Saturday, March 31, 2012

Adopt a bike lane designer

Do bike lane designers actually ride bikes?  How about construction workers on road crews?  I think not.

Yesterday morning, as I biked through a languishing road construction project in the dark, I encountered a temporary "uneven pavement" sign in the middle of the bike lane.  Lucky for me, I have a bright headlight and the signboard itself was reflective.  Click on the digitally-brightened photo at left for a better view (snapped from a video).  This nonsense happens all the time.

This is the same section of road where workers routinely set out traffic cones in the bike lane every month.  The crews only work a few days per month, since DOT starts more projects than it can ever finish to mollify whining legislators.  And every month, unknown unheralded cyclists routinely move them out of the bike lane into the grass, where they stand valiantly until the next month.

Earlier this week, the same crews repainted a temporary bike lane on the opposite side of this road where two car lanes merge into one.  The dotted-line bike lane crosses directly across the right lane, which results in cyclists abruptly forcing cars to merge.  No thanks.  It's already a racetrack where cars sprint from a traffic light to beat the other guy to the merge.  Now I'm not cycling anywhere near this mess with cars around.  Here's a [20-second video].  Luckily, our local cycling advocate met with DOT and they promise a fix soon.

Perhaps we should start an "Adopt a bike lane designer" mentoring program...

Saturday, March 24, 2012

RUSA schwag

Medals:  $10

Letters from RUSA presidents:  Priceless

Sunday, March 4, 2012

"You are a liar, and I wasn't born yesterday"

I rode the RUSA Carthage Coffee Run 200K again today.  Here are a bunch of tidbits, followed by the signature story of the ride.  Thanks to Jayjay for the photo at the finish.

- The overnight rain stopped just before the start of today's ride.  Woo hoo.
- I did not fall off my bike when my wheels slipped crossing the wet diagonal rails of the New Hope Valley Railway, where they cross New Hill Olive Chapel Rd.
- The two dozen dogs who greeted me were all friendly.
- Traffic was extremely light all day.
- I enjoyed an elusive double tailwind.  The delightful tailwind which spoiled me outbound reversed direction shortly after the turnaround in Carthage.
- At three different times, cars waited patiently for oncoming traffic before passing me safely.
- The predicted afternoon rainstorms never materialized.
- I got to pace a slow freight train, riding almost the same speed as the train, on a section where Old US 1 closely parallels the CSX mainline.
- A funny intuition made me to slow to a crawl as I approached a clueless pedestrian with earphones and dog on the American Tobacco Trail (ATT).  My shouts "On your left" and my bell went unheard just before they abruptly crossed the trail directly into my path.  Uff da.
- I did not fall off my bike while riding in the soupy 'mud feature' on the ATT in Durham County.

A dapper senior gentleman with a zipped leather day-planner book pounced on me at the Sanford checkpoint.  He asked several questions.  First, he asked if I was scouting the route for a bike race in Sanford next month.  He was disappointed I was not.  Next, he asked where I was going.  He was incredulous when I answered Carthage (20 miles / 32km away).  "CARTHAGE!" he shouted in disbelief.  Finally, after describing the last time he had been hit by a car while bicycling, he asked where I had started from.  I said Durham (42 miles / 68km away).  With that, he stared, straightened, and slowly said "Uh huh", in a tone I've heard from many Southern Gentlemen as a way of saying "You are a liar, and I wasn't born yesterday".  With that he turned crisply, said "Ride safe", and walked off.

A great day on the bike.