Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Going Uphill . . . Both Ways!

Today, I had a nice chat with the mother of a student that I tutor. She saw my bike propped up against a wall in my classroom and asked if I was a bike commuter.

"We'll see," I said. "I'm giving it my best shot so far, and it's working."

It turns out that she and her husband are avid cyclists. She started out mountain biking, then switched to road riding on the weekends.

We talked for awhile about the joys and perils of riding, bicycle accidents, and the importance of asserting our rights to the road when riding (because safety is more important than popularity).

After she left, I changed into my cycling gear, packed my bags, and began the 10 mile trip home.

This morning, on Westheimer Parkway, I rode into a headwind as I headed southwest. It probably wasn't much, but since I'm a big fella and my position on the bike is high profile, it felt like a big deal to me.

Turning eastbound onto Westheimer Parkway tonight, I began pedaling at a brisk cadence and was able to spin in a higher gear than I had either yesterday or this morning.

Then, when the road turned a little northeast, I ran smack dab into a headwind again! It lasted until I was descending the east side of the berm that borders the east side of the park.

For some strange reason, I started thinking about the "When I Was Your Age" speech. You know how it goes, don't you?

When I was your age, I didn't have it nearly as easy as you! I had to get up before the sun every morning, do my chores, and get to school.

And I didn't have no fancy school bus, either! I had to walk six miles, barefoot, in the snow, going uphill . . . both ways!
My karma account got a deposit today.

The light at Westheimer and Highway 6 appeared to be malfunctioning. When I first queued up at the light, I was too far back to make it through the intersection during the brief green light. Then, when I was sitting at the head of the line, the lights remained red for a couple of cycles on Westheimer while alternating between northbound and southbound traffic on Highway 6.

I noticed that the button for the pedestrian signal was beside me. So, I moved up onto the curb, dismounted, and pushed the button.

Sure enough, the light changed. I crossed as a pedestrian, walked to the next driveway, remounted my bike, and joined traffic from there.

So, if you were one of the drivers stuck for a few minutes this evening on Westheimer at Highway 6 . . .

You're welcome!

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