27 June 2011

Bike-commute day 43—to work

Monday, 27 June 2011.

So is that person ahead walking toward me or away? I wondered as I crossed the Monument Avenue bridge this morning. As I approached, I could tell her direction and called out loudly "On your right" from about 100 feet away. No sign of hearing me. Then again, less of a loud call, from 50 feet. Still no sign. Then louder than conversationally, my outdoor voice, from 15 feet, "On your right." She looked to her left, pivoted almost 270 degrees before she saw me. And jumped at the surprise of a passing cyclist.

Was she wearing earbuds? I don't think so. Was she in her own world? I think clearly yes. Should I have given my shrill whistle instead of calling out from 100 feet away? Perhaps, but on a sidewalk along a roadway, I think a whistle is threatening instead of warning. And it provides no detail, just an approaching presence. Especially on streets and sidwalk crossings, a voice warning is better. I think.

On the bikeway, though, I tend to announce my approach first with a whistle from about 500 feet, a tenth of a mile. If the pedestrian (or cyclist) gives no acknowledgement, I whistle again at about 250 feet. Then it's verbal information if necessary. These biekway users who need two, three, four announcements of my approach are frequently the ones who turn to the left when I call out, "On your right!" What gives with the confusion of left and right, I wonder?

When I pass a walker with earbuds, I wonder how safe they think they are, shutting out contact with others on the way. Drowning out all traffic noise, too. And ignoring nature.

I have no patience at all with cyclists who do the same. Too much can happen in the quick traverse of 18 feet per second (12 mph). When I pass a cyclist who's obliterating his aural connection with the road, I have a strong desire to yank the buds out of their place. But I exercise restraint. And enjoy watching them jerk to attentiveness as I pass, after they had several audible signals of my approach. Audible to everyone but them.

I've been seeing more of the tandem cyclists, the father and daughter Gary and Amy, in the last couple weeks. Today I saw them in Eastwood Park, riding toward downtown. I hope I soon see them riding the same direction, so we can catch up on what's happened since we talked last year. Last year, Gary proudly announced as they passed me the number of consecutive riding days they had reached. He hasn't done that yet this year. Maybe he's saving up for some record number to announce.

At Airway Road, I let two cars from the east pass the crossing before I moved to the island. A car from the west, though she had 300 feet of approach, whizzed on through the crossing without a hesitation. Her license plate reads EQN 8226, for those of you who can check the Ohio vehicle registrations online.

As I crossed Linden Avenue, I saw Gledys & Millie coming toward me on their morning constitutional, and I greeted them with "Happy Monday" as I rode by.
The weather forecast for today gives a 50% chance of rain today. Based on the radar animations, the day will have a period of light to heavy rain from 10:45 through 13:00, followed by about 2:15 of no rain, and an evening of moderate to heavy rain. I'll either call Chuck to pick me up in time for getting to the film or actually leave work early enough to arrive home before the second line of heavy rain arrives—it's too early now to predict from the radar, but possibly as early as 15:30 or as late as 17:30.

Ride conditions
Temperature: 60 to 63°F at 07:15
Precipitation: none
Winds: calm to 5 mph from the southwest
Clothing: Skinsuit, ankle socks, open-finger gloves.
Bike: Lotus Legend fixed gear
Time:  00:42:31 for 11.98 miles
Heart rate: 133 bpm HRave, 153 bpm HRmax
Bikeway users: 4 cyclists, 18 pedestrians
Here is a playback of the ride.

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