Monday, November 14

Biketopia Zen

Arg! Feeling the full effects of a Monday morning! The inside of my skull is dusty, thick and just not ready for the last week before Thanksgiving holiday.

We stayed off the bikes this weekend, even though the temperatures were nice and warm. There were insane winds on Saturday. In the mountains there were reports of up to 115mph and down in the plains it wasn't a matter of that the wind was a-blowin', but what the wind was a-blowin'. There were lots of branches down on my ride in this morning and debris everywhere.

Sunday was a bit more calm (but still breezy and cooler), but my poor wife was down with some stomach bug or something so the kids and I hung around the ole suburban homestead and I worked on the garden, planted some garlic, cleaned out the gutters and we ran to Home Depot (in the car!) to get some better intel on pricing for shed material.

This morning I made a conscious effort to be "coolly stoic" in regards to traffic, as Robert Hurst suggests in The Art of Cycling. I've been (feebly) trying for awhile to ignore the moto-facsists while maintaining the necessary vigilance to survive bicycle commuting in suburgatory. This morning I discovered something interesting.

Lo, these long months of bicycle commuting in various intensities of traffic I have been focusing my attention slightly to the left. I have been listening and watching for motorists to the neglect of most of my right side.

Now, don't get me wrong, my cyclo-radar snaps right immediately if I detect any movement in the periphery, but I found that to stop being so cognizant of traffic that is overtaking and passing me I actually have to turn my eyes more FORWARD and take in about 45ยบ to the right that I normally leave to said periphery.

This is telling, because my attitude has been hyperfocused on the actions of the motorists overtaking me as well.

Oddly, as I made the attempt to remain emotionally unaffected by the morning traffic my fellow commuters were very well behaved. Am I annoyed because they didn't give me the opportunity to ignore them? No. But I did realize there is a very real conundrum facing cyclo-commuters.

It is very difficult to remain impartial and keep your emotions in check while maintaining a high level of vigilance while participating in traffic. You MUST analyze traffic's behavior to be adept at anticipating dangerous situation and avoiding them. You have to get inside the minds of moto-fascists to some degree, and in doing so it is very hard not to find them guilty of rude and reckless behavior. There is a fine balance and I am on a quest to find it.

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