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Old 03-17-12, 04:40 PM   #1
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It was the best of rides, it was (almost) the worst of rides...

70F this morning, overcast skies and little wind.... and it's Saturday! So, I went for a ride. I managed to crack 30 miles for the first time: 31.18 according to my Strada, 31.01 according to SportsTrack Live. A couple of stops, but what the hey...

Now, before all of you Real Cyclists laugh, I'll make my standard disclaimer. A little over a year ago (Jan 1, 2011), I barely made it five miles from my house to my office and had to call my wife to bring me home. Granted, there were some little hill-ettes on that ride and this ride today was basically flat other than a freeway overpass (hills still kill me). But, since that New Year's Day ride I've logged only 455 miles and all things considered I'm pleased that I'm making progress. I want to ride more, but I ride when I can.

That's the 'best' part. The 'almost worst' part?

I was on the homeward leg on LA Hwy 1, which is a rural 55 MPH two-lane with shoulders and rumble strip about two feet off the outside white line. The shoulders are rougher, dirty and often glass-infested, so I was riding the outside line instead. There was light traffic, with a car passing once every two or three minutes. Since there was a bit of headwind, I was keeping my head mostly down, looking up every few seconds. There was no one in sight behind me and only one car coming my direction in the other lane. I glanced down at the road then back up and saw a pickup truck had darted out from behind the car and was passing it just as we all three met.

It was over before I had time to react. The truck passed about 10 inches from my left shoulder, with a closure speed of probably 70 MPH. I hope the driver just didn't see me... I HOPE he/she didn't see me and decide to pass anyway...

Five minutes later when I got to my destination, the reality of what just (almost) happened was sinking in. BTW, I got on the shoulder for the rest of the ride.

There's a somewhat recent thread about cyclists' prayers here on the forum... I thank God He answered my pre-ride prayer for protection and safety!

...and the worst part? There was no pie involved at all!!! I may have to find that chocoate cake in the kitchen before too long....

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Old 03-17-12, 05:56 PM   #2
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Good ride, Len, and congrats on the 30 miles! Glad the encounter between you and the truck wasn't any closer than it was.

I was riding in a bike lane the other day in a fashion similar to that which you described. Looked up, and here comes another cyclist riding the wrong way in the bike lane He must have been a total noob.

Sounds like you're likin' the new ride.
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Old 03-17-12, 05:56 PM   #3
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Wear bright clothes. White, black, forest green, tan.....never. Use a blinking front light even in daytime. Ride on any shoulder whenever it's present.
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Old 03-17-12, 06:43 PM   #4
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On the road we're at the mercy of a lot of morons.

You ARE a real cyclist! Compared to the general population of the United States of Obesity and Inactivity, you are in the top 1-2%. But there are a lot of guys here who are in fantastic shape. I try to use them as a source of inspiration, but sometimes the Green Eyes of Envy take over.
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Old 03-17-12, 07:05 PM   #5
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Wow, that story was well written! I felt like I was there watching it unfold.

The other day I had my own Close Encounter of the Wrong Kind, when a couple of teens in an SUV pulled up from behind me until they were parallel with me (and about 10 inches to my left), and the passenger on the right hand side had his window rolled down, and when he got right up next to me, he yelled "I hope you crash!!!" and then the driver gunned it and they took off. Unfortunately for them, they did not get their wish.
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Old 03-17-12, 07:16 PM   #6
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To respond en-bulk...

John: Thanks! Yep, I like the bike. Way better than the previous 40 lb land cruiser, as you know since you picked it up.

Monoborracho: When the weather is cooler I often wear an extremely bright windbreaker, but my current kit is blue. Just like my bike. Maybe it should be electric blue. Honestly, I don't think any color at all would have prevented what happened this afternoon, but bright is better than dull, no doubt.

Dudelsack: Thanks! I just try to keep things in context. You know, 'keep a good huntin' dog hungry' kinda thing.

DG: Thanks, too. The only one 'event' of any kind I've experienced was someone who no doubt thought they were being cute by riding their horn behind me for a while. But that was only once.

My wife and I were driving home after dinner last night and saw a motorcyclist nearly get KO-ed by a car that swerved to avoid another one stopping in front of them. The front vehicle *did* stop quickly, but by definition if there's not room to stop, then you're following too closely.

Gotta be careful.
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Old 03-17-12, 08:04 PM   #7
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Good for you with exceeding 30 miles. Riding further is a great accomplishment and proves that you're making progress.

As for the close encounter, that really sucks and one of the huge negatives with riding in close proximity with traffic. I've only been riding for apx. 9 months and already endured rude behavior and a couple of close calls. The last one would have killed me if I didn't swerve right at the last second (just don't tell my wife, she's already paranoid enough).

I do believe in bright clothing, it appears to help. There seems to be a noticeable difference in how drivers react and give space when I'm wearing bright versus dark clothing.

Here's something to consider, not bulky or to hot, it's become my favorite piece of cycling clothing.....I need more.

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Old 03-17-12, 08:35 PM   #8
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Well done Phil. I wold not pay any attention to the number of miles ridden. It takes several years to build the endurance for long rides. My advice, enjoy the miles you are able to do. On my very first ride, as an asthmatic, at 100 yards I had to stop for a rest.

We can't control what others do so we have to be particularly vigilant since we are so vulnerable as cyclists. I do my best to anticipate situations that reduce our odds for safety and always wear something in safety yellow. If I can think of something else, I'll do that too.
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Old 03-17-12, 11:00 PM   #9
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Congratulations lphilpot on your accomplishments.

Dangerous, reckless, incompetent and down right devious behavior is not just from drivers, but also from other cyclists, dog walkers, kids and on and on. But the worst outcome is of course from the automobiles. (Although dogs leashes spanning the entire width of the bike path is not far behind)

I so often wonder why there isn't anymore accidents!

Cyclists in all black outfits look really cool, fast and stylish, but are so hard to see! That is why I ride with very bright color jerseys, front and rear bright blinking lights with very well fitted red fenders for 23s and white and red reflective tape on them. (highly thought after Cooper British hand built frame)

It has made a difference for sure, but there is still the moron lurking out there from time to time.

On my ride today I had a driver cutting me off in the bicycle lane to make a right turn while my front light was blinking brightly in her review mirrors, her excuse could not have been that she/he did not see me! Astonishing to say the least! (I did yell moron)

Stay safe out there on the road.

ps. I may still get one of these:

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Old 03-18-12, 12:09 AM   #10
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You're doing fine with your riding... and I'm glad you are safe. ("hillettes"= very clever and made me chuckle)
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Old 03-18-12, 02:32 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by VNA View Post
The supplied bracket is for quite small diameter bars. Mine is zip-tied on to the bars - no great problem, but it's no longer quick release which made it easier for re-filling
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