30 Days of Biking update

I commuted by bicycle Friday. It was cold and it was windy. I seemed to be riding in slow-mo as I went west. I barely had to pedal my bike as I headed east. My ride home was after midnight, so I’ve already got my ride in for Saturday.

30 days

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Cars vs. pedestrians and bicycle riders

My wife likes to say “all drivers are idiots.” She tells my son that all the time when we are out and about. I tell him that too many drivers are completely unaware of pedestrians. They don’t walk anywhere and just assume no one else does.

Just because a pedestrian has the right-of-way doesn’t mean the driver is going to give it to you. Drivers, after all, are in machines that can and do kill. Pedestrians have no protection, except, we hope, the law.

In recent weeks, at least three pedestrians have been hit by cars and killed in Fort Wayne. All were on roads without sidewalks. One was killed crossing a busy road. He got hit, stood up and then got hit again. One death is one too many. All three are senseless. In all three cases, it’s easy to blame the victim. All were out at night. At least one was walking with traffic instead of against traffic. None, as far as know, was wearing reflective clothing to make it easier for drivers too see. But I’m not going to blame the victims. They had a right to be out on the streets. Maybe they had no other choice to be where they were the nights they were killed. Drivers need to be aware that people walk on or near those roads too.

We had a brutal winter with record snowfall. Too many sidewalks weren’t cleared. Some that were cleared were blocked by piles of snow left at the curb by city snowplows. Other sidewalks were blocked by piles of snow that were plowed off parking lots. Many people had no choice but to walk in the street to get around those snow piles. I know, I walked in the street nearly every day from early January to the end of March.

My dog and I nearly got hit by a car a few weeks ago. We were walking down the street and a car came up to the street were on. It was a T intersection. The driver barely slowed down, looked to his left and turned right nearly right into my dog and me. I’m not sure why he was in such a hurry that he couldn’t stop at the stop sign. Why he couldn’t look to his right too. It’s happened on more than one occasion along that street. Drivers turning right only look left and nearly hit pedestrians. I see it at red lights too. I think right turn on red is the worst traffic law around. If I ruled the world (and thank God I don’t), right turn on red would be outlawed immediately. I didn’t like it when I had a car and was driving everywhere, and I sure don’t like it now that I get around by foot or by bicycle.

I commute to work daily by bicycle. I wear an orange safety vest most of the time and always at night. I always wear a helmet and have working lights. I don’t ride particularly fast (I was passed three days in a row over the winter by Jimmy Johns delivery bikes).

I didn’t intend for this blog this afternoon to be a rant. But I saw this blog from Bikeyface, and it got me thinking. I think she might be on to something. Bikeyface lives in the Boston area. Boston traffic is far worse than Fort Wayne’s. Still, I think some of her suggestions could apply here.

On the good news front, I read yesterday that Indianapolis is getting a bike share program, and that the Pacers basketball team is sponsoring it. I live 120 miles from Indy, but as far as I know, that’s the closest city with bike share. Even if I hadn’t been rooting for the Pacers to win the NBA title. I am now. Yes, I know LeBron James sometimes rides his bicycle to the arena in Miami.

share the road

 

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30 Days of Biking hits a snag already

Today is April 4 and I haven’t been on my bike in two days. Yesterday was rainy all day, so I decided to just hunker down and stay indoors. We went to the TinCaps season opener yesterday evening, but we walked to Parkview Field rather than ride bikes. It was a far-from-ideal night for baseball. The first few innings were played in a constant drizzle. We decided to leave after 6 innings with the hometown TinCaps down 9-0 to the Great Lakes Loons. The weather was definitely more suited for Loons than TinCaps.

Today, my son and I rode the bus across town to the library branch where my wife works for a homeschool program. It was really foggy when we got on the bus. I hope to get my bike out this afternoon and ride to work.

 

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More from the first day of 30 Days of Biking

It’s now during the day on April 1, the first day of the 30 Days of Biking challenge. I am sitting in a branch of the public library after riding my bicycle from home. The library is about 2 miles from my home.

So technically, I’ve ridden my bike twice today, though I still think of last night’s ride home from work as being yesterday, March 31. The ride, though, was after midnight.

Today is extremely windy. The wind is coming straight out of the west, and this library branch is west of home, so the ride was slow, especially with three busy streets to cross without the benefit of a traffic light. It took 25 minutes to ride 2 miles. I could have run it faster than that. But I still would have had to cross those three busy streets.

30 days

 

 

 

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30 Days of Biking underway

Although I still consider today March 31, the clock on my computer says it’s April 1, and I have already ridden my bicycle the first day of the 30 Days of Biking Challenge. I rode home from work. The GPS on my phone says I went .90 mile, although I went farther than that. For some reason, the GPS kicked off along the way. I don’t know why. I’ve discovered the GPS on my phone is a nice tool, but it’s far from perfect.

It’s beautiful outside. It’s the first night I rode home all year without wearing my mittens. I wore a stocking cap under my helmet. That was mistake. It’s too warm for a hat. I rode to work today hatless, I think my first hatless ride of the year.

After all the polar vortexes we had plus a record snowfall this winter. It sure was nice to be outside without worrying about staying warm. This last day of March/first day of April warmup is only fooling us. Colder air is forecast later in the week. And rain, but I don’t think snow.

30 days

 

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Baseball! Already?

Sometime over the weekend in Sydney, Australia, the major league baseball season will begin when the LA Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks square off at the cricket grounds.

Baseball in Australia? What’s the world coming to? Actually, I don’t find it all that unusual. Several players over the years who have suited up for our local Midwest League club, the TinCaps, were from Australia. And our new manager, Michael Collins, is an Aussie. He played several years in the minors, including a couple in the Midwest League, so the cold April weather shouldn’t be too much of a shock.

Every year, as the baseball season approaches, I try to read a baseball-related book. In years past I’ve read Eight Men Out, the story of the 1919 Chicago White Sox scandal; I Don’t Care if I Ever Get Back, a story about a 20th-century businessman who suddenly finds himself barnstorming with the 1869 Cincinnati Red Stockings; and more recently The Bullpen Gospels and Out of My League, books by former pitcher Dirk Hayhurst. (Hayhurst spent a summer pitching in Fort Wayne when the team still played under the Wizards name.)

I recently finished reading John Feinstein’s latest book, Where Nobody Knows Your Name, a look at players, managers and an umpire who were part of the 2012 International League season. The IL is a Triple-A league, one step below the majors. The book is full of anecdotes, such as the time the Norfolk Tides were supposed to fly from Columbus, Ohio, to Norfolk, Va., only to have their flight canceled because of a mechanical issue. The team scrambled and found four flights to put members of the team on. Two flights went to Norfolk, two to Richmond, Va. The manager got to the ballpark not knowing if he’d have enough players to field a team for that night’s game. On top of that he got a call from the parent club, the Orioles. That night’s scheduled starter for the Tides was wanted in Baltimore. He was being called up. The manager tapped a pitcher who was normally a reliever to start that night, and somehow the Tides won.

Another story was about a pitcher who had been called up to the New York Mets. While the Mets were in Pittsburgh, the player was sent back down to Buffalo. There were no available flights from Pittsburgh to Buffalo, so the Mets put him on a fight from Pittsburgh to JFK and then from JFK to Buffalo. Well, when he got to JFK, his flight to Buffalo was canceled because of the weather, so the Mets hired a driver to drive him from New York City to Buffalo, N.Y. While they were still in the City, one of the windshield wipers on the car broke. The driver pulled into a gas station in the Bronx, got the blades replaced. Some hours later, they got a flat tire. They decided to stop for the night in Binghamton. That was only the beginning of this pitcher’s odyssey.

I highly recommend Feinstein’s book.

Baseball is my favorite sport to watch, and I am looking forward to another great season here in Fort Wayne over at Parkview Field as well as the new-look Detroit Tigers as they attempt to repeat as AL Central champs.

 

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Why do we run?

Earlier this morning I finished Dean Karnazes’ Ultramarathonman: Confessions of an all-night runner. I’ve been reading Run Wild by Boff Whalley. Both men have very different takes on running. Both took long breaks from running. Whalley ran a marathon in 1981 and then didn’t run again for several years before he discovered trail running, and that’s all he does now. Karnazes was a freshman in high school and he went out for track when he had a disagreement with the coach and then never ran again until his 30th birthday.

Karnazes uses a 199-mile run as a backdrop for his book. He tells the story of how he gave up running rediscovered it and fell into ultramarathoning. Whalley uses the New York City Marathon as the backdrop for his book. A marathon, I might add, he would never run. He sees the urban marathon as an attempt to control people.

This brings me to fellow blogger and runner Tanya Isch Caylor. Last  month, she ran an indoor marathon at Goshen College in Goshen, Ind. I enjoyed reading her accounts of training, running laps at the YMCA using years as lap counters. I enjoyed reading her accounts of long runs on a treadmill. In all, I think it takes a special kind of runner to run an indoor marathon on a track. A few years ago, I spent the winter running on the indoor track at IPFW. I always lost count of my laps. I tried to break up the monotony of running laps by running a lap or two fast then a lap or two slow and then another walking. Once the winter was over, I let my membership lapse and I returned to running outdoors.

Which brings me back to Whalley and Karnazes. I want to run an ultramarathon and I want to increase my running on trails. Trouble is, most of the trails near my house are paved. There are parks that have unpaved trails. One is used by mountain bikers. I have done a lot of hiking in that park. I’ve done some running there. When (if) the weather ever improves, I’ll be going over there and run. The other day as I walked home from the Home and Garden Show at the Coliseum, I noticed the area around Johnny Appleseed’s grave (Yes, John Chapman, aka Johnny Appleseed, is buried in Fort Wayne.), I noticed little bridge over a small creek and some hills. That, I thought, would be a good place to run off road.

Now, I’ve just got to get off my arse and start running again.

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