Saturday, January 12, 2008

Biking/Cycling in the Gutter

Greetings Readers

Riding on the road. I am not sure what you readers picture/think when I say/write that.

I guess I take for granted what that sentence means and what that may mean to you.

When I ride on the road or in the Street that is sort of not the truth. I am actually riding in the gutter. The gutter (the concrete portion of the road) that is about foot to a foot and a half wide. I do ride in the streets when there is no gutter or as in winter there is snow and/or ice in the gutter. But only briefly then I go back into the gutter.

I do not believe in riding in the road. I know that as a driver that seeing a rider in the road just pisses me off and very, very deep inside I have this urge to drive as close as I can to this rider and show them that they do not belong in the road. No, I have not done this nor would I, but believe me readers my other friends have felt this and when you hear this from your friends this is something that is quite "normal".

So, that is one of the reasons I ride in the gutter. Yet, riding in the gutter did not come easy. Nor did I learn overnight. There was/is the danger of having your right pedal hit the curb. And you know that means. One hit and you could lose your balance and either go into the street or not in the street. Now, I can basically ride 6 to 8 inches from the curb and feel so comfortable.

Yet, with me finally learning to ride in the gutter I was able to learn to keep riding in a straight line. I do not weave all over the road, in a manner of speaking. I learned to be aware of where I was riding since in the gutter there are all sort of hazards/items. I learned to scrape my tires against the curb while riding. There is no reason for this except that I can.

Now, the picture that I have posted on today's blog is a picture of almost any road anywhere. Does not matter. There is the road, the gutter, and the sidewalk. Now, what would you readers choose to ride. I bet almost 90 percent of you would take the side walk. Yes, the nice wide sidewalk. Not to mention that you are going uphill so most of you readers will probably do some weaving of the bike. However, me I would still take the gutter. I do not have a reason why I would take the gutter as opposed to the empty road and sidewalk. That's just me.

On this particular road there is a sign that says "Share the road" which pictures a bike rider and car. So, the vehicles on this particular stretch of road really can not bent out of shape for me being in the gutter. Of course, that does not stop someone from not getting worked up for me being in the road/gutter.

Yet, riding in the gutter is sometimes not a option that I would take. On major travelled roads with a lot of traffic I will ride on the sidewalk. Period. With the heavy volume of vehicles I do not feel safe riding in the gutter. Also, the odds of "pissing off" drivers dramatically increases from a non-heavy volume road. Also tempting the Biking Gods as much as I have in the past 12 years may make the Biking Gods thinking twice about me. Hah hah.

At night I do not ride in the streets. Again, I may have biking lights everywhere on my bike, but with the dark and all that is still dangerous to even think about riding in the street.

Should you readers ask me do I ever ride in the street? Oh yes! Sunday morning with my Sunday Morning ritual. If you want to catch a glimpse of me just be one of the vehicles out on Arapahoe road early Sunday Morning. I actually love riding in the road (not in the gutter) biking like a mad crazy cyclist going west (downhill) on Arapahoe Road. Sometimes East if I am going to a different location to get my paper. That Sunday morning ritual is one of the reasons I like do my Sunday Morning ritual. To actually bike down a majorly travelled road that is empty is so TABOO. Yet, Sunday Morning I practically have the road to myself and the ride about mile and a half, never-the-less I am riding that length so quickly. So thank you to all the people who sleep in Sunday morning in the Arapahoe area. =)

My birthday came and went. The "mom and pop" liquor store that I frequent were very nice to me and gave me a tiny bottle of Vodka as a birthday present. That was such a nice gesture by her.

As the final minutes of my birthday was coming to an end I stopped by CB & Potts and had a few drinks and a Courtesy "birthday shot". Again a very nice gesture. A Washington Apple is what I think she called it.

By the way readers - the National Western Stock show has once more come to Denver and I think I might go tomorrow. I want to see some Cowgirls and those tight wranglers!

Until the next time

Daryl Charley
The Fallen Athlete

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