Monday, January 11

Don't Look Back

Photo at Intersection of Cindy and FM1709 from Google Streetview
Map from Google Maps

Part of my commute route, in its current state, takes me along FM1709, also known as Keller Parkway. It's a seven lane road, with fairly heavy, fairly fast traffic. Until a couple of years ago, it was a five lane road, with heavy traffic that backed up a lot more. Anyway, I ride along FM1709, usually between Anita and Cindy, both morning and afternoon. In the afternoon, it's daylight, and the light timing makes it a pretty simple jog from Cindy to Anita where I turn right. I'm rarely overtaken by more than a couple of cars because the rest are held for me by the light at Cindy. In the morning, it's a whole different experience. This time of year, it's right about dawn, with the car lights all turned on. What's more, the light timing is erratic, meaning sometimes I've got a simple run and sometimes a large wave of racing traffic catches up to me before I make my right.

It's really true that what's behind you is not important, but, lately, I occasionally look back after I turn on to Cindy. I can see why people get nervous about traffic. It seems like solid cars back there, all travelling at about 45mph or so. My advice: "don't look back."

Morning Route Shown. Afternoon is Reverse

13 comments:

Doohickie said...

I ride along FM1709, usually between Anita and Cindy

Wait... I thought it's illegal to ride three abreast!?!

Steve A said...

Everyone's a comedian!

Doohickie said...

Seriously though.....

Have you tried cutting over to Cindy via Cherokee Trail?

Also, I ride with a mirror. Usually it just reassures me to see that traffic behind me is behaving, and sometimes I use it to see what's going on prior to a lane change (I use a shoulder check too). But once, a van was flying up behind me and I lost my nerve and bailed over to the gutter. When the van passed me it was straddling my lane with its right tires in the left tire track where I had been traveling. So.... every once in a while the mirror can save you.

Doohickie said...

How long is your commute? 21 miles (do I remember right)? I'll tell ya, now that my commute is 17 miles long, I'm amazed you can do it. And ChipSeal's is even longer!

You guys are nuts.

And everyone at work thinks I'm nuts, too.

Chandra said...

Paul and Steve (and Chipseal), in the end game, you will be healthier than your coworkers.

I have been laying low (not biking), primarily due to gobs of work and returning at funky hours of the evening.

need to get back on the saddle!

be safe out there guys!!

peace :)

Steve A said...

Cherokee is loaded with stop signs. FM1709 was not part of my original route, but it's superior to either Cherokee or Bear Creek. It's about 20 miles even. The time and the weather is a bigger problem than the distance.

Rantwick said...

I like that. Don't look back. I agree bigtime. Seeing them as a mob in all their speedy massiveness just isn't good for the nerves.

Doohickie - I for one, do love a comedian. Pretty clever, I thought!

Keri said...

I'm in the "don't look back" camp, too. It's interesting to watch a platoon of cars approach... on the video monitor while sitting at my desk. On the road, it's just stress I don't need :-)

go said...

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Rantwick said...

What go said! Amen, brother.

cycler said...

I got followed in a threatening way for about 6 blocks today by a dump truck pulling a trailer who was p-o'd that I was taking the lane because we were going down a smallish residential street with parking on both sides and an icy shoulder. He kept gunning his engine. I didn't have to look back- I could hear him, and it was very stressful for me. It didn't matter to him that I was going traffic speed- he wanted me out of his way, and as soon as I got into the bike lane further down the street, he passed me relatively closely and at a speed inappropriate to the size of the street.
I basically agree with you I think about vehicular cycling being the best way, but I've gotta say it takes a lot of experience and a certain mental toughness to do it. I doubt we're ever going to get serious growth in bicycling if we can't provide some kind of infrastructure that doesn't require people to brave that kind of situation regularly, especially when they're getting started.

Rollz said...

I have been reading your blog for awhile now and I have to say that is the best post I have read. I wouldn't want to start the mirror no mirror debate. I used to use one and for the last few years I haven't and I don't miss it. I Don't look back. I wish you all safe like go said.

Steve A said...

I have a mirror. As a matter of fact it's my second mirror (the first one got run over by a car the day I tried it out). I use the mirror as a quick precursor to a head check or to help with general situation awareness. I would not use one to see how long before the mechanical monsters run me down.

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