Monday, August 21, 2006

The Zone

I get in two states when I'm commuting. Sometimes, for example if I'm on a two lane highway with gravel to my immediate right, I'm very conscious of traffic, and am concentrating on keeping a steady line close to the edge of the pavement. "Concentrating" on this however means that in fact I'm nervously veering side to side a little bit.
Then there's "The Zone," where I'm not thinking about anything and the traffic whizzes by and I slice a long straight line along the highway.
The Zone can be dangerous though. I often come across those damned storm grates which have the openings running lengthwise parallel to the road, and which are perfect for grabbing a cyclist's tire and throwing him/her into traffic. These are good examples (though they're not the ones on my route, just random storm grate shots I found on the web):

The ones we seem to have in the Greater Toronto Area have a full-length open groove on the extreme left of the grate, a moderately decent sized strip of steel running full length beside the open groove - this being the edge of the grate, and then all the smaller but still bike/life destroying grooves of the main part of the grate.
What a cyclist should do is avoid these damn things entirely. Sometimes however, when I'm in the zone, I can't be bothered to swerve, and ride right over the full-length edge of the grate, between the long opening and the network of openings. I really have to stop doing that.

The sunshine on my morning ride is perhaps a bigger issue than I am willing to admit. Sometimes (see previous post) when Kingston Road is aiming me right into the setting sun, I can barely see the streelights, let alone what colour they're showing. This makes me very worried about what the drivers behind me can see. I wonder if I should get one of these bad boys and just GLEAM my way through sprawlurbia. Think my cool factor would go up or down wearing one of these on a road bike?

And here are three random things:
The Ditty Bops are a two person girl band which is doing their American tour on bicycles, and documenting it on their blog.

Rick Mercer's "Talking to Americans" segments from CBC's This Hour Has 22 Minutes is up (in 5 parts) on You Tube.

These aired roughly around 2000. Mercer would grab random Americans, including senators, governors and professors, and get them to respond to totally inane facts about Canada - i.e. should Canada go to a 24-hour clock? Did you know that Prime Minister Jean Chr├ętien is black? How do you feel about the reinstatement of the polar bear hunt in Toronto?
It's a hoot, that's all I'll say. Here's Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four, and Part Five.

P.S. - this is my favourite movie of recent times, and the trailer is available here.


Rgscarter said...

That film looks fantastic (and has a great soundtrack).

And the DittyBops are a whole heap o' fun (see also: The Pipettes for that VERY retro bikes that I know of, though).

Dorothy W. said...

I've been following the Ditty Bops too -- I'm SO jealous of their long bike trip!

Eclectchick said...

Ack!! Those grates put TX cattle guards to shame.