Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Overcoming Barriers with Bicycles

After the storm

After the storm last night, after the wind howled and the rain poured, this scene was repeated in various forms in many places. Branches sheered off, trees felled by the winds, leaves and branches everywhere.

I paused here to ponder this fallen branch not because it presented an insurmountable obstacle, but just because I like to pause and ponder. How should I, a cyclist, deal with this? I realized that my options were many, indeed, were many more than a typical motorist in a comparable situation. I could:

  • Try to power through by riding just to the left of center there, to see if I could just lift it over
  • Duck under, pull the bike through, maybe a bit awkward, but no big deal
  • Lay the bike totally down on its side, and slide it under
  • If the previous failed, because of lack of room, and I really had to get through, I might be able to lift if over, or
  • I might be able to disassemble the bicycle to varying degrees, pass the pieces over or under, and reassemble on the other side. I have tools.
  • Fashion some kind of wood cutting mechanism with whatever I might have, in order to resolve the problem not only for myself, but for others who pass here.
  • Go around and carry the bike through the canal water. Completely not recommended, but not totally impossible.
  • Rope up to the standing limb, tie off on the fallen limb, hoist it up out of the way.
  • Hang off the road side and pull the tree down onto the street instead of the bike path. Also not recommended.
  • Use my cell phone to call the City to make them aware of the blockage, ask their advice, and check on how long it might be before they would come out to clear it. If not too long, just wait it out, enjoy the afternoon, chat with other cyclists who might come along and be of a similar mindset, before or after trying some or all of the above.
  • Wait in this spot until another strong wind of exactly opposite strength and direction comes along and blows it out of the way.
  • Think more. Write some poetry. Set up a lemonade stand here.
  • Ask the ducks what to do. They appeared utterly unperturbed by the fallen branch.
After these ruminations, I turned around and went back the way I came. I had no actual purpose in continuing beyond the fallen branch that was more pressing than turning around, so I just turned around.

Nearby, down in the street

Meanwhile, down in the roadway, I spotted this fallen tree pushed off to the side awaiting final removal. I imagine that if / when it was stretched across the roadway, there was less motorist pondering, and more honking. Think of it: honking at a fallen tree. I'm certain of it. DO SOMETHING I'M LATE AND HAVE TO BE SOMEWHERE. I guess.

Picture me there in the rain, on my bicycle, handing out suggestion cards.

Let's open a lemonade stand.
Please write a haiku about the storm.
Write down ten ideas for dealing with the tree which do not involve honking or getting angry.
Consider riding a bicycle instead. It opens up options when faced with fallen trees.

This is temporary. Perhaps going around a different way will pose little or no real inconvenience, anyway, in the large scheme of things. Why not be of a peaceful and contented disposition when doing that? Perhaps wherever you came from has attractions equal to where you thought you were going, and heading back is just as good as going forward. 

A bolt of lighting. Maybe it was lightning that blew that streetlight right off the pole.

Somehow knocked off a tall light pole during the storm. Possibly by the fallen tree.


  1. Reminds me of a broken truck I saw parked in the RH lane of a four-lane road. It was still there in the afternoon. Nobody honked at it or even crashed into it from behind.

    1. I'm sure some distracted driver came along to take care of that miss.


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