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Home » Cycling » Life on Two Wheels:  Thankfully I was paying Attention.  This was almost a VERY Different Title.

Life on Two Wheels:  Thankfully I was paying Attention.  This was almost a VERY Different Title.


So I was all fired up about taking my Venge out for a ride yesterday evening.  A few days from now, with the end of daylight savings time, my evening rides will be effectively over.  I’m quickly running out of days acceptable enough to ride the good bike.

My ride started out fantastically.  I was up shifting like a madman.  12, 14, 18 mph… 2o, then 22 where I settled down, into a mild breeze.  I’d have been struggling to hold 19 on the Trek – a decent set of wheels makes a big difference.

Heading north I came upon our roundabout.  My second favorite part of my ride because I’ve only had to slow down twice since they put it in and I can shoot through the intersection faster than cars can navigate the tight turns.  It’s a rare day I have an advantage over a car.

Entering the roundabout (shown in the photo coming back the other way):

I saw an older Impala coming toward me from the right.  I clearly had the right-of-way but I couldn’t see the driver’s face…  I have this crazy rule I live by; If I can’t see the driver’s face I assume they’re going to do something stupid.  Much to my chagrin, I sat up and slowed.

Sure enough, she didn’t even tap her brakes.  If I hadn’t been paying attention, or if I had assumed she would yeild, I’d be a grease spot a fire fighter would be sweeping off the concrete with the aid of a couple bottles of Coke.

I let my momentum carry me right up to within a few feet of her door and I yelled, “Hey!”  She jumped in her seat and quickly turned her head with a perfect “Oh, F***” expression on her face.  She was so zoned out, she didn’t even see me till I shouted.

My friends, riding under the assumption that everyone behind the wheel is an idiot won’t guarantee safety, but it’s saved my bacon more times that I care to recount.

I continued on with my ride, not even shaken.  The remainder was exceptional, glorious, and fast.  Coming through town on the way back I held north of 26 mph for two miles after having to stop momentarily for two stop lights.

I finished the 16 mile route, stops and all, in 48m:36s.  A 19.8 mph average.

While I could have made a big deal about the poor driving skills displayed by that young lady, or chosen to remain shaken by the event, the way I choose to ride made neither necessary or even reasonable.  All turned out well in the end.
With the exception of the 2o second altercation at the roundabout, the remaining 48:16 was absolutely wonderful.  I got my fast on and that had me smiling all night long.

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26 Comments

  1. unironedman says:

    Coke for clean-up? I’m sure the marketing manager for said brand would be delighted! I’ve certainly hosed a few roads down alright, but we’re old school in Ireland. We just use water…

    • bgddyjim says:

      It’s an oft-repeated myth in the US that police officers keep a couple of two liters in the Cruiser trunk for just such an occasion. Not a lot of factual basis but the beverage does wonders on blood stains.

  2. Excellent way to think – if you can’t see the driver’s face, assume they can’t see you and YOU take evasive maneuvers. Don’t just expect THEM to do it. In that game of chicken, the cyclist never wins.

  3. Gail says:

    A heart attack is not likely to kill me on my urban runs, but a distracted driver is a good and safe bet. I subscribe to your philosophy 100%. If I can’t see the drivers face, I assume idiocy. I have lectured many a driver (why are they always gum smacking, smart phone obsessed teenage girls OR ancient, yet lovable old men?) I only had to go unhinged once and slam my fists down on the hood of a car, but in my defense, Seamus O’Malley was with me and I was eating super clean at the time. I was a tad testy.

  4. Dan says:

    Like motorcycling, I assume I’m invisible. Eye contact is good too. When I have my sunglasses on, I turn my head toward them. Of course if the driver doesn’t look in the first place….. Good stuff Jim

  5. Bicyclosis says:

    “My friends, riding under the assumption that everyone behind the wheel is an idiot won’t guarantee safety, but it’s saved my bacon more times that I care to recount.”

    Wise words. It saved mine countless times as well.

  6. Anita says:

    I live by the same rule of “if I can’t see their eyes, I assume they don’t see me”. I just had a car pull out from a stop sign without seeing me. I didn’t see him look in my direction, so I had already slowed down. When he did see me, he was already through the intersection and he slammed on his brakes. If I hadn’t been following that rule, I would have been a hood ornament. Thankfully my cousin taught me how to keep my eyes open on both the motorcycle and the bicycle.

  7. I’ve felt unsafe while driving a car when other drivers are being dumb – I can’t even imagine being on a bike in that situation. Glad you’re okay!

    • bgddyjim says:

      Thanks, man. Goes with the territory. My heart rate never even bumped, I was never in that much danger, like I said, unless I hadn’t been paying attention.

  8. So glad that you have the presence of mind to keep yourself safe. How many people have you been out with that don’t seem to have a clue, that you almost want to push into the path of a car just to keep him/her from ruining it for other cyclists.. or at least give them a stern talking to about safety? (pushing into a car was harsh, I know)

    Establishing eye contact was a skill I learned years ago, a necessity for bike commuting in rush hour traffic. Saved my bacon many a time.

    Blue skies and shirtsleeve weather on November 5. Unbelievable. I am about to flip a coin about where I should ride!

    • bgddyjim says:

      I was up hunting all weekend, just got back and all I could think of up there was the miles I was missing out on.

      I did threaten to push a guy off his bike once if he didn’t close a gap he let form. It was tongue in cheek though. I also bumped elbows with the same guy at about 24 mph, just to show him it’s not wide to ride in the middle of two lines in a double pace line. Other than that one guy, most everyone I ride with is exceptional on a bike. And you’re right. Too far…

  9. fitnessgrad says:

    Jim,
    How are you doing? Reading this post scared me a minute, but I am happy you are safe and practice safety while riding.
    I have also chosen to nominate you for another award, the Mystery Blogger Award, you may choose to accept or decline this offer. The following link will hold the details: https://fitness9555.wordpress.com/2016/11/05/the-mystery-blogger-award/

    Shay-lon

    • bgddyjim says:

      Thanks Shay-lon, for your concern. It comes with the territory, close calls like that. I only would have been in danger I hadn’t been paying attention. Nothing to worry about. Thanks for the nod. 😎

      • fitnessgrad says:

        Jim,
        I am happy you are more observant than others, not everyone is, and for that reason, I am happy you shared the post, it can bring awareness to other riders who may not think to pay much attention at times! Glad to hear you are safe and still capable of making good blog post! LOL. don’t know what I would have done if you couldn’t type any longer, The world wouldn’t cope 😛

      • bgddyjim says:

        Uh oh… Stay tuned.

  10. Sue Slaght says:

    Glad to hear you are all right albeit shaken up. I’m with you I never make the assumption a car will stop unless I can see the eyes of the driver.

  11. MJ Ray says:

    No need to make a big deal of it. Just send the video to the police when you get home and hopefully a fine and licence endorsement makes her pay more attention before she meets aless person on a bike.

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