I've been so busy getting on top of this teaching gig that I've been letting the blogging slide.
OTOH, while I cycled an insane 14 miles to work (and then back) the second half of last year when I was lucky enough to get called in ... now I am cycling a perfectly sane 3 miles.
So just some random observations on a special midweek edition of Saturday Bike Blogging.
First, effective cycling ... it really does work. But you bloody well need a good rear view mirror. I like this one:
.. mind you I have a psuedo-mountain bike with the risers on the handlebars, so it is not bent around like that ... its straight across, and with the velcro securing it on one side of the riser and the mirror over on the other, its as secure as if it was the version that has a handlebar plug.
You look at the traffic behind. When you know that there is no safe way for a car to pass, you move into the space occupied by the right hand wheel of a car (you can often literally see this slot on the road itself) ... cars are looking there, when they see they are coming up on something in the space they are looking, they slow down.
And to be courteous, when there is space to pass in lane, you ride in that imaginery virtual bike lane instead. Its far better to just have a wider right lane than to have a cycle lane, because motorists give you more room when they pass "in lane" than when there is that magical white lane that is putting up that magic invisible acrylic wall between you and the car.
When you have a left hand turn, take the main lane, then signal and into the left turn lane. Motorists may think its weird that you are cycling like you are a car, but they at least understand what you are doing and where you are going. And if there is a side street that is blessed with a light and no left turn lane, there is nothing wrong with a J-hook left turn instead ... right turn, check the mirror and behind you, U-turn, and wait for the light.
After my bike cape got wet and moldy, I once or twice used my waterproof jacket, confirming what I said several times about the bike cape: a bike cape is what you need for cycling if it might rain. Its only three miles, and still a waterproof jacket leaves my shirt soaked with sweat. The cape has air circulation that the waterproof jacket just cannot provide ... even with vents under the arms.
Finally: when people ask me why I am cycling, I often say its to save money on gas and gym fees. Oh, yeah, sure there's also the point about American men and women fighting and dying to establish a police-station state in Iraq because our country is 70% dependent on imported fuel oil ... but that is a bit intense for casual conversation, and saving money on gas and gym fees are real reasons as well.
Just a word, before I go ...
Finally, I'd like to note that Matthew Yglesias has had a series of posts in the last few on transport issues, and that's really truly me in the comments section:
How Its Done
By Request: Density and Intercity Rail