Checking the Genesee Wanderer’s web page I saw something that piqued my interest, they have a 100k (50 out and 50 back) planned for September 15th on the Pere-Marquette rail trail starting in Midland with a lunch stop in Clare. I originally read it improperly and thought it was 62 out and 62 back and got all fired up about doing a 200k – so that’s what I’m going to do.
The ride starts at the Tridge in Midland and goes out and back from there. Unlike the other riders though, I’ll continue on beyond Clare on the Pere-Marquette State Trail until I hit 62.4 then head back – call it a prep ride for next year’s ride across Michigan (145 miles) – which I may or may not do. It’s the day before the Assenmacher 100 so if I do, it’ll be a good prep for the DALMAC… 245 miles in 2 days…
Fortunately, Mrs. BDJ will be camping with my mother-in-law for a girl’s camping excursion that weekend so I’ll have plenty of time – and nowhere better to be. I’ve had the Pere-Marquette trail in my sights since last summer, I literally can’t wait. Now all I have to do is see if I can enlist a few of the other guys to do the longer ride, though if I can’t I’ll be just fine by my lonesome.
Where to begin with this story, and lessons abound… This is going to be messy – I can see it now. First, this is why cyclists get a bad rap. I’ll do the reporting that the reporters were either too lazy, or inept to do in the first place. Here are the facts as reported:
The cyclist was riding either on or near Telegraph and Northline Roads in Taylor, Michigan – Telegraph, a road that only a complete idiot would try to cycle on or across, especially at speed – having done a fair amount of business in that area and being an avid cyclist myself, I know what the hell I’m talking about. According to reports, and they’re leaving out a bunch of pertinent facts as reports normally do, the cyclist was going straight and a pickup truck turned right – in front of him. According to an eye-witness, the cyclist “ignored a ‘do not cross’ pedestrian sign”. The cyclist, after hitting the pickup, got up and began beating on the driver through the driver side window – he punched the driver upwards of seven times before the driver pulled a legally carried pistol and shot the assailant who later died in surgery. The driver waited on the scene for police to arrive.
So, here’s what they’re missing – and I’ll get to the National AP Report, another report entirely that seemingly purposely misinforms its readers of what happened – because one can’t piece together what actually happened based on the shoddy reporting:
Under every circumstance that I can think of, the cyclist was at fault for the accident. That’s right, way I read this (having not been there, but knowing how to ride the roads) the accident was the cyclist’s fault. All corners of both roads have sidewalks and dedicated right turn only lanes – “dedicated” for the purpose of this post, means if you are in that lane, you must turn right. There are three possible scenarios here. The cyclist was riding on the sidewalk and blew through the pedestrian light – he was foolishly applying road rules to the sidewalk and blew through the pedestrian light hitting a legally turning truck. The second was that the cyclist was on the road, riding in the dedicated right turn lane and continued straight – into the side of the truck. Had the cyclist (who was obviously riding straight through the intersection) been in the proper lane (the right thru lane, not the right turn lane), he wouldn’t have been able to hit the truck. The third scenario has a shared culpability. The cyclist is riding in the right turn lane (the wrong lane) hoping to go straight through the intersection. The driver of the pickup truck overtakes the cyclist in the thru lane and turns right, in front of the cyclist causing the cyclist to run into him.
If you look at the image, the camera would be in the right lane of Northline heading west (I believe, the direction does not matter – the same rules apply for all four corners of the intersection – even though Telegraph is a Boulevard). You’ll see the black car making a right turn from the right turn lane, and ironically enough, a red pickup truck next to turn. In the second image of that same intersection, only facing East on Northline, you can see the marking on the road dedicating it a right turn only lane. So the facts are the facts – the cyclist messed up, and then beat the driver – SEVEN times because of the cyclist’s mistake, before the armed motorist, defending his life, shot the cyclist. It’s a God forsaken shame – meaning at some point in this altercation, God was left sitting on the curb instead of one of those two yahoos bringing him into it – but it is what it is. That cyclist is dead and there ain’t anything bringing him back. Without being there, if I had to make a judgement call with the information I have, I’d have to side with the driver of the pickup though. I would have to say, judging on the facts as presented, and taking into account what I know about that intersection, the cyclist beat an innocent man because of his own ignorance of bicycle safety. Did he deserve to be shot? That’s
a tough one…
Now, to the AP Story that I mentioned at the beginning of the post. Here it is in its entirety:
Police: Driver fatally shoots bicyclist in Mich.
TAYLOR, Mich. (AP) — Police say a motorist has fatally shot a bicyclist who caused a traffic accident in suburban Detroit by riding into the driver’s path.
Taylor police say the bicyclist died during surgery following the Wednesday night shooting and the 46-year-old motorist from Taylor was taken into custody.
Police say the pair began arguing after the bicyclist disregarded a “Do Not Cross” signal, causing the motorist to strike him. Witnesses told police the motorist pulled a pistol and fired one round at the bicyclist, striking him in the chest. The motorist stayed at the scene until police arrived.
The bicyclist was identified by police as a man, possibly in his late 30s to early 40s. The motorist was being held pending possible charges from prosecutors.
Now, this report follows the left/liberal narrative – What’s missing? As always (amazingly) is the case, the fact that the cyclist beat the hell out of the motorist before he was shot is completely left out of the story… So all the AP readers (all across the country) have is that a cyclist was shot for arguing with a motorist. This follows a narrative, the idea of which is that guns should not be carried by mere citizens of the United States, so to sway public opinion, any chance they can, they leave the reason for the use of a firearm out of the story. Don’t buy it? When’s the last time you ever heard of a national news story that went too far in justifying a shooting? I’ve never seen that, but you see hackery like this all the time.
I’ve been kicking around a new goal for 2013 after one of my new cycling buds from the Tuesday night club ride invited me to join them on this year’s ride the other day. It was too close to try this year (the ride starts this morning), but I’ve got plenty of time to get ready for next year.
I’m referring to the DALMAC (Dick Allen Lansing to Mackinaw Bicycle Tour)… It’ll be a challenge right up my alley – Four Centuries in four days – 404 miles. It’s a camping tour, so the accommodations are cheap, and the gear is toted from the start to the finish in semi’s… Unless Mrs. BDJ wants to bring the kids on a camping adventure to Mackinaw, which would be right up her alley – a road trip and four days of camping, in that case I’d have her SAG our stuff. I’ll be checking that out with her over the weekend to begin plans.
The group I would ride with averages 20 mph on the first and fourth day and 18 (give or take) on the two middle days. That won’t be a problem at all – I’m already in good enough shape to handle that (I think). The thing that really appeals to me with the ride is that it’s quite over-the-top. Four hundred miles in four days? Now that sounds like fun.
To put my short cycling career in perspective for folks who may be afflicted with the “I can’t do that” bug… After a decade of running to “not get fat” (slow – 8-9 minute miles I wasn’t some 6 minute marathoner), I started riding a year and two months ago because I wanted to do a Sprint Triathlon. Two weeks into training I realized I was in way too good a condition for a Sprint so I upped that to an Olympic length. Two months later I’d done two – on a mountain bike. Two months after that I had my first road bike and started upping the miles – riding every day. My longest ride last year was in the neighborhood of 35 miles. Four months after that I bought a used properly sized racing bike. I rode on a trainer in my office through the winter to maintain my fitness. In March I hit the ground as soon as the weather broke and the weather became warm enough to ride… My longest ride through March and into April was 35 miles. On April 29th I did my first Metric Century 63.3 miles, beating my 4 hour goal by a half an hour. I continued cycling every day, 16-35.5 miles until I did an 80 mile ride (technically 90 – I rode to and from the bike shop) on July 4th. Then this month I participated in my first Centuries and beat my time goal from January by more than an hour for each. I’m up to 50 miles on Saturdays, and 16-35 on Sunday and week days. I take at least one day off every two weeks, whether I need it or not. I’m not particularly strong, though I am driven when I find enjoyment in something (and I love cycling almost as much as breathing).
This may sound like a lot – it is – but riding like this doesn’t actually take a lot of time… 50 minutes to an hour and a half during the week and on Sunday and 2 to 2-1/2 hours on Saturdays. What’s 50 minutes out of 1,440? The answer is not, “I can’t do that”. The answer is to figure out how I can.
With the season at the mid-point (March to November or December depending on snow), I’ll continue with the daily cycling until it becomes too nasty and then I’ll get the trainer going in my office again through the winter. Next year will look a lot like this year with the exception of the DALMAC capper. I can’t wait.