So today we had to ride our bikes on the paths again. Low tide this morning was at the very inopportune 4:40am. High tide was at 10:55am, so now we’re back to growing the beachfront. But it will be awhile yet until it is bike-rideable. (Yeah, I’m making up words, but you know what I mean, right?) And we can’t just be lying around all day waiting to ride…so ride we did.
And on the paths again, as I said. And again I was a nervous wreck. Yes, you have to share the paths with other cyclists (see, that sounds like we know what we are doing by calling ourselves “cyclists”), as well as pedestrians, which is no fun, especially when they are on their cell phones and completely unaware that anyone else would like to travel that same path.
Sometimes the bike paths are their own separate paths. And sometimes, there is nothing but a thin, painted white stripe separating you from eminent death. Maybe not eminent, but it kind of feels that way when you’re riding. And when you see your 9yo weaving back and forth, sometimes barely contained within the lane. And just like the other day, I was constantly encouraging/barking orders to him. I’ll have you know, however, that I did not hit him (or his bike) even once today.
But I realized while riding that there were a couple things I neglected to share with you, my reading public, in my last post concerning island bike riding. See, you are all first and foremost on my mind. And don’t let anyone tell you different. I am here for you. Well, actually right now I am in HHI for you, but soon I will be back to my usual proximity from you, however far that may be. Which reminds me that I have a question to ask those of you reading my blog in Russia…do I know you or have you have the unfortunate bad luck of stumbling upon my blog? Russia is my largest audience outside of United States. I’m not really sure what that means…feel free to contact me and tell me about yourself. And why on earth you would be interested in me. I mean, I’m certain that my humor has world-wide appeal and all, but I’m not sure how Bing would translate me anyway…but I digress.
In my last cycling blog (see, I’ve now progressed; it’s a “cycling blog”), I also forgot to tell you about the path leading under the high-way. That’s kind of a tricky deal, as you ride down a wooden ramp, and have to slow down enough to make the turn which takes you under the road. But you don’t want to slow down too much, as you need momentum to get up the ramp on the other side. Also, if you are going too fast, you could possibly hit the rail (yes, as least there are rails on the ramps) and flip into the water…had I not mentioned that you ride under the high-way and OVER the water? With the alligators and such. Oh, and you also have to keep in mind that there are potentially people coming down the ramp from the opposite direction, who are also planning to go under the road.
Now, to help prevent fatal (or even minor, I suppose) injuries should a body meet a body coming the opposite way, they have installed a convex mirror right at the point where you cannot naturally see on-coming bike (or pedestrian) traffic. Unfortunately, the mirror is not quite turned in a helpful direction; it probably was at one point but someone really should readjust that. Just saying…plus, there are several dents and dings in the mirror (clearly not a real mirror, but a plastic one made to have reflective qualities); hopefully these are not from previous mishaps on the path in which people were brutally injured or maimed…but I usually imagine that they are. Don’t judge.
We rode across to the other side, totally without mishap. We even found a lookout we hadn’t seen before, which provided a beautiful view of the salt marshes. You’ll have to take my word for it, as I didn’t have my phone to take a picture.
We rode back to the ramp and began to cross under. As I alluded to, technically the ramps and bridges are wide enough for bikes to pass one another. Not comfortably pass, but pass. Assuming both people are confident in their steering abilities and don’t get too nervous when passing with close proximity. This was not the case today.
As it turned out, it was fortuitous that I did not have my phone to take pictures of the beautiful view because it would have been in my right pocket and would have consequently been crushed as I slammed into the ramp wall, avoiding two other cyclists who were flying down the ramp towards us. They were cautious around my 9yo but apparently didn’t see the adult riding behind him. Better me than him.
I have the dirt marks and bruising which always lends credibility to my story. Please don’t make me show you. I promise I have integrity and wouldn’t make up such things. Yes, I have taken some slight artistic license in the past, but everything I write has all been firmly rooted in truth. As far as you know…
Right at the end of our ride, the 9yo just about got into an altercation with a few other people; I will tell you right now that it wasn’t his fault. We were coming up to our condo, but there were a couple other cyclists coming the opposite direction. And a lady and her daughters were jogging in the same direction as us. The joggers were spread kind of across the path. Fortunately, one of the daughters heard me telling my 9yo to move to the left to go around them. And also, the other cyclists had quickly moved past the joggers and us as well. Can you picture this?
Just as he went left, an additional cyclist came up behind us and yelled, “Left!”…and he moved more to the left. Now, since I knew it wasn’t my voice that had directed him left, I immediately knew he had moved directly into her path. So she yelled again, “Left!” And I yelled, “Right, Buddy! Right!” Fortunately, he’d heard my voice before and knew to listen to it. I’m sure the panic was evident in my words as well. He swerved back right, just in time for her to go sailing by…but not without a nasty look at me in the process.
The jogger and her girls had stopped and the mom pulled them out of the path, just as all this happened as well. It was very exciting, and would have been a big run for the HHI police and fire had a collision taken place. I was glad to give them the day off.
Now, in his defense, he had simply been listening to directions from behind him all morning. He wasn’t thinking, “Hey, that’s not a voice I recognize…maybe those are not directions for me.” But it does tell me that his hearing is apparently ok. The jig is up.