Bikes behaving badly, cars behaving badly

Tuesday morning, Kevin and I headed over Jefferson, stopping at Canada and checked left & right to make sure it was safe, before heading across. But it’s not just cars we have to watch out for. Check out the graphic above, a Strava screenshot showing one of a group of cyclists heading south on Canada Road, right as we got there. Strava conveniently laid out a data point exactly in the middle of the intersection.  You’d expect to see a cyclist, at that point, doing maybe 5 or 10mph. Not 25.9mph.

That group of cyclists blew through the stop sign without bothering to slow down at all. It’s a group that commutes from SF to Mountain View on a regular basis; we’ve seen them frequently. This is, quite literally, how they roll. 26 miles per hour through a stop sign.

Sure, you can shave off a lot of time blowing through stop signs on  your way to work, but what if everyone felt entitled to do so? Our paths cross with this group more often than not as we’re heading to the start of the Tuesday/Thursday-morning ride; obviously they keep to a schedule just like us, and they’ve managed to keep to that schedule, within a minute or two, even after riding 20+ miles with a number of stop lights & signs along the way. Doesn’t take much to figure out how. Next time you’re minding your own business, riding where you ought to be, sharing the road with motorists and yet somebody comes up behind you blaring their horn and maybe shouting you should be on a bike path, you might now have an idea who the motorists had come across previously.
And then there was this morning’s ride. We missed crossing paths with the SF-Mountain View commuters by maybe 10-20 seconds, for what it’s worth. But today it was a motorist’s opportunity to play stupid, up on Skyline. Foggy & damp conditions, and you can see what’s playing out in the photo above. There were three of us; myself, Kevin & Karen, all of us with bright flashing lights up front, and here’s this guy in the other direction passing not one but two cars, and probably would have passed a third had he not seen us and cut back very sharply in front of the car above.

If we hadn’t had lights… who knows. It’s hard to believe how many cyclists we see, on days like this, without flashing lights front or rear. Sometimes even dressed head to toe in black. Please, let them know you exist! High quality flashing lights can be seen great distances and make a motorist aware there are others out there on the road.

Chris Froome and I have something in common

This morning’s Giro d’Italia stage saw Chris Froome come unglued from the leading riders, watching them ride on ahead while he got to think about the time he’s losing and how to minimize his losses. It was a moment of weakness in a race that, for him, is defined by unusual and difficult scenarios, beginning with the doping issue hanging over his head (he was tested at twice the legal amount of Albuterol during last-summer’s Tour of Spain, as yet unresolved in terms of penalty) plus his goal of winning both the Giro and the Tour de France in the same year. Watching him ride this morning was painful to watch. But he stayed cool and in interviews, talks the long game, knowing that we’re not even halfway through with the biggest climbs ahead, plus a time trial where he’s expected to do very well.

And of course, all his issues started because of a breathing problem. Like me, he uses an Albuterol inhaler before hard physical efforts, to help his lungs work better. But Chris Froome, on his very worst day, can outride me on an e-bike on a great day. Maybe I need to take enough to trigger a positive doping test?

OK, today’s ride- Solo ride as Kevin has recently developed (or re-developed, since this has happened before) a very sore knee. My thinking is that he doesn’t have enough base miles to support the hard-charging hill climbing he’s capable of. I don’t know how he does it; he can skip quite a few rides and still ride very hard & fast up Kings, Old LaHonda, Tunitas, you name it.

It would have been nice to be just a bit warmer and not have to wear a base layer and leg warmers, but really can’t complain too much; it was between 54-64 degrees. No need for long-fingered gloves anyway! West Old LaHonda was too slow to mention and had me wondering if I’d make it back in time for mother’s day dinner. I recovered a bit on Haskins, and arrived in Pescadero feeling pretty good. Mtn Dew and an Ollalieberry Strudel and I was fueled up for the return.

Stage Road… could have been more fun without a tail wind. Why? Because in the Strava era, you can’t waste a tail wind. You have to push and see if you can “accomplish” something. Today, I did. No personal bests, but I did get my 2nd fastest time up the first Stage Road climb.

No Tunitas today; I thought it would be a bit faster taking 84 back. I’m not sure if that’s really the case though. From San Gregorio, it takes just under an hour to get to Skyline via 84, while going by way of Tunitas, it takes… maybe just a few minutes more. And from Tunitas you get dropped off at the base of Kings instead of having to ride from the base of 84. My guess? It might actually be a couple minutes faster via Tunitas.