Respecting the road

I’m starting to understand cyclists more and more. I am not going to lie, I’ve always found them rather annoying. Not even because they are slow, but mostly because they scare me. I’ve always had a small fear that one is going to veer in front of me or fall off their bike when I’m driving behind them. That all became a little more real to me today.

When I decided to start getting into a workout routine and to start training for a triathlon, I knew I was going to need a bike. I didn’t want to cheap out and buy something to “try out” because I didn’t want to be out several hundred dollars when I realized that I was going to need a better bike. Plus, when you’re riding 9+ miles, you have to do it on the roads, most neighborhoods aren’t going to cut it. Since I knew I’d be out there with cars some, I wanted a bike that is more finely tuned and, therefore, less likely to put me in harm’s way.¬†bike cycle triathlon cannondale synapse road

So I bit the bullet and bought a beautiful road bike. And that’s exactly what it was made for: the road. There are only so many times you can loop through you neighborhood, constantly having to turn the bike around. I’ve tried trails, too, but they are often very rough, not very wide with tight turns, and lots and of runners that you’re having to dodge.

With the triathlon less than a month away, I know I need to get used to riding with cars on the road, since the roads will not be blocked for the race. So I took her out today down a road near my house, not too heavily travelled and I tried to go in the morning after rush-hour but before lunch.¬†Most of the ride was fine. A little nerve-wracking as cars are zooming past you and you’re doing your best to stay close to the side. But that led to a very scary moment.

I chose this particular road because a lot of it has very wide shoulder lanes where you can stay completely out of the way, but there are a few spots where there’s basically no shoulder at all. As I was headed back towards my house, a heard a car come up behind me so I tried to stay as far out of their way as possible, but I accidentally hit the edge of the asphalt. I’m not exactly sure what happened at that moment, but my bike jumped and I swerved into the lane. I’m sitting here thanking God right now that there was not another car behind the one that was passing me, because I could be in a very different state right now.

I tried to focus on just getting home and not thinking too much about what just happened because I could feel my legs starting to get weak. But I made it home in one piece with a new respect for the road and for the bicyclists who ride on it. I understand more why you have to take up part of the road. I know it’s an inconvenience when you come up behind someone on the bike and they’re moving at a snail’s pace and you have to wait for an opening to pass them. But I urge you to be patient and realize as a driver that you have a responsibility as the bigger and faster party to look out for the safety of others. In the grand scheme of things, those few moments of slowing down aren’t going to make a difference to you, but can make a huge difference to the person on the bicycle.

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