Circulations of a pedestrian cyclist – A friendly face in the traffic

On my way home the other day I was waiting in a long line of traffic at a stop light. As I was waiting for things to get moving again a man walking down the sidewalk came up to me and said, “Hey! Your friend’s trying to get your attention.”

My first thought was: Great. Here’s some driver giving me flack for taking up space on the road. With this assumption rooted in my mind I turned to the man on the sidewalk and said, “He’s not my friend.”

“He’s not?”

“Nope. I don’t have any friends.”

“Okay.”

No sooner did I finish talking with this man then the traffic started moving again and, lo and behold, a friend of mine pulled up along side of me! Due to the construction along the road we were able to move along side each other for a block or so. I told him about what had happened and we laughed.

It’s easy for me to put my head down and block out my fellow commuters. Even when I drive, I dislike looking over at other vehicles. I don’t know if I’m just uncomfortable making eye contact with other drivers, or if I’m afraid I’ll accidentally extend a challenge or invite looks and/or gestures of disapproval for my driving. Whatever this condition is, it carries over to my bike as well. Perhaps I need to make an effort to look over and smile one in a while, because, as I found out the other day, sometimes you’ll find a friendly face. You just have to look around.

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The Ungood Ukulele Player – My Heart

For Mother’s Day I am posting a song that I named in honour of my wife, Allison.

It is for all that she does for me and our family. It is for her patience and love. It is for being there through the good times and the not so good times (though the good greatly outnumber the not so good). It is for the mere fact that it’s the only song I’ve come up with so far that she’s told me she likes.

Happy Mother’s Day, my heart.

Circulations of a pedestrian cyclist – Spring has finally sprung *cough*sputter*ouch*

Welcome to Edmonton, where spring eventually comes; you just have to suffer through a few false starts and regressions back into winter. As spring has tentatively arrived, I have brought out my bike for another season of two-wheeled, person-powered commuting to work. The warmish weather and the (for now) absence of snow aren’t the only signs of spring, as my ride to work would be incomplete without rows and piles of sand and dirt, and construction along 97th Street. The construction I can handle, I just queue up with the other vehicles; we’re not going anywhere. However, I am finding that I am covered with a fine layer of silt by the time I reach my destination. Every so often I end up crunching a grain of sand or two between my teeth, and of course my quote-unquote lane is cut in half as I am squeezed between the vehicles to my left and the gravel dunes to my right. I guess I shouldn’t complain, though, as I’m quite sure the deposit is covering up any number of holes and fissures in the road. It’s difficult because the quote-unquote bike lane is the same lane as the bus lane; the very same lane that gets chewed up year after year as it is subjected to the girth of ETS vehicles; the lane that reminds me that I have an old bike with no shocks (though the male-friendly saddle does help). Let’s just say it’s a good thing my wife and I weren’t going to have any more kids anyway. I guess I’ll just have to wait for the City to give 97th a good ol’ wash down to see for sure, and brace myself for repeated impact.

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If you ride a bike without shocks on Edmonton roads, this is a constant fear.