21 October 2008

You heard?

There's a couple of new developments in the local bike community that have garnered much interest in the last few days. The first is the opening of the two-way bike lane through the transit center in the Rose Quarter. It's a place for bikers to meet, hang out, talk about their likes and dislikes while sipping on some great Indonesian herbals or, from what I understand, absinthe. Actually, it's a through route where once there wasn't (but, as always, there's no loading in the green zone). It's never been a major commute thoroughfare for me personally, but I know a lot of people where motivated to see this done. And now it is. I'm going to make my inaugural ride this evening. I'll report back my experiences.

So I gave the new lanes a twirl last night on the way to swim lessons at Matt Dishman Community Center. It was over before I knew it. I can say that it's a heavily biked corridor. Mostly my experience confirmed my initial reservations about bike bells.

The second bit of news of interest to bikers is the issuance of bike lights by city cops in advance of planned citations for not having them. This morning I had my first ever run in with police on my bike. Traffic was lined up at the five-way intersection at Burnside. So I did what I like to call the penta-coast through the gap in traffic on twelfth heading west on the Ankeny bike boulevard. I touched my brakes gently before cruising through perpendicular to the stopped one-way traffic. A safe move because the traffic's not going anywhere but admittedly illegal.

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At the front of the line was a motorcycle policeman who communicated his disapproval over his PA. "You need to be content to stop."

"Content to stop," the phrase stuck with me for the remainder of my ride. It was almost philosophical. Where else in my life could I apply this axiom. The ramifications of this reflective approach seemed endless, beyond the immediate biking application. I turned the phrase over in my mind repeatedly as I pondered it's meaning. And then I thought, "Maybe he said, 'You need to at least attempt to stop.' "

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