Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Random Riding - Cycling Coincidence

Most gentle readers here know by now. I'm bicycle trekking across Iowa in July. Four hundred miles - its not the heat, its the stupidity becoming my mantra. The recommended number of training miles prior to RAGBRAI is 5 - 600. Being a part time obsessive - and not wanting to sag too badly - I've managed to log about 1000 miles in the saddle since March. It's kind of surprising considering how they accumulate...one revolution at a time...one mile at a time.

But here's a Bob with a real story. Bob Lee is riding across the entire US this year. He's raising funds for 3 reasons - American Cancer Society, Les Turner ALS Foundation and National Hospice Foundation. I really enjoyed this post titled everyone has a story. Part of it is that Bob is cycling in the Great North West right now.

My training has resulted in biking to work 3-4 days per week. Its about an hour ride. Temperatures in the 40's and 50's in the AM with 60's and 70's in the PM make it a pleasurable excursion. Still there is morning traffic - in a rush to get to work - and evening traffic - in a rush to get to home. I've discovered something.

There are at least two types of drivers - considerate and inconsiderate. The odd part is the utter randomness of their actions. One driver will make a right turn inches from me...the next driver will let me pass through and then turn. One driver will get right on my tail...another will keep a safe distance. One driver will stay as close to the curb as possible...the other will go out of the way to change lanes and share the road. Just when it feels like I have it figured out...the random happens. I'm either pleasantly surprised or exceedingly shocked.

I haven't been hit and only a few close calls. The point? Respect the randomness of every day life. I'll go so far as to say embrace the random nature of humanity.

Especially on a bike :) - I'm falling in love with my bike commute.

Here's a couple cool cycling sites - I'll post more specifics - and my reactions - on RAGBRAI soon. Be sure to check out Bob Lee's Ride for 3 Reasons site and blog.

Bike Iowa


Mario said...

Cool! I like to bike often as well, although I'd like to upgrade sometime soon as the gears are very worn and don't change as easily.
It's more fun than running, although it takes longer to burn as many calories as I do in a 40 min jog.

Ryan Karpeles said...

Wow, Bob. That's quite impressive. Best of luck :)

And as far as drivers go, I think context affects how considerate we are. If we're rushed, frustrated and annoyed, we tend to be less forgiving.

If we're in a better mood, we let people slide, slow down for pedestrians, etc.

Anyway, I hope no one mows you down on your ride!

BobG said...

Hey Mario - thanks for commenting...I'm so hooked, now I'm thinking of another bike LOL - and you're quite right about burning calories. But I don't run :) - except once ;) at least there's a picture to prove it.

Thanks for the good wishes Ryan! Hope I don't get flattened, too - good observation from the driver POV...I know thats what affects mean when I'm behind the wheel. Always trying to remember "Breathe deep" -

Mario said...

Although I'm still on official blog break, I still surf around and comment here and there

I never really get riffed by drivers, but I do get upset at other bikers that don't follow some basic rules of the road. I see sometimes people biking on the road against the traffic (how brain-dead can a person be?? If I got hit, I'd rather be pushed forward then come to complete a complete wham). In those cases, use the sidewalk instead.

Did you hear about Shimano's work in auto-shifting? I'd love to try it out to see how it feels. They have some consumer model info here:
And some advanced system info here:
I don't have $1500 in disposable income but it sounds like a fun toy that I'd purchase over a bagful of techno gadgets anyday.

BobG said...

And I'm glad you comment here Mario. I'm with you on other riders - gives all of us a bad rap. The one that burns me up is riding on the sidewalk or without helmet -

Thanks for the links - A friend of mine was all hot to get the auto shifter this year. Another one went the opposite direction and got a "fixie" - fixed gear.

This is just the second season I've ridden with any serious intent and digging it - beyond my imagination. IF (big if) I had $1500 to spend it would be tough for me to choose between:
New bike - I might could get 2 for just a little more :)
Upgraded pc - mine here at home is giving me fits but still workable. I'd likely go with a mac.
Another guitar - even though I can only play one at at time, :) maybe could find a nice Martin