just turned green.

Leapfrog with city buses

Buses and bikes probably shouldn’t share a common street.  They basically travel the same average speed because while the bus can drive faster, it has to stop every two or three blocks.  This means I sometimes go three or four miles playing leapfrog, where I pass the bus at a stop, it passes me a block down the road giving me time to catch up and pass it again.

An unfortunate variable is the double bus.  Some maniac in the mass transit system got the genius idea to take the front off one bus and shove it into the back of another bus.  It’s impossible to tell if you’re being passed by one of these until the second half goes by you.  Since biking in the city is all about timing and anticipating the motion of the much larger vehicles around you, not knowing you’re dealing with a bus that looks like it came out of the movie Inception can be problematic.

Turkeys would make excellent crossing guards

At the same intersection in Dedham on two different mornings I saw traffic stopped by a wild turkey that stood in front of the lead car and stared at the grille for the entire light cycle before eventually wandering off to the side of the road.

Hell is other bikers

The Boston area is introducing a bike share program in the next year, and if you’re a driver in Boston and find this notion terrifying, well, it’s just as terrifying for those of us already on bikes.  Last week I saw a woman on a touring bike with one hand on the handlebars and the other holding the cell phone up to her ear as she had an animated conversation about something that was clearly more important than her impending demise, which nearly happened twice in four city blocks.

At one intersection I came to a stop at a red light, in the crosswalk.  (I was on the right side of a four lane road.  I stopped there so cars turning right could still do so behind me.)  She reached the intersection and stopped, reluctantly, a full bike length past me.  Oncoming traffic– a large bus– had to honk at her to get her to back the hell up so they could go.

Imagine this girl (who is probably dead now) multiplied by 1,000.  And imagine half of them doing the other deeply annoying thing I’ve seen from my fellow bikers: going along the wrong side of the road.

I’m so not looking forward to this.

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