Monday, August 28, 2017

On Yer Left

I recently read an article from the Bikesnob in Outside magazine called "The Politics of Passing" in which he goes through the various ways in which a cyclist can alert pedestrians to their presence and ultimately the no-win situation we often face.

I rode another piece of the Thames Valley Parkway yesterday and captured the video I'll need to put together another tour; that will be coming sometime soon. This part of the TVP on a sunny Sunday is crowded with people on foot. It made me want to offer my two cents on this inexhaustible topic.

Waiting my turn on yesterday's ride

As much as people talk about bike bells being a happy sound, I think they take on an annoying, almost self-important character when repeatedly used by multiple cyclists navigating lots of people walking on a path. I have a bell, but I use it very rarely.

Today helped me decide once and for all how I prefer to govern myself in overtaking situations. Here are the guidelines I currently use:

1) If it is a busy place where people pretty much expect to be passed by bicycles, I say nothing, use lots of caution and pass only when there is room to do so without anybody feeling like they've been "buzzed".

2) If it is a situation where I think people might be startled, I prefer to loudly say "Bike comin' up", sooner than one would think necessary. My phraseology here has evolved from "On yer left" to "Bike on yer left" to "Bike comin' up". My rationale is that when processing an unexpected message, people (myself included) kind of freeze up or even dart the wrong way when they need to quickly process the word "left" (wait, which left)? Adding Bike to the front of the phrase helped to quickly identify the "threat" and "Bike comin' up" seems like all the info I would want or need in order to react properly were I the one on foot.

3) Sometimes I just get a gut feeling that saying anything at all will cause a pedestrian freak out. In these cases I slow down and give as much room as feasible. When people startle anyway, I feel bad, but most times (and with most things, many of which are infinitely more important than bike path passing) trusting ones gut works out.

4) Runners are an exception. I may well say "on yer left" when approaching a runner or runners, because I think there's a good chance they invented it. In any case, they always respond quickly and well. I love runners; they get how the path works, or should work.

What works best for you? Rather than something like the ;^%$!#@ helmet debate, this is one topic I could talk about all day!

Yer Pal,

PS - One final note: I have zero tolerance for the pathletes who put people at risk or get pissed off or both in situations like the ones above. If you're chasing a Strava KOM or a personal best or need to train HARD, don't hit the multi-use pathway in prime time. Just don't. Idiots. I'm angry at them right now even thought I didn't see too many stupid moves yesterday. Grrrr.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Rantwick's London Ontario Bike Routes: Tweedsmuir Trail

I'm obviously going a little OCD on this bike routes thing, because I've produced another one! Much shorter, although probably no less boring. Ah well, the Rantwick head wants what the Rantwick head wants, no point in resisting no matter what kind of mind numbing sadness I inflict on those unfortunate enough to land here. It should be obvious by now that if readers are what I'm after, I'm actively sabotaging myself with knowingly poor efforts at being good at this. I never would have thought that Trump and I would ever have ANYTHING in common, but there you have it! 

I just considered doing a hilarious Venn diagram of the above concept, but people might enjoy that, which would create a bit of a conundrum, as you can imagine.

Here's the new video!

Yer Pal,

Monday, August 21, 2017

Thames Valley Parkway (TVP) Tour: South Branch

The Thames Valley Parkway (TVP) is a MUP here in London Ontario that most cyclists in town really like. Not always the best way to get where you're going, it is without question the nicest way if you're not willing or able to leave the city limits, and there's lots of it.

It's gotten into my head to do "tours" of it and some of my other favourite routes. Here on the blog and on youtube they will be labelled under "Rantwick's Routes". I hope somebody finds some value in them, because this first one was quite a bit of work! I don't expect anybody except locals to watch the whole thing, but check out 8:45 where I get a pleasant little surprise.

I recommend watching this one on youtube, but I've embedded it below too.

Yer Pal,

Monday, August 14, 2017

Coulda Shoulda Woulda: Not Very Good Riding

This is my second "Coulda Shoulda Woulda" post. These posts are all about those situations you wish you could do again; those times you say to yourself, "what I should have said was..."

Thanks to the magic of video editing, I'm getting to do that! It is super fun and kind of cathartic really. In this example, a driver decided to yell "not very good riding" as we left the line at an intersection. At the time I found this very perplexing, being more used to stuff like "get off the road" and "you're not a car". Was this person a cyclist too? Were they just a self-appointed judge of such things with less knowledge or experience than I? Were they, heaven forbid, correct and if so, how?

I almost made this a "if you were riding the bicycle" post because of these questions, but opted for the Coulda Woulda because it is way more fun. That said, I welcome any thoughts you have on where and how I was riding in the following clip!

Yer Pal,

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

The Icing on the Icing on the Cake (or suitable equivalent)!

Like all cyclists, I have a deep love of fresh, smooth asphalt. In terms of public investment, I personally value it above all the bike infra in the world. I am in a minority on that one, but that's OK. I like bike infra too. This post is about both.

I have not been riding as much as I would like, being limited by several factors. As such I had not ridden as far as I could go on the Thames Valley Parkway (an extensive and wonderful London Ontario Multi Use Pathway) in quite some time. I knew they City was working on the South branch, but wow, is it ever nice now!

There is beautiful smooth path all the way from Adelaide St to Meadowlily bridge, a ten minute ride for a slowpoke like me. This smoothness replaces all kinds of bumps and problems with many joyjoys. This, my friends, represents the Cake referred to in my title.

If you take the paved surface of the South branch of the TVP as far as you can, you come to a dead end. This dead end has had a sign in place for YEARS promising an extension that would overcome the obstacle of a rail line and connect it to the paths of Kiwanis Park in the east end of the city. It was beginning to look like it would never happen, but now there are new signs and honest to god shovels in the ground! Icing.

When I leave the dead end path and make my way to work on the streets, there was one bit of Hale Street that was in terrible repair. Again, it was that way for years. Now it has been repaired; nothing but sweet smooth asphalt in place of that ugliness. Icing on my Icing! Or, since I have no picture, let's revise that to Breadcrumbs on Juice! 

You may recall that this is not the first time I have reported

Thank you, oh multiple layers of government that contributed to the best ride to work in a long while! Thank you, London planners who sometimes come through big time! Cake! Icing! Icing! (Or, if you like, Cake! Breadcrumbs! Juice! Hurrah!)

Yer Pal,