Thursday, December 10, 2009

Ten Reasons I Like to Stop at Lights on My Bike

10. Stopping allows me a moment to pause and look around, to take in the sensations of the place I am at, giving me additional data that is not always apparent in motion. This morning, while stopped, I heard and saw the water bubbling up out of the flood irrigation valves in a nearby yard. The temperature was just right so that the water was turning into a fog but only over that yard, sort of like a cartoon cloud that only hovers over one guy's head. Further along I noticed other yards with their own fog in the clearing stages.

9. Pausing also gives me an opportunity to study my fellow cyclists. Do they stop at lights? Do they stop at lights because they see me stopped at the light? Do they not stop at the light because they see me stopped at the light and they don't want me to think they stopped at the light because I stopped at the light? Should I mention to them that they should stop at lights if they appear to be blasting through one? If they appear to be blasting through the light and I see an oncoming Maserati doing 185 in a 35 should I mention it to them, or what?

8. It shows car drivers that some cyclists do stop at lights.

7. I can take a moment to check over my bike hardware status. All there? All still attached where it should be?

6. I can assume a standing position for a few moments, to check if anything is sore, or tired, that shouldn't be, and stretch or take other measures if it is. When you are spinning, you don't always notice pain, injury or soreness.  Endorphins or something.

5. While the car drivers are noticing that some cyclists stop at lights, I can also inspect the car drivers. Did they see me standing there on the corner? If I signaled a left turn and went out into the turn lane, how did they react? Is the woman in the minivan in front of me looking at me in her review mirror and thinking, oh look, there's a cyclist right behind me? Is the guy in the massive Ford F350 who obviously sees me and who is signaling to turn right just demonstrating an excessive amount of caution towards me (much appreciated bro), or what? If I motion for him to go ahead is he going to shoot me for my presumptuousness?

4. Car watching.

3. Ha ha, I can stand in the sweet sunshine and look up at the clouds. And you mostly can't. Except for the six kids riding in the back of the rusty pickup. And it's probably better that they remain seated.

2. Water from my bottle tastes different while standing at a stoplight. I don't know why.

1. Stopping puts a few moments of my fate in the hands of the somewhat randomized system of the light timer/sensor system. When will I get to move again? What will happen in the moments before I do? If I weren't even there, would the light turn green at exactly the same time anyway? Do the in-pavement sensors detect me on my bike? (some lights, some times, it seems like it). When the light does turn, I note that the universe has clicked into its next version, and I appear to be still in it, for now. So get up. Go ride.

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