Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Tubby Gets Toasted

I left for work early today so I could stretch out my ride and use the bike path along the river instead of the street for a change. It was great. I rode about 13 km (8 miles) instead of my usual 6-7 km "late for work" route. It was dark and misty and peaceful. I arrived with time to spare, so I'm thinking about stretching it out some more tomorrow.

I've been riding Mutant Winter for about a month now, waiting for the snow and ice she is designed for. I have found that although she's heavy and has big knobby tires, I go almost as fast as I do on my light fixed gear commuter thanks to the presence of higher gears to pedal in.

When it comes to riding on the path, I have become accustomed to passing most other riders and being passed quite rarely. This morning, however, some dude on a road or cross bike passed me big time. He was wearing cycling gear and had his bike set up with commuter lights. I don't remember fenders or panniers, but my memory is sketchy on this one. He was not showing off or sprinting as far as I could tell, just riding at an impressive steady pace.

He politely rang his bell when he was ready to overtake, and for my part I got over a bit and gave him the "Keri wave", for which he thanked me as he passed. Often when somebody passes me I end up on their wheel for at least a little while. Not this time. This dude was going considerably faster than me, even though I felt like I was doing a good clip.

I comforted myself with the knowledge that given Mutant Winter's setup and big plastic tub, the other rider wouldn't have expected anything else. I know that commuting is not a race. I was just surprised at how slow I was. Many would say that comparing a heavy mountain bike and a lighter road bike is silly, but I'm pretty sure the bigger difference here was in the engine department. I've been eating way too much junk lately, and it is showing on the scale. I need to ride more and eat less crap. I already knew that, but I would like to thank this morning's passer for the reminder. Lots of cyclists always feel like they need a lighter bike. I feel like my bikes need a lighter rider.

Would a Clydesdale by any other name still pull the beer wagon?

R A N T W I C K

20 comments:

Steve A said...

I'm sure it was a cross bike. A road bike wouldn't be out of the warmth of its owner's house this time of year...

That bit about the engine is just rationalization - otherwise how would Rantwick explain the "getting passed very rarely" observation before noting that the cross rider passed him without even waking up?

Rantwick said...

On the contrary, Steve, I think the more popular rationalization is to blame the bike.

That "getting passed very rarely" was staying true for Mutant Winter, at least until this morning!

I all honesty I think I was simply overtaken by a faster rider on a faster bike, but if I use it as a reminder to ride more and eat less, that's good news, not bad.

ChipSeal said...

You weren't dropped, you just missed the breakaway!

A commute is not a race? Say what?

A commute is not a race ONLY when there are no other cyclists in sight!

Dear Rantwick has been wearing a fanny pack for too long, that's what ChipSeal thinks!

KaliDurga said...

What's a "Keri wave"?

Rantwick said...

Kali - It's a kind of small underhand "please pass me" gesture, named for Keri from Commute Orlando.

I know it's in a video somewhere... I'm off to go find it now, and thanks for stopping by and commenting. I'll post a link to the vid here when I find it.

Rantwick said...

Oh great. I was just re-reading some comments on cycle dallas, and I'm beginning to think that what I think of as a "Keri wave" isn't one at all! I'm still gonna find the video I was thinking of... stay tuned.

Rantwick said...

Use the following link to view the Keri video I was thinking of. The "Keri wave" I think of is in between left turn signals, at about 1:25.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yu5V_qUagGc

Keri, if you're reading this, do you think of a particular wave when people say "Keri wave", or would you rather be left out of this mess?

ChipSeal said...

There is a unique thread on BikeForums.net dedicated to the Keri Wave. She has advocated many great things for civility on our public roads and cycling, (With much success) but this will be her legacy! Long may she wave!

Rat Trap Press said...

I had heard of the "Keri wave" before but wasn't sure what it was. Thanks for the video link.

Doohickie said...

I've been eating way too much junk lately

Yes, we know. I think sometimes you eat as much as nine people!

;- P

Rantwick said...

Doohickie - I hadn't ever seen that picture before! If you could only see the big-ass smile on my face! Thanks.

Keri said...

I'm just now catching up on my reading today... was out shooting video of Orlando's deadly crosswalks since dawn.

The wave... well, it was Steve that coined the term. I'm not sure which gesture he was referring to: the "please pass me" gesture — which was intended to eliminate confusion (in case he saw my left turn signal and then feared I'd swerve in front of him, thus slowing and messing up my timing); or the thank-you wave. I actually have numerous styles of thank-you waves for various acts of kindness from a courteous pass to a magnanimous offer allowing me to merge left in heavy traffic.

In any case, the term makes me smile... I couldn't ask for a nicer legacy ;-)

I must go to bed now. I've been awake entirely too long.

Rantwick said...

Thanks for commenting, Keri. I thought it might be something like that. Sweet dreams!

Chandra said...

i rarely get passed!

not cuz i is so fast but cuz there ain't nobody riding to work around me LOL!!

my friend shaoib wonders how the hell i can ride my touring steed. i say the heavier the bike, the merrier it is, except when you have to carry it.

happy trails, ratwick!

peace :)

Steve A said...

The original Keri wave discovery was a left turn signal combined with a rotary forward wrist motion that sent a clear signal to an overtaking motorist to complete his/her pass and THEN the cyclist was going to make the lane shift. I think Rantwick's video time recollection was about right. Since then, other ones have surfaced. They all act as effective additions to conventional signals and are easily understood by motorists that have never seen one before. Strictly speaking, a simple, isolated "thank you" wave is not a Keri wave, but it does often prompt a friendly wave back.

KaliDurga said...

Thanks for the explanation, you definitely went above and beyond. And Keri's video series is great!

Rantwick said...

Kali - Any time. As some of these jokers can testify, I'm really nice to new visitors. Then things change...

ChipSeal said...

He will suck you in until you are mesmerized and unable to escape!

RUN KaliDurga, RUN! Save yourself while you can!

(ChipSeal wonders if dear Rantwick will suddenly change his comment moderation policy...)

KaliDurga said...

Bah, Rantwick can't suck me in any worse than Fatty, Bike Snob, Schmalz, or the Unholy Rouleur have done at their blogs. I'm tough, I can handle it.

Though now, of course, I've checked out your blog also. Will I get sucked in there, as well?

Rantwick said...

Kali - It is my sincere hope that you will indeed get stuck in the muck that is this blog.

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