Wednesday, October 27, 2010

After the Exhibit - Philadelphia

I was in Philadelphia last Friday night and as I drove from one place to the other I kept exclaiming about so many bicyclists darting in front of our car (often helmetless), using and not using bike lanes, standing in contrast as human elements against a  steel and concrete backdrop.   It's as if I had to MAKE WAY for bicyclists, if only a touch. Wonderfully novel to a suburbanite! When in college I was among these urban types, too often darting through traffic with the false sense that the whistle in my mouth was a sufficient means to save my adolescent self from the chaos of metal laden traffic. Or is so much pedaling through traffic an experience to behold regardless of age? Is it vital? Spirited?  The bicyclists were weaving and wizzing and vital, there were no concerns among them.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Cycling in View

Sometimes I simply draw cycling landscapes...

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Excuse me, madam, but you are delusional.

Perhaps it was the child in the backseat of her mini-SUV that distracted her from the fact that she was in a right turn lane. And that if you’re in the right turn lane, you can’t go straight. 
I’ve been riding through the intersection of 21st Street and the Camp Hill Bypass for a couple years at this point, and knew I had the right of way: I take the center lane across the intersection and then begin to merge rightward so I’m in the right lane when I’m across this quagmire of traffic and merges.  But today I could hear car wheels right on my tail, and then I heard her incessant blaring horn, because she must have thought that I was in HER lane.  Those bicyclists, always in the way! Not that she went straight in a right-turn lane, no sir. Not that bicyclists in Pennsylvania are legally permitted to ride in car lanes.  No no….
Madam, you are simply delusional. And impulsive and angry.
As she passed me I bellowed, adrenaline pulsing through me, at the top of my lungs, “You’re in the wrong lane!” Unfortunately I can't say this will advance or improve things for me or the deluded one, but at least I released some bad karma.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Greyness Visited

Fall is settling in dear readers, and it can get grey.  Here's how grey it can be, as captured on my bike cam two years ago, on a rather grey day. Otherwise, my ride back and forth today was uneventful, with not even an American bicyclist in the mix.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

A Local and a Frenchman

By now my wide readership is probably well aware of the paltry state of bicycling in Central Pennsylvania. That is, the near-absence of bicyclists in general, not to mention bike lanes and the occasional peloton. No exception to the national average, PA commuters use bicycles on only 0.5% of their commutes (women only 0.2%!). Despite the small likelihood of meeting one of PA’s 29,316  cyclists (Census Bureau) in a given day, today I met TWO.  Is the bicycling utopia percolating?

My first encounter was only a ½ mile from the incorporated farmland that is my office. I caught up with him atop 21st Street, waiting for the traffic light below to turn green.  While we conserved our momentum I offered a hello, and we ended up riding together, talking all the while, for about a mile.  A Frenchman (a type who doesn’t end up in our population surveys), he quickly compared Central PA biking to the Parisian variety. No surprise he quickly remarked on the aggressive stance many drivers have about bicyclists. Ah Europe, with your many bicycles I've photographed!
Bicycles in Amsterdam
Dog and This Bicyclist in Arhnem

Bicycle in Copenhagen

A couple more miles into my ride and I exchanged a few words with a roady at a stop light.  We had only a couple minutes to exchange vitals: commuting distance, start and end points, how to deal with traffic. A brief but meaningful exchange.

Enjoyable as these rare encounters are, they’d be so much more common if denizens were roused from their combustion oriented life by clearly marked bike lanes, and signage that sanctions bicyclists!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Nod of the Head, Move of the Pole!

Today marks yet another civic courtesy among Central PA's utility corps! The Camp Hill borough is sometimes a squeeze on the morning commute, given its steady flow of east-west traffic and old narrow streets. Add some utility work to the overhead wires, with all the trucks and related accouterments, and it's a tight squeeze for me on my Trek 800. But lest my readers doubt the growing number of bicyclists and their importance in the interdependent commuting chain, know that another utility worker acknowledged me with a nod of his head as I rode toward him, followed by his lifting his "Slow" sign pole and stepping back a foot to permit me easier passage!  Surely the cynics in my wide readership scoff at the meaning of such a small gesture, but I know for certain that even one act of deference to a cyclist trickles down exponentially as a sign of great things to come!