Thursday, January 18, 2007

Making More Enemies

The ride home started well enough. A strong southerly wind and temperatures in the high 20s. The roads were still a little moist but not enough to make my bike ride dicey. The southerly wind probably gave my average speed an additional 2 mph.

Not many people biking tonight on the Lakefront Trail; maybe two or three tops and none heading north. Passing Navy Pier I was hoping the turn at Oak Street Beach would be clear. I could see up ahead that there were a few runners on the path so I decided to chance it rather than cross under at Ohio Street. If I found it was too treacherous to ride I could always walk my bike or absent that, turn around. Fortunately it was pretty clear although I had to ride up closer to the wall. I also took it slow because it was kind of a blind corner.

The downhill section just south of Fullerton where I wiped out was now heavily salted and clear. I felt very fortunate the Chicago Park District pays as much attention to clearing snow from the Lakefront Trail as they do to the city streets. One thing they could improve is the surface of the trail between Addison and Belmont. I counted about 25 really annoying and bone jarring bumps in the asphalt. I suppose if the rest of the trail wasn't so smooth I probalby wouldn't notice it.

The bike ride was generally pleasant considering it was below freezing and the roads were a bit wet. But while I was stopped at the intersection of Chicago and Church in Evanston, a guy on a hybrid or a slick tired mountain bike pulls up beside me. I looked over to say hi thinking he might do the same. But he just ignores me and eases through the intersection. I didn't really take offense; some people just aren't social. But being passed by another biker just brings out the adrenaline in me. Pass me on a bike and, as I've mentioned before, I'm like a dog chasing cars. It wasn't like I wanted to get into a race with the guy. I just wanted to keep up.

Without getting into the minute details, we apparently share the same route from Chicago through Sherman and he slowed in some areas while I chose to maintain my speed. On a straightaway he seemed to have much more gas. But in traffic he was slowing in places that I chose to just blow through. In retrospect I was probably too aggressive. But he also didn't have a problem zooming by me either. Each time we passed I'd give off some type friendly gesture. In response he eventually shouted I was an accident waiting to happen. Whoa. Then when he was in front of me again he said I should do my own work, implying I was drafting off him. At that point I'm thinking that if he didn't want me following right behind him, he shouldn't have pulled in front of me in the logical lane of bike traffic. He turned off at Colfax and I bid him good night. But I'd really done it this time. How did my attempt at bike commuter camaraderie gone so terribly bad? I didn't think I was biking like a maniac. And it wasn't like he was a shining example of bike safety either. Oh well. I should pay more attention to those not so subtle clues that I'm invading someone elses space.

I was glad to get home and hose the salt and grime off my bike.

Distance Traveled: 24.3 miles
Distance to date: 1681.4 miles
Price of gas: $2.46


SueJ said...

Hmmm... James Rockford said somebody said, "When ten people tell you you are drunk, you should go lie down."
Maybe you've run into two grumpy people, but I'd be thinkin' about why I was getting those responses. Could just be that's the "prevalent culture," but you could be crossing an unpredictability threshold of some sort.
I, too, can suffer from what we call "Shrinking Butt Syndrome." Something about the acceleration into the distance of another biker's backside that activates the pedal strokes :)

edgewater_roadie said...

The annoying stretch of the LFT north of Belmont to Recreation Drive (Addison) was scheduled to be replaced last fall, but has been delayed until Spring. Same for the Lawrence to Foster section.

I find it helps to take my hands off the handlbars over those ruts in the pavement.

I was at the bike to work rally at 7 when your group of 11 or so came in.

Steve said...

SueJ, I definitely think I need to adjust my behavior.

ER, Where did you hear of the planned improvements? I never noticed a problem with the Lawrence to Foster section.

edgewater_roadie said...


CBF monitors the LFT conditions and passes along our comments to the Park District. It's a great service. I talked with Randy Warren at the rally and thanked him for his efforts that have improved the trail. He's also the guy that painted all of the trail hazards with yellow paint.

Check it out!

Steve said...

Thanks for the link.

Was Randy the gentleman managing the clipboards with the CBF raffle entries?

edgewater_roadie said...

Randy had the U of Michigan cap. He was standing north of the table when I talked to him.