GPC President’s Column – January 2014

Paving the Lane
– Freaky, fluky and fantastic!

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I had occasion last month to ride the newly surfaced namesake road for our club, Grizzly Peak Blvd.Silky.Yeah.Occasional gravel, loose rocks in the corners, and still needed to be cautious about traffic, both oncoming and from behind, but it was – as also reported already by several – a real pleasure compared with its former self. In the flats, many well-used streets being resurfaced.  Better maneuverability for all, I say! Hip Hip Hurrah!!

A few months ago, my name went on a letter in support of some paving also up on Wildcat. Meanwhile, the more I ride down in the flats, commuting here and there, I just hope that the funds to repave the hill section aren’t diverted from those roads in the flats that are horrible to ride – at a minimum – unpleasant, if not treacherous:  Shattuck, Oxford, Cedar, Rose, Chestnut, Cornell (your commute here)… I could name several dozen if I had to. I’m not sorry that I (as “GPC”) supported that paving prioritization, but my commuting life gives me a daily reminder that it’s important to choose battles wisely!

Up in the hills on another one of our favorite roads (“Pinehurts”), it’s the new yellow striping that’s causing some slip sliding of tires.I know that type of paint, as two years ago I took a fall and suffered a concussion when my wheel slid out after starting from a dead stop at an intersection heading to my office near work (a stop sign had been moved back about 10 feet, but the old “STOP” lettering and limit line paint had been left there; and there was just enough downward and sideways angle in the pavement and slickness in the paint surface to make my wheel slide). LBL Facilities Department ground out the old paint in response to the accident.Yay!

Nearby in those hills, it’s the off-leash dog walkers vs “those darned bicyclists”.  Can’t we all just get along?  Apparently not.  One more example of a “change.org” petition gaining momentum and force-feeding a reality?

On the path in our neighboring community, there was a recent and very tragic death. When passing another cyclist on path in the dark, a cyclist startled, encountering another user coming in the opposite direction, and apparently overcorrected, causing his own solo crash off the path and into the fence. Some other factors (speed, possibly insufficient lighting systems on part of all users, existing heart condition) likely contributed, but in my view the take-home is that we can build all the “safe” cycling facilities to supposedly “protect” us from what can happen out there on the road, and we still can’t protect us from ourselves. Sad. Slow down and be careful out there. And expect the unexpected.

Ben and I are slowing down and taking care this holiday, spending time with his Dad who at 87 is newly adjusting to living solo.  Cooking the traditional family meals and treats. Nutcracker with Barishnikov taped in 1987, viewed yearly on Christmas Eve. Here for over 20 years, in a somewhat remotely located desert community on the edge of the Mojave desert. To some it might seem too patterned, too rigid, but I see it, from my rather free-form manner, as so much to teach us from. Frank is 87 years old and reasonably healthy and happy with habits of a lifetime of good discipline, and the house is almost spotless in its maintenance. That’s a type of paving, too. (Wax on, wax off.).  My own parents had that discpline, somehow it didn’t transfer much to me in practice.

Speaking of habits, a fellow GPC officer posed a question to me recently…. people asking off and on about so and so, used to be such an active ride leader for the club, anything wrong?  Au contraire, I replied, goin’ strong, just pursuing some challenging fitness goals involving travel and time not particularly conducive to leading local rides, Read up my friend, read up! Besides, after so many years, a person deserves a break…. after all, no lack of other members stepping up to lead their own rides, no?

Each of us is paving the way for other people to follow, that’s what I think. Selflessly sharing with the membership and with the bicycle community as a whole, becoming a resource for members to discover the big world out there (maps, cue sheets, landmarks, sightseeing tips).

Ultimately, we are just a bunch of folks who love bicycles. And part of that is finding friends to occasionally (or for long periods) be able to sneak off and enjoy a bike ride together with one or two select friends. Not every ride has to be a group event….. but it sure is fun when it is!

Happy New Year to all and hope to see everyone some time or ‘nother out on the road. I hope to see many of you on Diablo to celebrate the New Year, Stay safe, ride fun!

Sherie

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