Friday, May 2, 2008

Close Call Friday

With the jury duty complete, it was back to work today. I probably should have stayed home since I need to go to the data center tomorrow and change the batteries in a couple of big UPSes. But, I went ahead and made the trip into work. It was a difficult chore since I was riding. NOT!

During the ride in I did follow another rider commuting via sport bike. But he was the only thing noteworthy during the 55 miles to the office.

About mid-morning I made a trip to the local computer store to pick up some CD-Rs and that's when I started noticing several drivers at cross streets that would start to enter my space but then stop. My anxiety level was increasing ever so slightly.

The traffic on my way home for the day was heavy especially on the north outer belt, I-270. If I had my 'druthers, I ride in the hammer lane of that highway every time. That way, the idiots driving their cars can only get you from one side. But try as I might, I have a very hard time maintaining the speed for that lane - 85 mph minimum with a posted limit of 65 mph. Its nuts!

Anyway, 20 miles later I merge over into the slow lane since my exit is approaching. Cruising along at a respectable 70 mph with about 2 miles to go before my turn off, I hear a car horn. It's very close. And I realized that my concentration has drifted and my mental map of the players around me is not valid anymore.

A quick head check to the left showed that an F-150 pickup two lanes over was muscling a Mazda Protege for the lane to my left and the Protege was creeping towards me. In fact, it was two feet into my lane before the truck stopped his infringement and the Protege was able to get back where they belonged. I had already shifted to the center of my lane but if I had wanted to, I could have kicked the passenger mirror off!

Anyway, I made it to my exit and promptly found a county road heading east: less traffic, no construction, and only the occasional crazy groundhog or skunk.

I think I'll start wearing a Hi-Viz vest, especially on Fridays.


Earl Thomas said...

The worst part of my commute everyday, is the 5 or 6 miles of Interstate, and State Highway traffic that I have to deal with in town. There is an exact point in my ride where my attitude changes, almost instantly, from survival to leisure. That moment is when I turn off the main road and contend with "Said Skunk" and the occasional farmers tractor. My speed slows down 15 miles per hour as well when I no longer have to try to survive.

Doug C said...

Yeah, about half of my commute is on the superhighway. And you just can't let your guard down for a second. I'll call this event my one reminder of that fact and know that I'm fortunate that I got at least one.

Rick said...

Sometimes it is crazy out there. Glad you were OK.

RazorsEdge2112 said...

Hey, Doug. Glad you are OK. Some people shouldn't have their drivers licenses at all! Riding back from Laughlin a few weekends ago, about six riders, including myself were happily riding together at about 70 MPH, all sharing lanes and being happy and safe. Rider to my right exited the highway, so I moved over to take his place as my exit was coming up. Apparently that gave the car driver behind me the go-ahead to slip into the 1/2 lane I left open and crowd the bikes in the left lane. Startled the crap out of me. That little move generated several one finger salutes, and it looked like the big Harley rider in the front kicked the car as he passed.

It really can be friggin nuts out there!

irondad said...

You're now a little more battle tested, my friend. Little by little you will realize how capable you are of taking care of yourself.

Doug C said...

Rick: Gotta figure if it's Friday (or anyday) and I'm anxious to get home, others are too. Just got to move to DEFCON 2.

Razorsedge: Unbelievable! The more I see and hear the more I just shake my head. What were they thinking? Or not thinking?

Irondad: I'm just thankful, knock on wood, that I don't have the congestion that you have in the NW. Central OH has the stupid drivers but not the traffic.