Wednesday Night W’intervals


Days are shorter.  The time change makes long after work rides difficult, particularly on open road routes. Our hard earned summer fitness is not something we want to lose, and being totally honest, we really want to make gains for our early season events next year. There is only so much indoor training we can stand, and even then while the benefits are there, it is just too easy to not put that work in.

Group rides are just more fun and interesting.

With the end of the summer riding season, most rides shut down until the spring time change.  During that off period, we like to change it up a bit. Instead of 20+ mile tempo rides, we are going to return to our winter interval training. 

Starting on October  16th ( yes, we are going to spin this up immediately after the regular WNR shuts down instead of taking a couple of weeks off this year ), we will start up our ‘W’Interval’ program. 

Wheels down at 6:45 PM. We will ride about 2 miles of ‘warm up’, and then start our intervals.  8x.25mile intervals, with .25 mile recovery in between, with a 1 mile cool down before hitting it hard for one last .25 mile all out sprint, then sit up, cool down and return to the cars.  Should be about 15 miles, and it WILL be a hard effort. 

Route: https://ridewithgps.com/routes/28829619

Start: 5530 Windward Parkway Alpharetta, GA 30004.

Speed Limit Sign

Drivers, please note the wording of a speed sign. It is a speed limit right? 

consider the operational word: limit

limit
[ˈlimit]
NOUN
a point or level beyond which something does not or may not extend or pass.
“the limits of presidential power” · [more]
a restriction on the size or amount of something permissible or possible.
“an age limit” · [more]
synonyms:
maximum · ceiling · limitation · upper limit · restriction · curb · check · [more]
mathematics
a point or value that a sequence, function, or sum of a series can be made to approach progressively, until it is as close to the point or value as desired.
VERB
set or serve as a limit to.
“try to limit the amount you drink” · [more]

Is it a ‘speed recommendation’?

Is it a ‘speed requirement’?

Is it a ‘speed minimum’?

No. It is a limit. max, and unless otherwise posted, there is no minimum, and no legal expectation that it is an expected speed of travel either.

Irreconcilable Actions

There are so many things about anti-cycling aggression that I simply cannot reconcile. Obviously, I spend an enormous amount of time in advocacy efforts both online and in person.  I also ride, a lot. As I ride, I get to see a great number of behaviors from people that range from respectful to frustrated to aggressive, all the way to potentially deadly.

For the past week I was on vacation.  I took one of my bikes with me, and I rode at least 30 miles every day, using a mix of road, bike lane, road attached bike path and even some off road trail. Some miles in cycling kit, some not, some even without a helmet *gasp*, which is not something I normally advocate, but I was testing a theory.

The week was spent in a beach destination location, Destin, FL in the panhandle, where bikes and pedestrians are a prominent fixture within the infrastructure, though the infrastructure is incomplete, and in many ways, VERY broken.  Still largely a car centric beach town, there are bike lanes, bike paths, sidewalks, and lots of infrastructure elements that should make cycling fairly attractive. In addition to the infrastructure, the roads are completely and utterly overwhelmed by automotive traffic. One would think that in this environment, all kinds of non-car options would be popular and desired. The reality is far worse than it should be.

If you do not know the area, it is a peninsula of land between the ocean and bay about 25 miles long. At its widest it MIGHT be 4.5 miles.  For most of the way, there is one main road, US-98, and at various points, 1 or 2 alternate routes stretching from the Okaloosa Island bridge to the end of the bay north of Grayton Beach off of 30A.  There is a bunch of residential and visitor lodging along here, and that translates to a very high number of cars.

To combat this, many visitors get to their destinations and rent bicycles or golf carts to get around for the duration of their visit. Bikes are everywhere. People of all ages are riding them.  Barefoot, flip-flops, swimwear, no helmets, no safety equipment.  They are traversing bike lanes and bike paths, often on sidewalks. They use bike racks. In short, they treat bikes like transportation.  They have fun on them, and respect them while they ride them, all while getting frustrated with drivers that do not give the right of way to the bike paths or the walkers blocking the paths walking 5-7 wide.  Then they park the bikes.  They walk or jog on the same paths and sidewalks and get angry at the bikes crowding them, while railing at the cars that fail to respect the bike paths and sidewalks.  Then it is time for lunch, dinner or a grocery run so they hop in the car, and immediately disrespect the bike paths, sidewalks and bike lanes that they just enjoyed.

And even with all of this, when they go home, they cannot see a bike as anything but a toy.

In 7 days of bike rides along this corridor, I lost count of the number of drivers who pulled in front of cyclists and pedestrians alike at the various intersection conflict points, realized the error and shouted ‘sorry’. The drivers did not take anything from those conflicts, since I saw several do it several times in a single drive ( the joy of riding a bike when car traffic is stop and go and averaging just 6-10mph ). These same drivers fail, consistently to respect the bike and pedestrian spaces, even while they enjoy using them, complete with complaints towards the cars that do not respect them.

Then of course there is the same level of disconnected infrastructure that plagues most of the country.  Bike Lanes that begin and end with little to no warning.  Bike Lanes on roads with 65mph speed limits. Sidewalks that stop and start at random intervals. Bike Paths that are multi-use paths, where bikes really aren’t welcome. Poor signage indicating what is and is not legal. For example Florida is one of just a handful of states in which bikes may indeed use the sidewalks.  It is also a state that requires the use of a bike lane if it is present, unless it is unsafe to use ( which is sadly the case for most of them, but local law enforcement seemed determined to stick to the first part of that while ignoring the later and they really do not like non residents pointing that out to them ). Helmets are not required, and only the serious cyclists will be seen wearing them with any regularity.

It is a beautiful thing to see so many bikes, pedestrians, skateboards, scooters and runners out an about without their cars. Lots of smiles.  People waving, chatting, enjoying the outdoors.  It only marred by the disconnect that occurs as soon as we get behind the wheel of a car.

While riding on the same roads as the rented mopeds and golf carts, having the occupants cheer as a bike rides past them, moving over to make space for the bike, and then mixing with cars who go out of their way to block the same bikes from passing. This is a behavior that I have seen for years away from bike friendly infrastructure when dealing with cars. 

The only conclusion that I keep circling back to is this:

Something about the operation of a car has a fundamental psychologic impact upon us.  When we get behind the wheel of a car, we become almost pathologically selfish and isolated, with a must get ahead of *that* person, as all costs.  We take obscene risks with other peoples lives in the interests of getting somewhere just a few seconds faster.

When it comes to advocacy of anything that is not a car, that is the one thing we have to change.  Everything else is slapping a bandaid patch onto that problem. 

Because really, it might just be the car that is the problem.

Test Ride: Possible Route for New Weekly…

With Halcyon getting close to opening, it is time to start testing possible routes for events from there. Looking at a possible test loop this Thursday or Friday afternoon if interested.

Beware, with test rides like this, we may loop through sections multiple times, or try multiple variations of sections during the ride, so this will not be either a smooth pace type group, and there may well be some longish stops mid ride to dissect options.

Monday Night Recovery Ride

Just a reminder, the weekly recovery ride should return Monday with the holidays now over, and the weather drying out for a week.

6:45PM from Gate City in Roswell. 18 miles at about 15 mph, followed by beverages at Gate City Brewing. We have been parking around the back rather than the upper level parking area that has been charging $5.

Why Not Ride On The Right Line?

When you ride on the roads a lot, you learn that lane positioning and movement directly impact driver behaviors around you. Unfortunately, no amount of prevention can overcome the oblivious driver, as evidenced by the frequency of rear end crashes that occur daily, not just involving bikes. Sometimes it is interesting to see just what it is like to ride the white line as so many drivers think they want.

In the video, this is one ride, 11 miles in the middle of October. There are no bike lanes to be in, and the rider is aggressively trying to ‘share the road’…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rAYqlz-Ahzs

More Infrastructure/Lower Usage

Sadly, this is a cultural issue. We do so many things to create a perception that riding a bicycle is too dangerous, or too inconvenient. We lack facilities to “clean up” or even safely change clothes at our workplaces. In short, while infrastructure is a part of the problem, our cultural reinforcement of the idea that climate controlled transportation is the only way for middle and upper class people to travel is doing nothing to help our over crowded roads and cities. Fewer Americans are biking to work despite new trails, lanes and bicycle share programs

Welcome to 2019, a year of renewal

Welcome to 2019, a year of renewal2018 was a tough year for many. I would call my 2018 a mixed bag. Not terrible. Not great. I lost a lot of fitness. I gained some weight. I made some friend. I lost some friends. I watched friends and family deal with losses and struggles. I dealt with my own losses. My oldest daughter got engaged. She also graduated from college. And got her first “adult” job. My son has found his adult niche and happpiness in hist professional life. My younger daughter continues to amaze with her battles against her fears. My wife went through a difficult work transition in which she left one job without a safety net for her principles. She landed back in a Kindergarten Classroom after almost 15 years away. I have watched her succeed, and in many ways blossom in ways that she did not during her first stint as a Kindergarten teacher. So while there have been some negatives in 2018, I have to look at the balance as a net positive for the year. Dwelling upon the negatives just feeds the dark aspects of human nature and my personality. So, I choose not to do these things. Looking forward to 2019 it is time to focus on renewing my focus on the positive things in life. Time to continue not only working to be a better me, but also to make the world around me a better place for everyone else. This year my goals are small in scale, but also simple.
  • Each day, I want to bring a smile to someone else face, even if it is nothing more than a momentary bright spot in an otherwise drab day.
  • Help change reduce the car usage by being one less car on the roads as often as possible (telecommuting, bicycle commuting, better route planning)
  • Regain physical fitness lost in 2018, without sacrificing the mental fitness I gained.
That’s it. Nothing more. Perhaps you will join me. Perhaps you won’t. Either way, understand that when I see you this year, I hope that it is your face that I can bring a smile to.