1st Commute-good,bad,ugly- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Reputation: muddywings's Avatar
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    Apr 2004

    1st Commute-good,bad,ugly

    Well, it was my first ‘test’ commute. I got a new job that I starts next month and I’m trading in my 20 minute, 16 mile drive in my truck for a 3-4 mile bike commute!! Yeah me.
    So I went out for test commute this afternoon on my rigid Surly 1x1. No gear, clothes etc but it was about 10 degree F outside with snow (Colorado) so since we got hammered pretty good, I would see how the commute would go, worse case.
    The commute is mile side road to a bike trail. 2 more miles on the bike path then another mile on side road and then I’m there. Easypeasy
    So I get all bundled up and off I go. With the roads like crap and nobody out I hang on the sidewalk and find my first issue. If the snow is virgin then no problem, I’ll ride right through, however if there are foot prints then it’s a bit sporty. The icy, crusty snow prints make it a bit sporty but since its downhill, I just plow through. Once on the bike path, it’s smooth sailing with one lung buster hill (its cold outside!!). The side roads following the path are wide with minimal traffic and I just ride the road the rest of the way and poof, 20 minutes for start and I’m at my new job. Yeah me!
    I decided to take an alternate road route back to just check out my options. Once I hit the return hill back home (solid 2 miles straight up) I ran into a lot of crazy traffic on crazy roads so again I decided to stick to the side walks. However this time, going uphill over crusty footprints proved far to much so I ended scratching my helmet and started walking. I hit a few wide parts of the road so I jumped off the sidewalk but I quickly ran out of usable road. In some parts there was only a lane and half with two cars side by side so once again onto the sidewalk.
    A mere 100 yards till my townhouse complex I see a pedestrian walking in this miserable weather so as she approaches I stop to let her pass much like I do with hikers on a trail. The sidewalk was covered with snow so at times the bike would wander so I didn’t want hit her. I’m stopped, straddling my bike on the right side of the sidewalk as she brushes me shoulder to shoulder and at first I think, eh, bulky jackets, crazy snow, eh, sure she didn’t mean it. Then two paces past me she says, “why don’t you ride in the road?”
    So off I go with, and I’ll paraphrase as I don’t have a photographic memory when I’m steaming mad but will say no profanities came out, “You think riding out in the road in these conditions is safe? Are you serious? No really, are you serious? I’d rather deal with a rude pedestrian than a crazy driver with these conditions. Have a happy holidays!” By the time I finish with my rant, she’s about 20 yards from and just keeps walking.
    Yes, I’ll admit, bikers should ride the roads vs sidewalks but common sense and safety (to me) tells me with crumbled ice covering half a lane, crazy drivers out, and (for the most part) a lack of pedestrians, taking the sidewalk seemed like the smart play. I can see if I blazed by her at 20 mph but I don’t think I broke 10 mph during the entire ride including the downhill, but and this is my big but, I WAS STOPPED. I was completely stopped. She had walked through the snow for at least the past 50 yards (nearest gas station) and had a ways more to go. I didn’t push her off the sidewalk into some huge snow drift, and again, I didn’t blaze by her on the downhill. (I hate people!!!!)
    I finished my ride steaming hot both from the final climb and from her.
    Sorry for the rant. Other than her (I use ‘her’ as that is all I can say without being profane), the ride went well. The clothes held up to the cold. The ride went smooth (sorta). I had swapped out my suspension fork for the rigid surly and that went well. I have a rack and bag on order. My plan is to ride there early, workout, shower, and do my 8 hours, repeat. I’m hoping to average biking 4 out of 5 days throughout the year with the occasional snow/rain outs.
    Wish me luck and to all who read this far, please enjoy the holiday season and don't let it rot you like so many other people out there!

  2. #2
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    hrmm... two thoughts:
    that sucks!

    not much you can do about those types of people, they're deliberately entitled.
    glue spiky foam bits to your handelbars and spray paint them silver so they look dangerous?
    If steel is real then aluminium is supercallafragiliniun!

  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    At some point the sidewalk may be impassible, so do have Plan B ready, whatever that may be. Snowshoes, XC skis, or riding on the road, in which case powerful lights, reflective gear and probably studded tires are indicated. For rear lights, a carefully-aimed Planet Bike SuperFlash or NiteRider Cherry Bomb is a good starting point, and if you upgrade to a DiNotte or cobble together your own Nova BULL (YouTube) or Whelen TIR3, the PBSF or NRCB still make a nice secondary light.

    Sorry about that upsetting experience with that woman. I agree, since you actually stopped out of consideration towards her, it wasn't very appreciative of her to take that tone.

  4. #4
    Reputation: rodar y rodar's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    HAHAHA! Ya can`t win! I would have suggested that you stuff her into your backpack, panniers, camelback to let loose on the next motorist who tells you to get on the sidewalk! But then I remembered the first part of your post- no gear, no clothes, and ten degrees. No gear, no way to stash her for later. NO CLOTHES!?! Maybe you misinterpreted that brush against you! She was excited to see a naked bicyclist? Then again, she probably wouldn`t have been very impressed by Minimuddy at 10 degrees!

    Well, I hope your regular commutes go better than the trial version. Sooner or later it`ll thaw out and you`ll undoubtedly be digging on your new four mile ride over the 20 mile drive.

  5. #5
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Geeez this morning I passed a lady riding on the sidewalk, I said thanks she said no problem....

  6. #6
    No-Brakes Cougar
    Reputation: Gary the No-Trash Cougar's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    You made the right call riding on the sidewalk. I don't have such an extreme commute during the winters here, but from what I read on this forum it can be dicey no matter what you do. Props for even attempting it! People are self-absorbed, self-entitled and selfish, and yes they do suck (present company excluded)! I seem to have at least one frustrating encounter a week and that's just commuting (I work with the public so every day is a cavalcade of morons). It's hard to fight the strong urge to beat the sh!t out of someone, but I just go home, listen to Slayer really loud and try not to dwell on it. After all, they're the one with the issues, not you. Their karma will catch up with them eventually.
    R.I.P. Ronnie James Dio ~ July 10, 1942 May 16, 2010

  7. #7
    Bedwards Of The West
    Reputation: CommuterBoy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    The worst part of that kind of interaction is that about 20 minutes later, I always think of brilliant things that I should have said. It only makes things worse since you can't go back and make the person feel incredibly stupid and pathetic, and you're stuck with whatever you happened to say in the moment. I hope that whatever you did say stuck with her like the smell of a homeless person, and that she realizes and dwells in her stupidity for at least the next several days.
    You have no excuse for driving to work
    (unless you don't have studded tires)
    (no excuse for that either)

  8. #8
    The Brutally Handsome
    Reputation: Sizzler's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Often people react in that manner because they have other issues they are dealing with. I wouldn't take it personally. I have done my share of cussing at drivers, chasing them down, getting in heated arguments, but you can't win in a no-win situation so it's best just to leave people like that alone and be glad that you don't get all bent out of shape when something so insignificant happens to you.

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