Friday, December 11, 2009

cycle of death...well, not of death exactly

Yes, it's 4.53a.m. and I'm on the computer, all of which is highly unfortunate. I've been battling a cold all week and it's wreaked havoc with my sleeping cycle. That said, I'm up early enough to get a commute in, as I've done W and TH this week. Today is a little colder, even, but the afternoon is supposed to warm up a bit. 'Ville did not get snake-bit with a mega storm as so many others did, just a cold front to cool my feet at the computer desk.

For my own purposes, and yours, I wore this yesterday on a 21Fa.m./27Fp.m. commute, both legs having a brisk wind and certainly near single digit wind chills:

Head: craft beanie/North Face thick earband. (couldn't find balaclava)
gloves: lobsters. What else for the under-30F set/
feet: thin wool sox, SealSkinz sox, plastic baggies, old Target shoes (no clips)
torso: thick wool top, Biemme thick jersey, gore-text jacket
legs: compression shorts, wool tights, fleece pants

Really I had it dialed in quite nicely. This morning at 19F I might go to a slightly heavier tight under the fleece. That's if I can get ride of a headache in time for the commute. Ugh!

Yesterday's ride brought a great moment of clarify as to how the mind and its perceptions can negatively impact our actual, real situation, all compounded by 3 different bike/car interactions. First was that I was on B'town approaching the Eastern Pkwy interchange, in my own lane, when a car almost turned left into. I was there. I was obvious. I had the generator light on for extra clarity, and she still almost turned into me...but she did wave a little wave of regret. Later, near the Douglass Loop on Dundee I came to a stop sign to turn left and joker behind me crept up along my right, rather close, so he could continue straight. It wasn't anything dangerous, but certainly asinine. Lastly I came to a 4-way stop and the car opposite me was obviously a blacked-out 'plain brown wrapper'. I stopped and went through and then proceeded for the next .5m to create this police arrest fantasy concerning my rights and badge numbers and "jack-booted cops". All of a sudden I just told myself to SHUT UP! In all three of these exchanges, none of the cars was out to get me. None threatened me with malice. The girl turning left just didn't see me and was contrite in her own way. Should she have seen me? Yes, of course. The car to my left, a businessman showing his toughness, his disregard for a cyclist? Probably, but he wasn't close and there was no chance of danger unless I swerve heavily to the right. The cop? He didn't mess with me at all. My perception, my monkey mind, created a scenario which was working me all up about the car v. bike society and "all those damn drivers out there!". We face many interactions, some negative, but how much is it paranoia and how much reality? Do cyclists create conflict? We know rednecks in big trucks (more so school bus drivers and distracted soccer moms) do, but how much are we as cyclists at fault? I got no answers, but food for thought.



2 comments:

Pondero said...

I think my mind does a pretty good job of quickly moving on past those clearly non-intentional encounters. The encounters in which the motorist when out of his way to create/prolong the encounter stay with me and torture my mind awhile.

Laura said...

My mind spends far too much time repeating traffic scenarios, both ones that are my own fault and others' fault. There have been four-way stops at which I have not seen the other car and did not give it the proper right of way. There have also been plenty of situations in which people on I-95 are determined not to slow down an iota and nearly hit other cars in the process. It takes me way too long to let it go.

I have been trying to breathe deeply a few times and let my mind move on, which makes my commute less awful. I hope that we can all calm down on the roads!

Email to mysurly69@yahoo.com