Tropical commute this morning. It was a balmy 40°F degrees.
Monday: -7°F-ish and 3-8 inches of snow. That's a MINUS sign in front of the seven. MINUS seven degrees Fahrenheit. That's 39 degrees below freezing for those of you (like me) who are mathematically stunted.
At least I won't be sweaty on the first day of my self-imposed Commuter Hardship Challenge. Nah, I'll probably still be sweaty around my core, just frostbitten everywhere else.
I've also decided to add another component to the challenge. I won't use the bike racks out front (never do anyway) or store my bike in my cube. I don't use the racks on principle, not because I oppose the racks per se, but because I work with the public and they are often disgruntled by information or answers I give them. It wouldn't do for some angry citizen to realize the clunker Cannonball down front is mine.
I have a place inside in mind, I've been scouting out a good place to store the bike if conditions were to be sloppy on a morning commute. I'd hate to ruin the attractive dirt colored carpet in my cube.
And on to more dynamic topics...
I want to reiterate an important point in my cycling motto (be visible, be vigilant, be consistent) in light of an "occurrence" from my evening commute yesterday. I was blazing through Denver West on the thankfully dry Denver West Parkway (one of them anyway) headed north. Ahead of me a hippie looking older guy in a muddy Outback started to pull out across in front of me to head south. I know he looked and saw me before he commenced pulling out. He paused in the middle lane, presumably (and this is where my motto comes into play) to wait for traffic to clear on the opposite side. As I began to pass behind him I saw his BACKUP LIGHTS come on and he started to back into me. I saw him.
Well, I yelled "HEY!!!" and he jammed on the brakes and when I looked back he was blocking both lanes of the traffic following behind me and looking around confused.
I'm going to go with the dementia or Alzheimer's theory. I don’t know. He did hear me, and he did stop. But if I hadn't been paying attention or hadn't yelled it would have been a much closer encounter and perhaps full contact.
BE VIGILANT in on your bike! You can't let down your guard for a split second. Stay focused. Stay attuned to the flow of traffic, things going on in parking lots, anticipate what pedestrians are going to do (like that's possible) and for crying out loud, assume all drivers are really chimpanzees escaped from the zoo 'cause a few of them actually drive as if they are.