Dudes yelling at me won’t ruin a great ride

I’ve been riding twice this week and both times – once on Colonel By, once on the Ottawa River Parkway – a young white dude has taken it upon himself to roll down his window and point out the bike path just off to our right. I wish there were a universally recognizable gesture for “I’m riding too fast to use the bike path, it wouldn’t be safe.” If anyone knows one please reply in the comments.

Today’s ride featured perfect weather a huge deer by the roadside in Dunrobin Shore and a resurfaced Corkstown Road between Moodie Drive and March Road. This is huge for me and anyone who uses Corkstown on one of about a billion west bound bike routes. It’s a safe east-west thoroughfare, but up until this summer some time, the surface could best be described as punishing.

No longer. Smooth as a baby’s bottom.

Also, I got to walk through/with the Caribana parade along Wellington. Alas I was not wearing dancing shoes.

And speaking of improved road conditions, First Line Road, between Century Road and Roger Stevens Drive – possibly all the way into Kars – has been repaved. This stretch of pavement was – without exaggeration – disintegrating. But I rode it Wednesday and it too has been resurfaced.

I’m thinking posted speed limits might help

I don’t generally use my bike on Ottawa’s multipurpose pathways. Because I heard somewhere that you’re only supposed to do 20km/h on them. I prefer to ride faster than that. Once, while cycling on Colonel By (not five feet from one of said pathways) I had a motorist yell at me to get off the road and use the pathway.

Despite this, I don’t ride the pathways because – especially at my preferred cruising speed – I pose a much greater risk to the more vulnerable pedestrians. And apparently the speed limit’s 20km/h, as reaffirmed in this Citizen article about the argy-bargy between pedestrians and cyclists over who’s making the pathways unsafe.

But you know, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a speed limit sign on any of the pathways. Am I wrong? Am I wrong in thinking posting the speed limit might clarify for riders the… um speed limit?

Summer is still here somewhere

Mallory in the kayak I think it’s really important to remind myself that despite the 13 degree weather that we’re still in full summer. And that this little aberration is not going to continue. It cannot. It must not. It shall not.

A bad biking week that ended well

Earlier this week a guy pulled up beside me as I was riding south on Bank Street at Catherine. He rolled down the window of his full-size SUV to give me grief about how I was taking up too much space. “Man do you know how easily I could have clipped you!” He shouted. Among other things.

He didn’t seem furious or angry – just excited. But I’ve been in confrontations with drivers before and generally they don’t go well for the cyclist. Besides I had to get groceries and pick up Mallory at day care and had very little time to do it. And I had no idea how he’d react if I told him about the Highway Traffic Act and how I’m a vehicle too and all that.

So I did like the Disney guides say and didn’t respond; didn’t make eye contact. He rolled up his window and drove away.

Then later this week and and a little further north, a guy in what looked to be a surplus cop car or taxi pulled over – without signalling I note – and parked in front of Tommy and Levebvre pulling as close to the curb as possible. Only I was between his rear door and the curb at the time.

I tried to leap onto the curb but I didn’t unclip in time and instead I fell onto the sidewalk. Luckly I got only a couple of raspberries on my knees and elbows.

Two women, watching, expressed their shock at what the driver did but again, I had places to go, people to see. So I got on my bike and rode away. This time I was too angry. I yelled at him to ‘fucking signal’. He didn’t make eye contact with me as I glared at him.

Off I went.

However I rode 99km today through city and countryside and had nary a glimpse of a problem with cars and their drivers.

Funny how that goes.

See? See? No one is reading your bloody PDFs

Forum One, a Washington and Seattle based digital communications consultancy has found a report on a World Bank report on… usage statistics on its own reports which are distributed in PDF.

While the original document (which is, itself a PDF) steams through 32 pages of blah de blah trying to correlate teeny tiny download statistics with other publishing factors like the cost of the study, the subject matter, the clarity of the expression of the paper’s development objective, they note, but proceed to ignore this very basic fact.

Almost no one is downloading their reports. I’m borrowing the Washington Post image to show you. Continue reading

Growing by leaps and bounds

growing-by-leaps-and-boundsI daily marvel at my daughter. I expect I’m like most parents. But I often get caught in the mental rut of baby parenting, despite the fact that Mallory’s eight. The baby parenting rut assumes the child is totally incapable of almost everything. But every now and again Mallory does something (or several things) to knock the needle out of that groove.
Continue reading