I did a little utility cycling today with a trip to three stores in Warwick and Cranston. The furthest away is the Target on Bald Hill road – about 12 miles from my house. In Rhode Island terms, this is a big trip. I can get almost everything I need at the stores in my neighborhood, but I kind of like the ride to Target, most of which is on the Washington Secondary Bike Path. It also means I get to visit Trader Joe’s, just down the street. I stocked up at TJ’s with about 10 pounds of nuts and fruit, and I cleaned up on Cliff Bars at Target. I was pretty loaded down at this point – I’d guess that my panniers with their loads were almost equal to the weight of my bike. There’s kind of an odd phenomenon to riding with full panniers: once you get rolling, it’s almost like the load just pushes you along. My bike has much more inertia with a full load and it seems more stable in a way. It certainly makes going uphill more difficult – but there’s just a certain heft to riding this way. Anyhoo, I also stopped at EMS to check out their jerseys.
After leaving EMS, I had the option of making my way back to the bike path, or heading home on Reservoir Ave (aka RI Route 2). I’d been on Rt. 2 for a while by this point – it was the best way to get from TJ’s to EMS. There seemed to be plenty of shoulder, and the drivers were giving me plenty of room when they passed. The way to get back to the path seemed convoluted, plus I’d only be on the path for about 3 miles. So, I opted to stay on Rt. 2. Cars passed me, I passed cars at stoplights – the usual suburban stop-and-go. There were a few places where I couldn’t ride in the shoulder due to: excessive amounts of sand (no visit from the street cleaner?), cars parked in the shoulder area (legally), or broken glass. So, I rode in the right hand lane, and most of the cars went around me without a fuss. A red Honda Accord honked at me before overtaking me. They gave me plenty of room, and instead of glaring at them, I decided to take Jenny Ondioline’s advice – I smiled, waved and blew them a kiss. The two middle-aged ladies in the car seemed to get a kick out of it, and we all went on with our business. And now instead of stewing and feeling embarrassed about getting all road-ragey like I did a few weeks ago, I’m feeling pretty relaxed. Therefore, from now on, it’s all smiles, waves and kisses for all honkers.
Quasi-honk report: instead of tackling the 12 % grade on my usual route home, I went up through the college hill area. Brown’s commencement is tomorrow, so the area is full of people right now, including slow-driving luxury vehicles desperately looking for a parking place. Once I was a few blocks from home and traffic picked up, I was passed by a Tahoe or some such GM SUV. A passenger yelled something out the window at me. I’ll file this under honk report, although it’s a little different. Evidently, there’s an odd Rhode Island tradition of car passengers leaning out their windows and yelling random things at pedestrians (and cyclists, I suppose). I’ve tried using popular internet search engines to figure out the origin of this, but I haven’t found it yet. When I’ve asked native Rhode Islanders what the deal is, they usually just say, “I dunno, it’s just a Rhode Island thing to do.” It seems like it’s not particularly aggressive, just random and mostly intended to startle the pedestrian. Still, I’m filing it under Honk Report.
(the honk report is inspired by the Carbon Trace blog from Springfield, MO)
No pictures from my ride today. Instead, here’s an old Ferrari I spotted during my visit to Portland. I’m not a big Ferrari fan, they are so far out of my league that it’s not even worth thinking about. But this one is just plain beautiful.