Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Just One of Many Little Commutes

The Sometimes Frustrating Left Turn

As soon as I leave the driveway I need to make a left turn onto a fairly busy street. Some mornings the traffic seems to just form a big hole, like the parting of the Red Sea in the bible story, allowing me to quickly enter the flow of traffic. Other days? Not so much. Today? One of those Not So Much days.

Seemed like I was there forever. Don't want to get impatient. Can't afford to make a mistake. The collision of a motorcycle with a car or truck is a simple exercise in physics, the vehicle with more mass will always win. So I wait.
And I wait some more.
Okay, the right side of the street is opening up, maybe I can make a move. I look back left..... Well, Crap!
Wait some more.
To pass the time I adjust the mirrors a bit, even though they really didn't need it.
Geez, now it looks like just a slow steady stream of cars in both directions.
And I wait,, (thinking, what am I going to do today at work)
Okay, now it looks a little better, there's a hole in traffic developing to my left
And a hole developing to my right,
But then i  realize that the holes will not get here to my street at the same time.
Don't the traffic engineers of this city know I am trying to make this little left turn on a lot of mornings? Can't they somehow re-program the street lights a half mile away in either direction to make my life easier?
Come On? It's most every day just before or maybe a little after 8:00 am. Why? Why? Why?

Oh you get the drift

I err on the side of caution usually. I try not to be in a hurry.

As usual, eventually, I am able to enter the street and start making my way downtown.


The Frequently Annoying Foggy Visor

We had a touch of rain overnight last night. Just a touch. Officially 2/10 of an inch. Big Damn deal. I'm not complaining. We badly need the rain. And it will still be a good day to ride to work today. No rain predicted during the day today.

But the upshot was that it was pretty muggy this morning. Every time I breathed into the helmet, yeah, you guessed it, Foggy Visor. In fact a good part of the time I was waiting to make that left turn previously mentioned, I had to leave my visor partially opened. Not all the way open, but partially. And as soon as I would close it, the fog would return. At just about every intersection I encountered today where I had to stop, I had to open up the visor a bit. Not bad, just a bit annoying. Oh well, there are worse things in life.

The Surprising Water Puddle

There was a lot of traffic today. Some days are like that. I left the house this morning a little after 8:00 am. Lots of cars. I had to wait a little bit just to make a right turn at Central and Woodlawn. Usually I get right through there. At this time of year, the sun is low in the morning sky. Not a problem for me, I ride westerly in the morning, but I am cautious about drivers going the other way being able to see me sometimes. Don't take everything for granted, you know. But people seemed to be careful this morning, just lots of people.

At one intersection there was a pretty good size puddle of water from last night's rain. The streets were otherwise dry as a bone, but this one puddle was creating splashes as cars went through it. This also cause the pavement to be wet for awhile after the puddle as the cars dropped the splashes back on to the street. There was enough traffic this morning that I wasn't able to see the water puddle until just before I encountered it. No real problem, just sort of a surprise. As I rode past I wondered how long it had been since Max's tires had been wet. It's been awhile, I'm sure. Just not sure how long. But, long it had to be.

The Aggressive(?) Lane Change

The ride downtown was largely uneventful, just lots of traffic this morning. I usually just maintain my space in the flow, keeping an eye out for what is around me, front, back, left or right of me. As I approach the downtown area, it is necessary to make another left turn and ride south a few blocks to get to where I park. I can make this turn at about 3 different intersections, just depending on my whim, but I do have a favorite place to make the turn.

But this morning there was a steady stream of cars in the lane left of me and I could tell I was going to have a little difficulty just changing lanes in order to be able to make the left turn. Now this has happened before, and on rare occasions, I just let the flow of traffic take me along even if I go past my favorite street to turn on. It's no problem to go back a bit. But I could see that it was pretty tight in the lane next to me and I didn't want to move into too small of a space and freak out the other drivers, much less me.

But then a red light appeared ahead. I was going to be first in line (in the right lane), and all those other cars were in a long line in the left lane. So I decided to gun it a little when the light turned green, hopefully get far enough ahead  of the car to the left of me to enable the lane change. Now, I knew this wouldn't work if the guy to the left of me at the light was going to also take out a little fast from the red light. But he didn't. And I easily got well in front and was able to change lanes. I hope I impressed the hell out of them! Oh, not really, but it worked out safely and fine.

The Smelly Parking Garage

Last week Max and I went together almost every day to work. On Thursday last week though, we arrived at the parking garage to a strong and distinct smell of a skunk. Yeah, you know what I'm talking about. Well, with the Labor Day weekend just past, I was hoping that the smell would have abated to just a distant memory, but alas, a faint smell of skunk still lingers in the garage. We narrowed the smell down to a pickup truck that we think is the culprit, but given the nature of the smell, our investigation didn't last long. We just wanted to get out of there and away from the smell. We have considered leaving a note on the windshield, but didn't think it would do any good, and we're not completely sure it was that truck.

In Summary

So today's ride was 1) Sometimes Frustrating, 2) Frequently Annoying, 3) Surprising, 4) Aggressive (?), and 5) Smelly.

Oh and I forgot to mention that the temperature was about 68F, sunny skies, almost no wind, and with clean crisp air after last night's rain. Just about perfect conditions with the possible exception of numbers 1 thru 5 above.

In short, it was a great ride!
Ride On and Carpe Diem, my Friends,



  1. Dear CPA3485:

    I have never been as confident in my left turns as I have been with my right, but I think that has to do with my arthritic hips, which are worse on the left.

    However, there were a lot of rally nasty intersections where I used to live, that hosted an inordinate number of accidents. My solution was not to make the left turn here, but to make the right, and to swing left at the first traffic light or parking lot that presented itself. I did this whenever I got that creepy feeling of a premonition.

    Why ask for trouble when you can easily step around it?

    The best part of a ride is using all of your five senses, (vision, smell, touch, speed, and swearing) on every ride. Nice blog episode today.

    Fondest regards,
    Twisted Roads

  2. Hey Jack,
    Appreciate the comments. This post was just an attempt to relate what happens sometimes on a 15 minute trek downtown. Sometimes lots of little things happen, none of real earth shattering significance, but sometimes possibly a little bit interesting.

    Can't wait to see that book. Is it being printed yet? Just curious, in no great hurry, but the anticipation is getting to me.