Cyclist Lives Matter

Copy of fire in the skyIt’s about 9 in the AM and I just got off the bike after a solo ride out by the airport, Piper Rd.  All my bike duds are in the laundry and I just cleaned out the Garmin and looked at everyone else’s stuff on Strava. Oh like you don’t! These are some interesting and impressive people, my Strava buddys.

The grass is always greener.
The grass is always greener.

They’re from all all over the planet.  They find me through my 60 Is The New 40 Strava group and some other groups that  I’ve joined. We are truly the 1%. We that get out there regularly and get the heart rate up. The morning light is coming earlier again and I’m a big fan.

Urban planners and traffic control types see cyclist as the 1%ers, 1 % of the traffic on the road. Personally when I see all the motorist out there I can’t help but feel that the only way we’re the 1% is to round up. I have my own plan for traffic control, AVOID IT. I take the road less traveled and I try to get out there early. I don’t look to Copy of DSCN1077ride in densely populated areas. There are great riders living in these area’s and I’ll show up from time to time for the event ride but I always leave thankful that I’ve survived. I’m spoiled. Charlotte Co. Florida riding will do that to ya. Heck my home town, Lancaster PA., Amish Paradise, will do that to ya big time.

obstructed bike path.01The small town of Punta Gorda Florida is wanting to move ahead with what they’re calling their mini grid plan for improving cycling infrastructure within the city citing that cycling is on the rise and that being bicycle friendly would lead to more interest in the community and tourism which would be profitable. Somewhere in the translation it speaks to safety as well. Hard to argue but it’s led to a lot of hand wringing and letters to the editor about riders looking to commit heri keri by blasting through the stops directly into the path of the unsuspecting motorist.  Now the locals are so edgy that they’re expecting me to roll right through the intersections. They’re so confused that they just come to a complete stop regardless of where they are, what’s happening behind them or who has the right of way.  A lady was so concerned yesterday down town that she stopped, rolled her window down and told me I was taking my life into my own hands riding on whatever street it was I was on. I went into my usual response saying “nobody gets out alive anyway, better n chokin’ on the string beans down at the home!” And of course “I wanna die clipped in, but not today.” She just laughed and told me I had a good attitude. True.

Do I come to a complete stop as required? I don’t my foot down unless I have to at the stop signs but yes I do stop for the lights. Trust me, it’s not worth dyin’ for. I’m a grandpa with lousy health insurance. But there are knuckle heads out there with no regard for common sense. You’ve all seen them riding reckless abandon  against the flow. Motorist see this and optics are everything.

The problem for me with all of this is that I don’t know where to stand. You would think that anyone who rides as much as I do would be out in front leading the parade in favor of more bike lanes, sharrows, signs and what not but I’m not. I put more miles on the bikes last year than I put on my truck and I’m ahead of that for this year but still I can’t get excited about bike lanes and so forth. Just another failed control system, more unenforced traffic laws. Another unregulated layer of government such as HOA’s, landlords, and banks. Don’t ya hate banks!

brilliantThen I started thinking about how to better accomplish the same thing. The thing being safe cycling, and I thought maybe it would be better to use the money and add another policeman or 2 to aid in enforcing the existing traffic laws. You know…………….safe passing and heaven forbid but yes cyclist stopping at the signs and signals. Maybe these officers would even ride bicycles. Trust me, if the cops started writing citations for such things instead of the friendly warning people would straighten up pretty quick. But then I realized that cyclist like myself don’t carry proper ID and so it would just lead to me having to do so + proof of insurance and who knows what else, bike registration! Oh God! Paradise Lost!

Can you imagine having to register your bike? A fee to do so plus some other road use fee! Trust me someday the city’s leading citizens (petty functionaries)  pandering for votes will propose such a thing. “How do we enforce the traffic laws” they’ll claim “without proper ID. With tags on the bicycles we will easily identify the perps with our traffic cameras! We need to protect the cyclist from themselves”, they’ll say. Optics being everything.

Wait just a dog gone minute! With all those traffic cameras and facial recognition software I really don’t need to carry ID to be ID’d! Do I? I mean it’s snap a picture and satellites start to link up to some government database, probably located at Quantico, and within mere seconds they’ve got me. Caught red handed rolling a stop sign out in PGI. I’ll receive a summons via the mail maybe delivered by a drone.

mt vernon trail.01The whole matter perplexes me.  Turns out that Better(?) infrastructure for cycling leads to restricted freedoms, maybe. But of course you may be living in a densely populated urban environment benefitting greatly from all the bike paths and trails, the intersections laid out just for you. Trust me when I say that Punta Gorda Florida is not such a place. For the most part people ride/ commute on the sidewalks and M.U.R.T’s (Multi Use Recreational Trail)  Again, according to the paper, cyclist have been terrorizing the walkers and joggers on said pathways. It sure ain’t any place I wanna ride.  

Shreve St. Multi UsePath
HMM….Looks like a stick up.

EURIKA THAT’S IT!  AN EPIPHANY. WRITING THIS HAS LED ME TO A  MOMENT OF CLARITY, SUDDEN AND STRIKING REALIZATION! YES LET’S HAVE BIKE LANES IN PUNTA GORDA!  It’s not about me! It’s the needs of the many not of the few or the one! Pure and simple logic. Get the riders off the sidewalks and onto the road where they belong. A win for the pedestrians who are definitely the many in Punta Gorda.  There is something in the traffic code about when there’s a bike lane you must use it  and the new sheriff has come out supporting this, but no worries, it won’t be enforced. Spending money to get riders onto the road surely will be a bone on contention for those who suffer from chronic bitchiness no doubt but……. WHO CARES! THESE PEOPLE ARE ONLY HAPPY WHEN THEY’RE COMPLAINING AND SO IT’S A WIN WIN! So rave on my friends. “I want bike lanes or I don’t want bike lanes.”

Just be safe out there and let’s all try and get along. OKAY!

Ride Your Bike by Ray Heisey.
Slow or fast, near or far,
Ride your bike, park your car.
Road bike, hybrid, mountain bike,
Recumbent, fixie, granny trike.
Spandex pants with shoes that clip,
Baggy pants with shoes that flip.
Ride to work or to the store,
To the park along the shore.
Carbon, steel, even Bamboo,
Ride your bike, it’s the thing to do.

 

Haus 3-7-15Enough already. It’s time to prepare myself for the Saturday Ride with Cycle Haus Boys. It’s the high point of my cycling week. It’ll be a beat down for sure and I need to train…..a little, rest properly and eat right just so I can hope to hang in with the peleton. My Heart rate never gets higher than on this ride. The roll has been called and it appears that a lot of the heavy hitters have answered in the affirmative.  The bike needs to be finger lickin’ good meaning clean, lubed and things like brakes, wheels and tires need to be inspected. In addition I wanna look good. Gotta  make sure my kit and accessories are coordinated and group specific. There are style points to be had as well.

Speaking of finger lickin’ good I’m working on some new bike maintenance videos that’ll soon appear under the repair and maintenance tab above. These are simple do it yourself things you can do to help keep your bike spring time fresh. Nothing major going on here. Just things like chain and cassette cleaning and replacing , etc. Check back from time to time. Thanks for visiting this site.

 

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