Tuesday, February 24

ARG!!!

It must be a full moon. I haven’t checked yet, but I just know it must be. So Obnoxious Cretin almost flung himself suicidally against my car last night…this morning I rode in to work along my normal route. I was cranking along, a good pace, feeling good and after I crossed Wadsworth headed toward Kipling another cyclist was ahead of me. I watched to see if she’d take the “bike path” or stick to the road.

Up until recently I had always stuck to the road myself, it being smoother and less horrendous than the “bike path” which parallels 20th between Garrison and Hoyt.

But then since I have started riding to work again I have mostly ridden on the “bike path” because I am usually lagging bad by the time I get to that point on my ride and I don’t want to be creeping along at 8 mph in traffic.

But since I was cranking strongly west this morning and another cyclist was in front of me I thought I might just go back to the old way and stay in the lane. Its smoother, doesn’t rattle your teeth out and the traffic isn’t usually bad at all. As a matter of fact, I have seen quite a few other cyclists on that section of my ride and they have always been in the road, and not on the “bike path.” The “bike path” is rough asphalt, poorly maintained and has roots protruding through it, sections that are little more than dirt and it crosses each intersection behind where vehicles habitually stop. It is dangerous, rough and hardly a feasible option.

The other cyclist stuck to the road, so I followed suit. It made my decision easy, especially since I’d rather be on the road anyway.

Once I passed Garrison a long line of cars passed me. Of the four that passed right together at least two were so close I could have seen my reflection in their sideview mirrors. After the last car passed and there was a gap I moved into the lane. I positioned myself 1/3 from the right edge of the pavement and I held on tight. Taking the Lane is a form of protection when motorists are behaving irresponsibly. But then I saw the shadow of a bus behind me. And there was a long string of cars coming eastbound in the opposing lane.

Unfortunately there was no where for me to go, and I wasn’t going to squeeze back over to the right so the bus could push me the rest of the way off the road so I held my ground.

Well, when a break came in opposing traffic the bus passed…close enough that I could touch the side with my arm bent, and he was angling across my path…cutting me off. I slammed my fist against the side of the bus as his rear wheel passed and he almost pushed me off the road. I yelled something incoherent and fixed the bus number in my mind (5261, route 20) and the time (7:20) and shook my fist, hoping he would see me.

As the bus got ahead of me some jerk on the other side yelled out his window: “USE THE BIKE PATH!”

My rage boiled over. It was really fortunate that no one else passed me for awhile. I was MAD. I was beyond mad.

The bike path is so rough that those drivers wouldn’t want to drive their cars on it, but they’d expect me to use it on my skinny tires and non-suspension. They’d probably be the ones that would pull all the way up, blocking the “bike path” at intersections and they obviously had no understanding of the laws concerning cyclists and motorists (THREE FEET!).

Luckily I had no other encounters with careless drivers. I have seriously debated writing RTD and the Lakewood police department to report the incident. I’m fairly certain nothing would come of it, but I think just reporting the incident would be enough.

I’d also like to find out who’s responsible for maintenance of that bike path and write them as well. 20th is by far the BEST option to ride from Denver to Golden short of riding the Clear Creek Trail (which is 30 miles as opposed to 15). If the route along 20th is going to be advertised as a “bike route” then it should be maintained as such with a better surface, better street crossings and regular maintenance.

I know, I know…I chose to ride that route, but that does not change the fact that motorists are supposed to (by law) give cyclists 3’ of space and that if they hit me they would still be responsible. I don’t understand what ails people.

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