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.
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My credit card got hacked. There is an upside

The issuing bank, which sent me an email alert today, presumably as weird charges started showing up, very kindly went over my current charges and I got a chance to dispute all the weird ones. I hope I got them all. So as of now, my card number is no good and I cannot log in to their online banking. So I can’t see what if anything I missed or got wrong. So that’s a drag. But because I phoned right away, they’re saying they’ll reimburse me for the disputed charges.
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How many more elections until we stop paying attention to polls

Opinion research in the internet eraI have to wonder why phone polls are still news and still given so much credence both by the media, media consumers and the political class generally. Almost the most interesting thing about the Ontario election (apart from the disintegration of Tim Hudak’s written-for-buzzfeed campaign platform) has been how completely whacked opinion poll numbers have been.
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Home again: another Rideau Lakes Cycle Tour done

This was waiting in the fridge for meThis was waiting in the fridge for me when I got home from day two of the Rideau Lakes Cycle tour earlier this afternoon.

  • See also Rideau Lakes Cycle Tour – 2014 a report from one of the radio operators that provide communications along the Classic route. Three ambulance-inspiring accidents. Ouch

I have some statistical trivia to share but the most important number to note is that in the last few months I’ve spent on average seven hours a week on my bike preparing. That’s a lot of time not spent looking after the child, the house and everything else to which I am committed as a father, partner and homeowner. I’d like to thank my lovely partner Irene Jansen for taking up that slack and tolerating that and my obsessive chit-chat about cycling numbers.

Speaking of which, I had a much better ride this year. My moving average this Sunday, for example, was 30.1km/h where last year’s was 29.1. The number for 2011 is 27.8km/h. Saturday was slower, and yet my average heart rate on Sunday was way lower (139bpm) than Saturday (158bpm). Could the tailwind do all that? I don’t have an actual power meter (they cost more than I paid for my bike) but Strava’s approximated power output says I worked harder Sunday (159 watts) than Saturday (155 watts).

But enough statistics. Let’s talk something really exciting. Road conditions.

Last year I raved about how great it was that they’d repaved 4th Line Road between Donnelly Drive and Marilyn Wilson Road.

I suggested that if they wanted to further the cause of cyclist butt preservation, they could take on the disintegrating pavement on First Line Road between Dilworth Road and Kars. (Heck they could drive the asphalt spreader all the way to 4th Line Road and not waste an ounce of tar.)

And lo and behold they’re repaving First Line Road between Kars and Dilworth. Co-incidence or conspiracy? Of course they were at the stage where they’d stripped off all the asphalt (no loss, really) and there was gravel and dirt for a couple of kilometres.

I don’t know if that road is a provincial or municipal responsibility but this citizen thanks whichever levels of government are responsible and tips my hat to the people doing the work.

Next year, I’d like to nominate Sand Lake Road or Rattle Ass Road as I like to call it.