Monday, May 10, 2010

Miss Ellen Goes First

We had a windy weekend in HotWinds. So Miss Ellen and I had a good workout, riding into steady winds on two sunny days (although a bit cold). Traffic was light this weekend. It was great. We just kept moving.

As a driver, I've always noticed that motorcyclists and bicyclists seem to have their own version of traffic laws. But I am a former pedestrian run over by a car.  I think stop signs should be obeyed, and hot-dogging should be kept to a minimum. I use hand signals. All of that. Yesterday I was stopped at a meaningless light , no cars, and a police bicyclist ran a red. Okay, maybe discretion meant I got my breath back.

There's also no doubt that your skin is right next to the road and the tires of the car next to you. It does tend to change your view of the rules somewhat, even if you want to follow them completely.

So. At a traffic light, I move into first position, right lane. I want Everybody to see me. I don't want to be misled and then sideswiped by their Failure to Signal a Right Turn. I am sure a lot of curses have been heaped on my ass. But this ass remains uninjured, thank you very much.

If I have to turn left on busy intersections, I will frequently signal a stop, walk the bike across the crosswalks, and hop back on and go.

The one time I had cars chase me off the road, an old man yelled at me for biking on the sidewalk. Hey. He was the ONLY guy on the sidewalk, more than six feet away. And my nerves were not good, especially having one car in reverse down the block, one advancing up the block, and Miss Ellen between two advancing bumpers. Probably he has been frightened by deviltry on bikes before. Go ahead and yell, Gramps. I am celebrating continued life here.

Double-parking in the bicycle lane: yeah, I know. It seems logical because you are out of the way of CARS.
Now I have to get in the way of CARS. All those other CARS expect me to be in the BIKE LANE.

The other day, I, Ann T., pointed my Hathaway finger at a cab driver (index digit, now, now) and forced him to stop with that pointy thing, rather than ram me and Miss Ellen with his four-door sedan. The eye contact also helped. Driving is still about intimidation. And cooperation, too. I've mostly had the latter.

Believe me, I know who is the vulnerable party.

So Miss Ellen must be SEEN. She goes first, unbroken, unbowed, and untrammeled.
That's the way she likes it.


Momma Fargo said...

Love it! You go girl...shaking your finger and all!

Ann T. said...

Dear Momma Fargo,
Yup, nobody better give me a Hummer. I know my faults.

Ann T.

Bob G. said...

You ARE the voice of Miss Ellen.

Now who said no one ever speaks for those with "no voice"...?

It's a lot different today than 40+ years ago when you ride a bicycle.

Lots more angst, less patience by others, and this whole "I own the street" mentality" can often turn a simple sojourn into an Indiana Jones-like "adventure"...(look out for the huge rolling boulder).

ANd keep that finger AT-THE-READY!
It might not be "polite" to point, but it's preferred over the "middle-finger salute", most times.

Go get 'em, Kiddo!


Slamdunk said...

Your "city dweller" rules of the road could teach me lots--especially since I have forgotten them when I moved away a decade ago. Our next big riding time will be at the beach--where the only thing I'll need to know is how to keep little ones out of the road and to balance myself while holding a donut.

Ann T. said...

Dear Bob,
The rules sure are different. But also I lived in the 'burbs when I was a child, on a cul-de-sac. This is inner-city biking.

I am still looking for a schoolyard with a track so I can get constant aerobics. Although I notice hills work pretty well, LOL. . .

Not to worry, the Ann T. Finger of Doom will come out whether I will it or not!

Miss Ellen gets to go out again today, too!

Thanks for keeping up with Our Adventures!

Ann T. said...

Dear Slamdunk,
If you are eating a doughnut on the beach, does the sand stick to the glaze????

As for urban bicycling, it's amazing how survival needs will get you back in the swing.

As they say, "once you learn to ride a bike . . ."

And actually people are pretty cooperative for the most part. If not, that bus from the other week would have ended Ann T. and Miss Ellen for good. They all hung back and let me escape.

Thanks for stopping for a chat.

Ann T.

The Bug said...

I'm pretty sure that if I rode a bike I would be that "crazy bike lady" screaming at people. And I would probably not be cautious enough - weaving through traffic like I weave through the mall stores at Christmas. Best I stick to car or foot.

Ann T. said...

Dear The Bug,
It feels So Good to be flying down the street under your own power, wind on your face.

But yes, occasionally that urge to yell does come up!

Ann T.

The Observer said...

Ann T:
that sand on a glazed doughnut? Not a pretty picture in the head!

I point while I am driving. It helps avoid pointing with that other finger. Most at people who are rushing to intersections and appear uninterested in stopping for signs and red lights.

Also, Miss Ellen should be adorned with all manner of bright colors and reflective dodads,and a headlight at night. I suppose one of those sticky up flags would be just too geeky for words? ;-)

Be safe out there.

The Observer

meleah rebeccah said...

Im laughing out loud for real at pointing your Hatahway finger at the cab driver! You're brave. People get shot in NYC for stuff like that!

Ann T. said...

Dear The Observer,
Miss Ellen is definitely getting jewelry. But not a flag I don't think.

Ann T.

Dear Meleah,
I always think about the gun thing--afterward.

I'll be more careful,
Ann T.

Unknown said...

Oh Ann, just wait till you get down here and we go ariding! Will you bring Miss Ellen?? I think you can on the train! Anyway, I still ride a bike with the crazy abandon of a kid. Makin my own rules and surviving on agility and luck mostly. But we all know I like to live dangerously. lol
No worries though...I'll be waiting for you to walk your bike across the street. ;)

Ann T. said...

I will try to catch up! And doesn't that just say it all.

Ann T.