“But, Officer,…”

I took a ride on my bicycle today – it seemed like a good thing to do. I knew I’d have some time to kill while waiting for my truck to be serviced, and I hadn’t ridden since before my big expedition, so I loaded the bike in the truck last night and wore my cycling togs to the stealership this morning.

They told me it would be a couple of hours until the truck was ready, so I hoisted my hydration pack, strapped on my helmet, and I was off! Here’s what I (re)learned between then and when I returned for the truck, about three hours later:

1. I’m in terrible condition for biking. I rode about 36 miles, almost all of it on flat land, and my legs were really aching at the end. I have a three-day charity ride coming up in just a few weeks (Tour DaVita – http://www.tourdavita.org), and it’s 250 miles if you ride the longest options every day. I’ll do my best, but I *really* haven’t trained sufficiently. Thank goodness it’s not a race! And if you can’t ride the whole route, they have “Spirit Vans” that will collect you and your bike at a rest stop and deliver you to that night’s campsite.

2. Pay attention to traffic signals! Bicycles are supposed to obey the same rules as motor vehicles, which means STOP. AT. RED. LIGHTS. In turn, that means pay attention to said lights so you know when they’re red! I was fortunate in that the signal where I relearned this lesson wasn’t a cross-street, but rather a street coming from the left only. I was also fortunate in that I was only going about 13 MPH when I saw the red light, and even more so that I actually saw it *before* I rode through it. I slammed on the brakes, of course, and managed to stop (without catapulting myself over the handlebars) before riding past the last crosswalk line. I sheepishly backed up to where I should have stopped in the first place, and waited for the light to turn green. I hope that some of the drivers saw what I did and learned that bikes have to obey traffic laws, too!

3. Storm-drain grates can be slippery, even if they don’t look wet. I was making a right turn (on a green light!) at about 10 MPH when my front tire skidded on a drain grate right in the intersection. It was only a couple of feet wide, though, and the tire caught traction again on the other side without me falling. But it was a close call.

4. And, finally, the source of this post’s title: Sometimes, it really isn’t about you. I was less than a mile from the dealership (on my outbound leg) when I stopped with everyone else at a red light. When it turned green, I proceeded to cross, but when I got about 3/4 through the intersection, I heard the “bwiippp” of a siren as it cut on and off right behind me. I immediately pulled over into the bus turnout that was there and stopped. As I turned to see what might be happening, and whether I was *really* being stopped, a pickup ruck pulled past me with the police car following him. The cruiser stopped beside me and the policeman got out, ignoring me completely. So he really was after the pickup – for what, I don’t know, although it was likely something like a lane change in the intersection. So I eased around behind the cruiser, looked for traffic, and when it was clear I proceeded on my way.

Oh, and the truck is fine. I had them do the maintenance for 5,000, 10,000, 15,000 and 30,000 miles, so now she’s good for another road trip or two!

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