Thursday, December 17, 2009

Racing to Disaster

Today I took a big step. I decided to ride the Basso to work and I didn’t care if it got dirty. Up to this point it has been hanging on the wall like a knock off Picasso (I prefer Monet, but Picasso rhymes with Basso). It has been raining a lot lately. Not only have I become soft, I know that the residue from the road will get on my white Rolls seat and in every nook and cranny on the bike. I know that at some point I will ride it regularly and the clean, freshly lubed chain will become black with use. That the aluminum chain rings will also get black with grime around the teeth.

Once it gets dirty or a scratch/chip I will have no reservations whatsoever to ride it rain or shine. This leads me to an interesting thought. Humans are peculiar for several reasons. First, we preserve or protect what we seek to harm or destroy. Other times we seek to preserve what should be used. Take the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. This organization seeks to protect and preserve elk habitat, allowing them to grow big….so we can kill them. Yellowstone National Park is another example with about 2 million people visiting every year. Although Yellowstone was preserved for our enjoyment, snow machine (sorry I spent time in Alaska) use in the winter is considered polluting and loud. Seriously, with 2 million people visiting we are concerned with noise and pollution?

Anyway, now that I am out of my philosophical mood, so I decided to race to work on my bike (the Basso is geared for racing so I cannot saunter or coast anywhere on it). I would like to say that it was not a good day to have the Basso on the road. True, these circumstances may have been the same no matter what bike I was on. The first happened as I was passing through Lee Avenue Gate onto Fort Lee. No matter how you get on post, you must show identification. So there I was, one foot on the ground and a hand in the air to get my card back from the security officer when I felt a sudden jolt. At first I thought it was my imagination. Then it occurred to me that the man in the car behind me had rolled into my rear wheel. As I said to the security guy “that guy just bumped me, he rolled into me again.” Being that I am a peace loving individual, and buy that I mean to say that I like to avoid confrontation in front of security guards with 9 mm pistols.

So I decided I would follow him to his destination and confront him there. The problem was that he would not drive next to me or past me. So I looked back and saw him turn into the health clinic. I raced (because I have a bike geared for racing) back to find him. I saw his car and noticed two things, one was that my tire mark was on his bumper. Two was that he had a Sergeant Major sticker on his window. Even though I technically out rank a Sergeant Major, they can make my life miserable and they usually are in cahoots with a person that does out rank me. So I girded up my loins when I saw a man that closely resembled a crippled and really old Santa Claus step out of his car. This very well may be his modus operandi, “if I look old and crippled and smell like urine I can get away with anything.” Well he did, I can only imagine how bad it would look if I was yelling at some old guy with handicap plates. So I nicely told him that he should be more careful. He then gave me some stupid excuse as to why he ran into me. Then I raced away to work (because I have a bike geared for racing).

So after a long, boring, and painful day of work, I had my ride to look forward to. I raced away from my office (because I have a bike geared for racing). I tried to make it through a left arrow traffic signal and decided I was not going to make it through no matter how my bike was geared. As I raced to a stop, I did not notice that I had travelled past the big white bar on the road and since I was in the left turn lane I could scoot to the side of the road. Several cars turned past me with no problem. Then the light began to turn amber and a lady in a big Cadillac (no offense to any in-laws that may have driven Cadillac) decided she was going to race through it (apparently her car is also geared for racing). In doing so it was necessary to cut the turn a little where she missed my front wheel by a couple of inches. It is true that I was slightly past the white line, however, I was covered in reflective material and a bright red jacket (which also had reflective material on it).

I have always tried to wear bright colors and use extremely bright lights and reflective gear. Additionally, I obey traffic lights and signs just as I would do in a car. I have not had this many close calls in a single day of my entire life. Well except for those times I was shot at and hit by roadside bombs in Iraq, but you know what I mean.

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