Tagged: bike commuting

Close call …

I was biking from home to Brother Juniper’s this morning to have lunch with a friend.  I had previously biked to Empire Hair Studio for a much-needed shearing, so my legs were good and warmed up, despite the chilly temperatures today.  It was a good ride east on Southern Avenue, and I rested for a moment at the intersection of Southern and Highland, waiting for the light to turn green.  As it did, I pedaled through the intersection, heading north on Highland for one block to then turn right on Walker St.

Just as I was turning right, an SUV decided to turn left onto Walker out of the Domino’s Pizza parking lot.  Apparently the driver didn’t see me, or just decided to ignore me.  As we both attempted to enter Walker at the same time, I had to slam on the brakes.  (The driver of the SUV made no similar attempt at stopping.)  My rear wheel slid out to the left as I went into a skid.  Fortunately, I managed to get my right foot on the ground before I tipped over.  After a couple of awkward hop-steps, I stopped, upright, slightly shaken, but none the worse for wear.

This was my first true close call since I started biking almost five years ago.  In and of itself, that’s pretty miraculous.  I’ve heard some harrowing stories of life on the road from cyclists and non-cyclists alike.  I do tend to be fairly defensive when I ride, stopping at traffic signals, not cutting between lanes full of cars, and so on.  But all the courtesy and mindfulness will only get you so far.  All it takes is one careless driver and you are on the ground.

I will note that I signaled my turn onto Walker for a good 3-5 seconds before I turned, pretty much the entire length of Highland north of Southern.  Apparently my extended right arm was unnoticed or ignored.  I don’t know.  I’m just glad I was able to stop in time, and that the SUV driver didn’t decide to take the lane a few seconds after I did.  That could have been ugly.

As it happened, Cort from The Peddler and Fix Memphis was walking west on Walker – say that five times fast – just as I nearly ate asphalt.  So at least I got to impress a fellow cyclist with my mad skidding skills.

So that’s my first close call story.  Please share yours in the comments.  I’d love to read them.  Also, be safe out there, and beware of SUVs bearing pizza.  (Seriously, did it have to be an SUV?  Did I really need another reason to not trust them?)

The miles keep adding up

Last week was a pretty damn awesome week on the bike.  I managed to commute to and from work and around town four days out of five and ran a boatload of errands to boot.  Let’s review …

Monday was easy.  I biked to work in the morning, then home in the afternoon.  Nothing terribly exciting to report about that.  I did have a pretty full load in my panniers, as I had to pack in my suit for an on-camera interview that morning.  Otherwise, easy peasy.

However, I had been noticing that my car was overheating and its engine was revving when idling, as if to run the fan and cool the motor.  Given that I needed to drive on Thursday, I had to take my car to the shop on Tuesday to make sure it was repaired on time.  So that morning, I loaded up my gear and my bike and drove to Barton’s on Overton Park Drive.  I had to be on campus by 8:30 AM, so I left the house super-early (for me, anyway) at just past 7.  After dropping of my car, I biked to campus.

What made the ride so enjoyable, other than the opportunity to watch the sun rise over Memphis as I headed to work, was that I followed a new route to campus.  From Barton’s I biked through Overton Park, east on Broad St., then south on Tillman to the Greenline.  I rode the Greenline east to High Point Terrace, which I followed south to campus.  It was a really great ride, and faster than I expected: just over 30 minutes.  (I’m sure the two double cappuccinos I had that morning helped.)  After class and a few meetings, I biked home.  Here’s the map:

Screen Shot 2013 02 11 at 10 30 58 PM

The loop at the end was courtesy a trip to the bank.  11.5 miles total.  Whee!

My car was ready that afternoon, so Wednesday morning I biked to Barton’s, stopping at Black Lodge on the way, picked up my car, and drove it home.  Then I biked to campus, had my day at work, and left in the afternoon to run a few errands.

From campus I biked to Poplar Plaza and bought a few things at the soon-to-be-replaced Kroger.  Then I rode to Busters for some vino, even biking on Poplar during rush hour for a spell.  From Busters I headed west to the Memphis Public Library on Poplar, then biked home.  I was going to go to Home Depot, but the hour was growing late and I was hungry.  Once again, here’s the map:

Screen Shot 2013 02 11 at 10 38 19 PM

Another 14.5 miles.  Awesome.

What I enjoyed most about the week was the variation in routes.  Normally I follow pretty much the same route every day.  Sure, I could mix it up, but like a lot of commuters (of the two-wheeled and four-wheeled varieties), I mostly just want to get where I’m going.  Being pushed into new routes was really nice.

Friday was super easy.  I biked to and from Otherlands, my normal Friday routine.  So easy, I didn’t even bother with cycling gear.

Altogether, I logged around 30 miles last week.  That’s roughly two gallons of gas I would have otherwise burned, meaning that I saved … um … how much is gas these days?  I can never remember.

Anyway, more news later this week.  I hope to see you on the road soon.


Fatal error: Cannot redeclare applyfilter() (previously declared in /home/prcdac/bikinginmemphis.com/wp-includes/post-template.php:751) in /home/prcdac/bikinginmemphis.com/wp-includes/post-template.php on line 751