Back on the Street — I’m back to regular bike commuting again, which is really a better way to live.
It’s not that I wanted to stop but the demands of the cyclocross season were such that it required a lot of bike hauling to practice and such. That sounds a lot like the excuse of “I have to drive my kids around” I realize. Trust me, I’m not happy with it.
The truth is for much of the fall season I was able to do both. It’s just the last month or so that got dicey.
But this week I recommitted and broke out the Fat Rat for come urban pleasure. Since last winter I’ve added the Woodchipper bars rather than the straight bar. I hate straight bars. After some initial adjustments I think we’re getting it dialed in. It’s a comfortable — if not always fast — cruiser. And it can roll over and through about anything.
The return to the streets is always a re-education process and an interesting situation occurred that my urban bike instructor friends can give me some input upon.
I pulled up to the intersection of 12th and Grange the other day headed for Black Sheep Coffee. I was coming from 10th Street - one of my favorite thoroughfares as it’s smooth, cleared and a sharrow. The light was red so I pulled into the left turn lane. I was first in line. On my right was a police officer, going straight.
We waited for the light to the turn green. First the northbound traffic, including the lane turning west onto 12th was given the green. So we waited some more. Then the straight lane turned green going my direction, which meant the police officer could go. But my arrow stayed red. Clearly this meant that my bike did not trip the magnets that control the light mechanism. The stoplight didn’t think anybody was there so it remained red.
Having been through this many times, I just went.
The cop, however, rolled down his window and said to me “you’re running a red light.”
"It’s not going to turn," I said back, as he rolled out of range.
So, what’s the verdict?
I’m clearly in the right. I can’t get out of the lane if the light doesn’t turn and I have to follow traffic regs. Plus, the cop should know better.
So I’m back out there, in the cold and wind and snow. And loving it.
See you out there.