I hate thieves!

IMG_0456Great. Some asshole stole my handlebars, headstock, and front suspension of my Spot.

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Strangely, they left my wheel sitting there.

The Eternal Debate – Edmonton Bike Lanes

The notion persists that cyclists aren’t paying their way. Cyclists pay, through taxes, like everyone else. The argument can be made they pay more than their share.

Bike lanes aren’t for me. They’re for cyclists less comfortable on the road, or out for a leisurely ride, maybe with kids. Bike lanes also serve to remind drivers cyclists belong on the road.
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Elizabeth Solis

I generally avoid posting tragic bike stories. They’re usually significant enough to warrant localized media coverage, including major media. They get so much attention it can obscure the fact that cycling, by and large, is safe if we apply due care and attention, and have a safe place to ride.

Riding a bike was clearly one of Elizabeth Solis’ great pleasures. She was an experienced cyclist who rode predictably and made sure she was highly visible to drivers, wearing a reflective vest whenever she road. She took safety seriously.

Elizabeth Solis and Edmund Aunger in New Brunswick on their way to PEI

Most if not all regular riders have experienced being caught on “The Wrong Road” because there weren’t any other options. It’s unpleasant, and the kind of road Sovis consciously avoided. They made her nervous.

She and her husband Edmund Aunger were biking along a two-lane highway in Prince Edward Island this summer when she was struck from behind by habitual drunk driver Clarence Moase.

On Tuesday December 12, 2012, Moase was sentenced to six years in prison (and, I believe, a lifetime driving suspension). He had four prior impaired-driving convictions.

Aunger had mixed feelings about the sentence, saying he was afraid locking someone up wasn’t going to change the real problem, and referring to Clarence Moise as a scapegoat

“We need to create safer bike trails to ensure no one else dies the way my wife did.”

Elizabeth Clovis planned to spend her retirement helping develop safe cycling trails in Alberta – a cause Aunger is hoping to carry on.

Read more at CTV News

Linda Hoang, CTV Edmonton
Published Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012 11:03AM MST
Last Updated Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012 1:13PM MST

Taking the middle of the lane

Nice blogpost from Bikeyface on taking the middle of the lane. Great illustrations. :-)

“Whenever a person first discovers I bike, they reply with a story. And it’s always the same story.

“I was driving down [insert any road name] when all of the sudden I saw a cyclist in the MIDDLE OF THE ROAD!” Inevitably it always ends with them saying they “just tapped on their horn” or “squeezed by” or“yelled out to the cyclist.” 

And many many times I’ve been the cyclist in one of these stories- the one sharing the road with a driver that isn’t aware of the basic road rules regarding bikes.

What’s worse is that sometimes reasonable people panic at the sight of a bicycle in the lane… and then all that reason flies out the window.”

Doesn’t always happen to me, but its happened for sure. The drivers who get upset that a cyclist takes the lane aren’t usually assholes. They’re most often regular folks like us who aren’t aware of the rules.

I believe its a natural consequence of driving (or cycling) that anything that slows us down or causes us to take an action irritates us. When I’m in a car (as a passenger) and there’s a cyclist in front of us, perhaps taking the lane, I too begin to feel irritated. I don’t know that there’s any getting around it. I do believe being aware its a natural consequence for all of us helps me temper any irritation I may feel, because I know its not really anyone else’s problem but mine.

Cycling in Calgary

Calgary is where I was born. I moved to Edmonton in my early teens, moved back to Calgary in my 30’s, and have been in Edmonton since about 1992.

I visit every once in awhile, but I’ve never cycled in Calgary. But I can’t help but notice they seem to be taking cycling seriously, with an excellent Calgary Herald section/blog called Pedal.

The last two posts have been most interesting; one about a group of kids that continue to ride to school through the winter like its no big deal, and another about the City of Calgary hiring a “cycling coordinator.”

Excellent.

Bridgestone Picnica

Bridgestone Picnica

A friend picked up one of these beauties at Goodwill this week.

 

“The Lecture” and “The Myth of Sisyphus”.

Sisyphus

“I know the law, but, …”

I cringe when I hear (or read) that phrase. We all seem to use it sometimes. I’m guilty too. Most often it’s the intro to “The Lecture”.

The leaning forward. The lowering of the chin. The eyes of “Inarguable Truth” staring directly into yours. The hunched shoulders and clasped hands. You go to speak, and up comes the hand, palm toward you, signalling you to wait. ….. The pursed lips, ready, prepared, and, settling in. A quick breath, and here we go,… with resignation, …

“Let’s get real here”.

A shaking head and the hand again, for once “The Lecture” begins it must be completed, or it’s profound truths may be lost. And so, following as he or she must, the lecturer moves into the first of two key “Inarguable Truths”:

    points out how much a car weighs vis-a-vis a cyclist

    explains basic physics

    raises eyebrows, drops chin, and looks into eyes

The end is the truly beautiful part. The epiphany, as it were. Your epiphany.

The actual, ugly truth – a cyclist hit by a car moving at speed will most likely die a horrible death, is never mentioned. It’s subtly, but profoundly, implied. No words needed.

A magical moment, really, as it’s built on respect – the lecturer has granted that, given the evidence presented, and your epiphany, you can surely do your own math. All you needed was to be awakened to the truth.

Sometimes, mercifully, it moves to the second “Inarguable Truth”. And then it’s over. That fast. Just a few lines, and a few seconds of your time.

Or, ,,,

Subsequent lecture options include:

    stating roads are made for motor vehicles
    pointing out most people drive and will continue to do so
    mentioning that cyclists are “exposed” vis- vis contained drivers
    explaining car safety features vs “exposed” cyclists
    noting the effect of road conditions on traffic
    reminding us there are legions of bad drivers
    accepting there are many distracted/drunk drivers

All moving inexorably, inevitably toward, finally, the ace in the hole, the biggie:

The second, and primary “Inarguable Truth”.

    “it doesn’t matter whether you’re right or wrong when you’re dead”

Spoken with all the certainty of a teen on his eighth beer, sobering up to drive home.

We Get It

We all “get it”, right? All on our own, without coaching. Certainly everyone with the minimum wherewithal “gets it” that the cars sharing the roads with cyclists weigh a lot more than cyclists do.

And yet I’m regularly asked, even by friends and others I respect, even by other cyclists (often accompanied by an anecdote) whether I and other bike commuters understand and appreciate the difference between what a car weighs and what a cyclist weighs.

Clearly we do, or should. Only an idiot doesn’t. And I mean a real idiot, like the can’t tie their shoes kind. Does that mean the Lecturer thinks we’re idiots? What to do?

Why argue? Maybe it just needs to be explicitly said. So once again I slip on my Captain Obvious tights so that it can be written:

all grown up cyclists understand that motor vehicles weigh a lot more than a cyclist on a bike and that if they get hit by said motor vehicle moving at speed they will die.

Ahhhhhh. … Let’s all get beyond that. Wishful thinking?

It would appear so.

So with extreme artistic license, I give you Sisyphus.

Sisyphus was doomed by the Gods for all eternity to push a rock up a mountain; upon reaching the top, the rock would roll down again leaving Sisyphus to start over.

Cyclists are doomed for all eternity to listen to “The Lecture”.

It’s a stretch. I know.

Chinese Water Torture

Listening to “The Lecture” repeatedly, forever doesn’t seem too bad compared to pushing a rock up a mountain. The “Chinese Water Torture”, or the “Cross to Bear” analogies don’t work, because they don’t last for eternity.

We all have our crosses to bear.

“The Lecture” will. So it’s actually worse – a fate worse than death.

It can get to any of us, if we let it. Obviously it gets to me. There’s no getting around it, it must be accepted and endured. Just nod and wait for the lecture to end. Don’t disagree or take issue – it’s a trap. What’s to disagree with?

With acceptance comes peace. I shall let it go.

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