Monday, October 26, 2009

Finally Back in the Saddle

I was finally able to do some riding over the past few days. 12 miles on Thursday. Today I chose a new route and managed 22 miles. I really liked today's route and will probably do it again. More than half of it was on 2-lane roads. Although they are sometimes heavily traveled the traffic (on a Sunday afternoon) was manageable. The route is a large loop that first heads north then turns west. On the south leg it crosses part of Lake Allatoona, then turns east and takes me through town before returning me to my home. Lots of climbing (for me anyway) but the hills weren't too steep. Well, there was one that was almost too steep, but I managed to make it. Parts of this route I have never seen before, either on a bike or in a car. So it was only natural that I missed a turn. I was looking for the street and was expecting to see a traffic light at the intersection. As a consequence I blew right by it. I went an extra 2 miles (at least) before coming across a major highway that I wasn't supposed to encounter. I did a U-turn and headed back to find the right road. It added about 4 miles to my trip, but that's supposed to be part of the adventure.

Unfortunately it was on my detour that I encountered The Rude Driver. This stretch of road was 4 lanes: two in each direction. Traffic was light enough that cars had no trouble using the second lane to get by me. As always I was riding as close to the right shoulder as conditions allowed. Then I heard a very loud horn. It easily lasted 10 seconds. This was no "beep beep", this was solid blaring horn for a long time and was the sound of one very irate driver. I was apparently the source of his irritation. I looked over my shoulder and saw a red pickup behind me with plenty of room to his left to get around. The shoulder opened up to a right turn lane so I moved a bit further right to clear the lane. As he pulled past me he gestured to me with a motion that was clear he thought I should be on the sidewalk. Well I wanted to say "Too bad! I am a vehicle and I have every right to use the roadways. It is unsafe and perhaps even illegal for me to ride on the sidewalk." Unfortunately I did not have the opportunity to actually say that, and I doubt it would have made any difference anyway. So I rode on. Next time maybe I should just "take the lane".

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