Friday, April 8, 2011

Bike Touring: Wind or Rain or Snow or Blazing Heat - It Doesn't Matter

My friend Jeff took this pic while he was riding his Raliegh
I first learned to ride a bike when I accidentally went into a small dip around a man-hole cover. I did not have my feet on the pedals, afraid that I might fall over. After I went through this dip I gained my balance and was able to glide longer distances. In a few days i was able to put my feet on the pedals and I no longer needed slightly declining hills to propel me forward. I had found "feet power" and was loving my new ability to reach farther out into the neighborhood. Some people say you never forget how to ride a bike. Well I'll never know this because I never stopped riding long enough to find out. When I was a kid living at home, my brother and 2 sisters and I always put our bikes away by November 1st because winter and it's cold temps were decending upon us. I never knew what it was like to ride in bad weather untill just a few years ago when high gas prices forced me to save by not driving.Riding in inclement weather really isn't that bad. If its raining you dry off when you get home. If its -40F you ride much slower. I also ride much slower against the wind but like I'll get there plus if you can start your trip against the wind, its oh so nice going home with that added "wind push". Wind can be our friend sometimes. If theres 2 feet of snow on the ground, you don't make sharp turns and you stay in the car tire ruts [If there are any on that particular part of the street] If a car is comming in deep snow, you just get up over the curb and wait for the car to pass, then get back down in the rut again. It's slow but i made it home eventually and usually the roads are cleared after a few hours and it's much better.I stay away from busy roads as much as possible. I value my life and on those roads, more cars means a higher percentage of getting hit by a car or by a door they open. I have always found that most side streets will take you where you need to go and If I do have to ride a main road, Im taking the sidewalk. It may be illegal, but a cop has never stopped me. Either he doesn't know the law or is going to the Donut Shop or just doesn't care or is too lazy. Maybe he feels sorry for me being the only bike he can see. whatever it is, I like being left alone. I'm a lone rider, I don't ride in packs like wolves do. In a pack you can get hit by other bikes and prob greater odds of that than getting hit by a car! If I get near pedestrian walking, I just slow way down and "crawl" by them. I'm never in a big hurry. whats getting somewhere 5 minutes later going to do? Just leave your house 15 minutes earlier to make up for these small "slowdowns" and going by walkers slow is a lot cheaper than hitting them and getting sued for their broken bones. A broken leg can cost $20k to $50 if complications ensue.