Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Sci-Fi Wasabi
Bikes: I built the Bianchi track bike back up today.
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I dusted 50 gradeschoolers today - and felt good about it.
So I was running late for work. Push the Tempo is the last song to play on my computer before I hit the road, about 10 min later than usual, but I'm pretty sure I'll make it. There's plenty of time. Since I wasn't wearing bike shorts, I figured that taking the trails would be the best route, and I wanted to follow the advice of the song, and try for a little better time...
So I head for the trail entrance, and see something pretty unusual. There's like 50 grade school kids, maybe 11-13 years old heading down the path in the direction I need to go. There's a 180 turn at the bottom, and I slowed down to let them pass, but there were too many of them. The first thing that I notice that seems to be strange about these kids is that one of them about three kids back from the ones passing me slows down to make a hole for me to turn into. Hmm..
All the kids were riding at most two abreast as well, and staying within the lines of their direction of travel. Again, weird. Most kids you see on the Greenway are just all over the place. If I remember right, they were all wearing helmets, too. I think the pace was about 12mph, but I'm not sure. I didn't see any adults with them, but they could have been at the back of the line, making sure no-one got dropped...
It was 2pm, so most of them were probably supposed to be in school. Maybe it was a school program or something? They seemed to have been taught safe bicycling... Actually I was probably the most unsafe biker of the bunch. I tried to move to the left of them and pass going the wrong way down the path, but there were a couple bikes coming up, and the trail was really narrow right there. A little later, the trail widens up a lot, and I ended up passing a bunch of them on the right in the ped path. There was a ped up ahead, so I looked for a gap in the kids so I could head the wrong way in the bike lane. There was a space big enough that I could it in time (easier than slowing and looking back for a spot) so I sped up to about 22mph and did a quick left swerve through the hole. I didn't call 'on your right' or anything - I thought that might actually make the kids move and eliminate the hole. The ped was about 10 feet in front of me when I swerved. Brakeless. I do feel kind of bad about that. I was slightly endangering a bunch of kids and a ped (sorry, don't know gender/age/anything about them, they're just 'a ped') because I'm late for work. God only knows what could have happened if I was in a car trying these moves on the freeway.
The kids were cool, though. The kid I merged in front of didn't freak out - he actually yelled at me. "Hey - I know you! I saw you earlier today! Remember?!?!" I told him I just left my house, so it couldn't have been me, and poured on more steam. There were more bikes in the distance, and I didn't know how fast we were going to close the gap. Spun with everything that I was worth and passed the next 100 feet of kids in record time, then moved back in the correct lane. That's what I felt good about - when I looked down at the computer, I was going 27mph, and I kept it right in that area up until the stopsign where the trail used to end.
I slowed to let a car pass, and kind of lost momentum. I wasn't able to get above 23 the rest of the ride. I must have just poured too much on at the start, but that's OK. I still ended up with an average over 16, which is really pretty good. I'm too lazy to figure out what the cadence for that would have been. It was also about 16:30 to get to work, which was on the long route. Still a long way from the 22 some mph I need to make my commute in 10min, but still up from last month.
It's going to suck to have to start slowing down when the snow flies...