Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Remembering (And Really Liking) the Road Bike

Before Sunday the road bike had been out of the garage three times: once for the usual ride to work and twice to participate in someone else’s triathlon. That changed Sunday with a 30 mile ride and another 30 miles today. All of it within the city limits.

I and a handful of others have attached ourselves to a city planning project. We have maps of all the “collector” roads in sections of the city. Our job is to ride the roads and rate them for riding comfort. It’s groundwork for an attempt at a Sioux Falls Bike Map or at least better “bike route” markings.

Sunday I hooked up with The Owner and we headed out on a tour of some of the busiest streets in the city. It was evident that Sunday traffic was in effect as we had very little trouble most of the time.

I counted a “woop” from someone we rode by but The Owner wanted it classified as more of a “woot.” The most excitement happened on a road marked “for experienced riders only”; a generous description even without having ridden it. We knew that leg would be bad news but wanted to give the street an opportunity to prove us wrong. Sure enough, while we were on the shoulder-less bridge, a car sped past us using some of the oncoming lane, causing an oncoming car to almost completely stop. And then honk. Ugh.

This afternoon for lunch we marked off some additional routes, this time with the added pleasure of Eayste fresh from the 24 Hours of Afton. I can confirm the mark on his shin is going to be with him for a very long time.

The three of us enjoyed our own little noon time critical mass ride on a road marked “not acceptable for any level of bicycle rider.” How can three riders make critical mass? Believe me; our mass put together can be considered critical.

The most exciting thing this trip was a car moving in to pass us and noticing they’d be poorly positioned for an upcoming stop sign so they repositioned to the right, pulverizing Eayste between them and a parked car. Truly no contact was made. Downtown speed limits being what they are and traffic being what it is, we all got to enjoy each others company for the next 2-ish miles till they found their lunch destination.

By the way - if you see the owner - you might ask him what sort of birds these are.

(I bet I just lost my riding privileges.)

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