|Trace The Mitten|
A heat advisory got me out the door early for a ride. I decided to explore an area that was new and happen upon a hidden parking lot and a labyrinth of connecting roads. The area was hidden by weed and shrub growth. It looked like the developer did the roads and curbs then ran out of money.
Later in my ride I happened upon a tree which had fallen last night during the storm. I love an exploration rides because I always can discover something.
During today's ride I learned something and I remembered some previous lessons.
Today I rode the Polly Ann Trail, a rail trail topped mainly with crushed limestone. and some areas are dirt . Our recent severe rains may have some areas slippery or loose grave/sand.l I had not rode this path since last summer and I remembered that the mountain bike would be the best. The wider tires proved effective . I had forgotten about the horse riders that often use the trail and luckily I was able to avoid horse piles.
When I ride 25 miles on dirt and rocks it takes more effort than riding thin tires on pavement. Today took more effort than I expected.
This ride was going to be the longest ride on the mountain bike and I would not use my touring seats. I decided to take my slip on gel seat for added comfort. After about 4 miles I stopped to take the gel cover off and kept it in my pack for the rest of the ride. That gel cover mad the seat too wide and shifted frequently and made my effort less efficient. I will leave the gel seat cover at home next time.
When I took off the seat cover I also moved the seat forward. I was sitting too far back and I was stretching too far to the handlebar. Both adjustments made the ride more comfortable.
My riding posture on a mountain bike is different than my tour bike. When I ride my mountain bike I get out of the saddle more than my rides on the touring bike. By the end of ride my back ached from staying in one position. It would have helped today if I stood up occasionally.
The first time I rode this trail years ago I needed to stop and use the vault toilets at one of the parking areas and the toilet paper was gone. Since that trip I have always packed some TP. Good thing today because they were out again.
I did not bring enough snacks. I ate my snacks on the drive over. My Nunn hydration drink is sugarless and I was running out of gas. Three miles from the end I stopped for an ice cream cone. I felt the immediate boost.
Be ready to be schooled anytime you ride.
Today's lessons: 1. bring enough snacks 2. bring toilet paper 3. know your bike 4. be prepared for the possible road conditions.
Neither of these two accidents involved me or a bicycle, but they make me think about safety because they occurred at two different major intersections during daylight only a half mile east and west away from my place. I cycle through these about everyday.
These intersections are major county road arteries and bother spread to six lanes wide with motor vehicles going every which way. The speed limit is 45 through the crossing.
Crosswalks are used by pedestrians and cyclists. I abide by the crosswalk signal and I am always alert to what the speeding and standing cars may do that could involve me. I stand there feeling very small and vulnerable. Accidents today may have occurred because a driver misjudged or was not focused. How many times have you seen someone talking on the phone as they were during.
Rules that I try to remember.
1. Don't figure that they see you. Bright colors do help, but there are no guarantees of being seen.
2. Don't make assumptions about what the driver will do. What did they tell me? When you ASSUME, you make an ASS of U and ME.
3. Do not blindly enter a crosswalk. The crosswalk light may be one, but it may mean that "You were dead right." In may early years I remember being told, "Stop, Look and Listen when crossing a street."
4. Make eye contact with drivers. Smile . Wave. They will usual do it back at you.
5. Obey the lights. We expect drivers to follow signals and drivers get upset, and rightfully so, when people disregard the rules of the road.
6. Don't encourage road rage. We hear too many terrible stories about good judgement going out the window and resulting in injury and death. Gestures and profane language only escalate the situation. I remember that my bike is smaller than the car and much slower. People have very good memories when it comes to "jerks".
7. Hand signals can be confusing. "You go. NO, You go. NO NO, you go.... Don't make the situation uncertain.
8. Figure that everyone is in a hurry and their mind is thinking about where they are going. When I bike I am in a hurry too. I am trying meet some important achievement that can seem trivial if I am injured or I cause an accident.
9. Have a plan. When a situation is looking out of control where do I go and what will I do?
10. Many drivers will go into the crosswalk so they can see the cross traffic. Watch out.
What can you suggest to add. Be safe