Thursday, November 20, 2008

Readers' Ride report; a Wichita cycling eccentric

What has not kept me from posting on last weekend's rides? Well: now that I've dealt with the last of those delays by having my internet service restored, I can offer up a brief report.

I overslept on Saturday the 15th, and it was cold besides. Sunday the 16th, though, could not have been a better day for a ride: sunny; slight breeze, temperatures in the upper-50s/lower-60s. So, I headed down to the softball fields at Plainview Park; and even with a stop for a brief repair (my bike didn't shift gears properly and the chain got hung up between the frame and the rear gears) I arrived there just before 1:00.

No one else showed, alas, but I was still happy to be out. Here's the Veloroutes map of my route. From the softball fields, I followed the bike path up to the intersection of Bayley and Armour, then doubled back down the path to Mt. Vernon and turned west there. I didn't trace the entire route; for those interested, though, it's almost exactly 6 miles from the intersection of Mt. Vernon and George Washington to my apartment, so I ended up riding 20 miles in all.

The main thing I was looking for on this ride was progress on the path-building along Gypsum Creek from Pawnee to Woodlawn. Things looked about the same, as far as I could see, but that means only that: I couldn't see all that far.

On the way home, I had my first truly close call with a car. I was heading west on the Harry Street bridge, approaching the intersection with McLean. A car was at the intersection, stopped for the light and waiting to turn left (south) on McLean. There were no cars in my lane. When I was about 50 feet from the intersection, the light turned green. Suddenly, before the car in the other lane had started forward, a large white truck cut between the car and me. I don't know how close he actually came, but it looked close. I could easily have touched the side of the truck as it passed. But no matter: he certainly could--and should--have waited the few seconds behind me that it would have taken me to reach the corner and get out of the street and onto the bike path there.

Both the ultimate cliché and the ultimate indignity: the truck had Texas plates. I am proud to be a native-born Texan, but I swear that some people feel that the combination of a crew cab and the badge of "Texan" gives them the right to do especially bone-headed things behind the wheel of said crew cab.

Except for the close call, it was a good ride: good enough to cause me to hope for a few more days like it during the winter.

Via Douglas and Main comes the story of Bob Hughes in by Stephanie Barnard. "Bicycle Bob," who lives just east of downtown, has been getting around by bike since the late '60s and has "about 75" bikes in various states of repair. He figures he's been hit by cars about 40 times. Best quote: "A bike is nothing but a new pair of shoes with a round sole." Anyway: go and read.


S.B. said...

Thank you for the link. My last name is Barnard, though. :)

- Stephanie

John B. said...

Thanks for the visit and the correction. I am the victim of sloppy editing.

Bryan G said...

Hello John, I was there sunday but I was about an hour late. I rode north on the path to Lincoln street and never saw anyone. I turned off there and proceeded to find my own route as I didnt want to turn around and go home since it was such a nice day.