Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Don't Ride Like Mr. Skinny

Accidental button push while staring goggle-eyed at some construction equipment lifting objects into space.
Not directly related in any way to the dialog that follows.

Conversation While Driving With Mrs. Alpha and the kids

Mrs Alpha: That cyclist shouldn't be riding down the street like that.
Me: Really? Where should he be riding?
Mrs: The canal is right there, he should have taken that. The speed limit is 40 mph here.
Me: He's on a road bike so he can't really take the gravel path. Anyway, the law says he can be here.
Mrs: What do you mean? He can't go 40 mph. Isn't there a minimum speed law?
Me: No, not here. The Arizona law says that if the lane is too narrow for cars to pass him safely, he can take the lane.
Mrs: So it's OK for him to impede traffic?
Me: Personally I don't think it would be OK for him to have eight cars bunched up behind him, no. I would pull over and let them pass when it became safe to do so, more out of courtesy than anything else. I know what it's like to drive a car behind someone who is going too slow in any kind of machine. But look at that wall on the right side of the road. There's nowhere safe for a cyclist to go except to take the lane through here.
Mrs: People usually drive 45 mph in this area. It doesn't seem like a safe route for a cyclist.
Me: I believe there are better alteratives a few blocks north or south of Indian School Road, agreed. On the other hand, it's pretty safe if the cyclist takes the lane and follows the traffic laws. Unfortunately right as it gets ugly here, right where the bike lane ends, there's no bail-out. You're stuck. (at this point, the cyclist in question squeezes over the the right, between the traffic lane and the wall, into a six inch wide "shoulder" marked with a white stripe. I changed lanes into the left lane to pass him. Two cars behind me did the same thing.)
Older daughter in the car: That's the skinniest bike lane I've ever seen.
Younger daughter in the car: Only Mr. Skinny [our Halloween skeleton] could ride there.
Me: It's not a bike lane. It's not even a shoulder. I don't know why they even painted it there.

Younger daughter (persisting): Mr. Skinny needs a place to ride, too.
Me: Well, obviously I am not Mr. Skinny.
Older daughter (the encourager): You almost are, Daddy. Just a little more Caveman diet...
Me: You know, when we were in Iowa, I had a conversation about bicycles on the streets with Bill [grouchy old friend] while we were out driving around.
Mrs: Oh no. What did he say?
Me: We passed some cyclists who were riding on the right side of the road, and he said, authoritatively, "They shouldn't be there. They should ride on the sidewalk."
Mrs: What did you say?
Me: I was about to quote the Iowa laws, which I had checked before we got there because I wanted to ride. Just then, though, the sidewalk dead-ended into a meadow full of wildflowers and mud. So I said, "What sidewalk? Where should they go now?" "Hell if I know," he replied.
(silence. We were all just kind of waiting for it. Then, from the back of the minivan, came the conclusion)
Younger Daughter: Daddy always says, Don't ride like Mr. Skinny!
(laughter) Me: I never say that though.
Mrs: Well you do now.
Me: Yeah, I guess I will.

Get up. Go ride.


  1. Caveman diet. Really? As in "Atkins is too sissy for me?"

  2. limom I checked some of the popular news sites, alas, the catchphrase did not catch.

    Steve, yeah, actually the modified JRA-Paleo Diet allowed me to lose 40 pounds over about two years, and keep it off. JRA-Paleo=Don't eat junk. Junk=packaged, heavily processed, long ingredient list, corn-based, added sugar or salt. I ate lean meats, fish, fresh fruits and vegetables, water, walnuts, a few other things with good Omega-3, fiber, and micronutrient levels. I'm not actively trying to lose weight any more, but I still try to avoid junk.

  3. I can promise, without any doubt at all, that I will not be riding like Mr. Skinny.


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