Day of rain. Strong storms rolling through the region – everything from rain to hail to high winds, and even some tornados (although fortunately not here).
We had a few light showers in the morning, but during a break in the action, Mark and I went out for a ride – hoping to get out and back before things got too nasty. We couldn’t have timed it more perfectly. The clouds were rolling, and the wind was picking up, but we managed to have a dry ride – a few drops of rain only at the very end, near home. I think I was making Mark pretty nervous – my typical stopping to take photos, while he kept eyeing the threatening skies.
My latest “beef” happens to be about some recent roadwork done by the folks at TDOT. About a week ago, some large and very noisy machinery showed up on our road. They ended up carving rumble strips/troughs/markings along the edges of our road – a narrow two-lane road that has barely any shoulder to begin with. I’m not sure why and when this decision was made – although being down in a valley, we tend to see a fair amount of early morning fog, and visibility on the road can be pretty bad at times.
Maybe it has made things safer for automobiles, but it has made my riding life a bit more of a brain-rattling headache. Now it is nearly impossible to move over onto (or even slightly beyond) the white line, without shaking the teeth out of my head and causing some control issues with my bike. It’s incredibly jolting – much more so than I ever would have expected. So now I’m pretty much forced to take the lane to avoid the rumble strip – which extends into the lane fairly significantly in several sections. I’m sure TDOT wasn’t ever considering cyclists in making the decision; a definite sign of priorities (and our not-so bicycle/pedestrian-friendly local culture).
Right now as I sit here, the wind is blowing pretty viciously, and I hear the rumbling of thunder in the distance. A sure sign that I should probably sign off and turn off my computer before the power goes out. Looking for some sun tomorrow. Fingers crossed!
An addendum to the rumble-strip mention … twitter friend @brennen forwarded this article to me, about the increasing numbers of rumble strips being installed on roads around the country (thanks to stimulus dollars), and the significant hazards they are posing to cyclists. It appears LAB along with several other advocacy groups are attempting to have changes made to (shoulder allowances, pass-throughs, etc.) to make it safer for cyclists. Very good article: http://www.bikingbis.com/blog/_archives/2010/4/28/4514086.html
I love the surrounding fields in the first light of morning. In the spring and fall, we always have some amazing mist hanging low in the valley. This morning, the light – as I saw it from out on our front porch – was especially beautiful.
It was a long day. The boys’ 14-year old car had finally reached the point of not-worth-fixing-again. Mark took the day off so we could do some car shopping, and we ended up finding a nice 2008 Honda Civic Hybrid as a replacement. I know it’s not as fuel efficient as a bike – but as far as vehicles go, I’m happy with the choice.
Came home and mowed grass, planted some corn, and finally – near 7pm in the evening – Mark and I got out for a quick spin. A front was moving in, and we didn’t have much daylight left. Tomorrow it appears we will see rain and some thunderstorms.
The last light coming through the approaching clouds was lovely – not as colorful as the morning, but still beautiful in a muted way. A fine ride, and a fine ending.