Another Saga in the books

Take it to the bridge.

The Ride Your Own Damn Bike Festival® continues. The Soma Saga (disc-brake model) has been added to the tally, which to date includes the Jones, Sam Hillborne, Voodoo Nakisi, Co-Motion Divide Rohloff, Nobilette, Bianchi Zurigo and Soma Double Cross.

Yesterday we rolled down to the bosque and back via the usual off-street paths — Paseo del Norte, North Diversion Channel, and Paseo de las Montañas, with a stretch of Indian School Road for the fear factor.

It was a gorgeous day, with little wind, and I was able to peel off the arm and knee warmers when I got down to the bosque (it’s about a thousand-foot drop from El Rancho Pendejo). Gotta get that geek-tan going, don’t you know.

For symmetry’s sake I should ride the Soma Saga canti’ bike next. But it has a squeal in the front pads that I need to address, and I feel like riding a bit of actual trail, so it’s Steelman Eurocross No. 1 today.

Meanwhile, props to the guv for vetoing HB 192, a safe-passing measure altered at the final hour by a poison-pill amendment that would have forced cyclists “to the extent practicable” to leave New Mexico’s roads when separate bike lanes/paths are available.

Sayeth the guv: “Although it is vital that we make our roads safer for cyclists, the ambiguous provision added to HB 192 does not give sufficiently clear guidance to cyclists and law enforcement with respect to what conduct by cyclists is or is not permitted.” She urges the Roundhouse to have another go at it. So do I.

Props to Khal for passing the word along.


29 Responses to “Another Saga in the books”

  1. khal spencer Says:

    You know, I hate to say this, but the way she wrote that veto message made it sound like she was one of us. Maybe this is why.

  2. Patrick O'Grady Says:

    Good on ’er, sez I. I ride most of the various off-street options we have here, though the Tramway trail is more than slightly hairy at most (if not all) of its intersections. I just don’t want anyone forcing me to ride them.

    Especially when they’re dangerous, like where the Tramway trail meets the intersection of Tramway and Montgomery. That is the corner of Death and Dismemberment right there.

    • khal spencer Says:

      Zounds. Many of these designs are meant to, as John Schubert used to say, “separate bike and car traffic until the moment of impact”.

      I was riding in Boulder, CO, where they have those buffered bike lanes. So you are way to the right of motor traffic. I was headed downtown for no good reason and approaching a major intersection, since Boulder is still a Car Kingdom. Someone came whipping into a right turn just as I was entering the intersection. Good thing that bike shorts are black, I’ll say that. They don’t show where you have peed your pants in Fear.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      The ol’ self-lubricating chamois. Been there, done that.

    • Pat O'Brien Says:

  3. larryatcycleitalia Says:

    “Separate but equal” never is. I’m surprised they didn’t tack on some of the “blame the victim” requirements while they were at it. You know, the blinky lights, crash hats, reflective vests. All the stuff that does no damn good when the dolt behind the steering wheel is looking at a tiny screen instead of WTF they’re going.

    I had one of those yesterday here in Napoli. Heading up through the chaotic traffic I swung out to pass a stopped bus. Yes, I WAS just a wee bit over the center line but nobody was coming the other way at the moment. But someone WAS coming from behind – some a-hole on a scooter going at least 50 kph by my guess – way too fast to do anything about a cyclist popping out from between the back of the bus and the car just behind. That assumes the guy was paying attention in the first place of course.

    WHAM! My handlebars were shoved over to the extreme right as the end of the bar seemed to impact some plastic on the scooter before the guy’s gut (or lower, I’m not sure) and he halfway fell off the thing. He started to berate me, but when I started giving it back just as hard, he sheepishly piped down while holding his uh, well. As I continued up the road I half expected him to come up and give me some more s–t, but I guess he kind of figured out it was as much his fault as mine – or more?

    Here in Italy, in any populated area, the motor scooters are the most dangerous enemy of the cyclist. Too fast for the skills of most of the pilots but narrow enough to fight with you over any way through the traffic, no matter how tight the squeeze might be. I keep a well-placed left elbow out in these conditions, just to hint at the possibility of applying their front brake for them!

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      “That assumes the guy was paying attention in the first place of course.” I want to give everyone the benefit of the doubt, but that’s a bridge too far for me. Damn near nobody is paying attention. The few that are often don’t give a shit about anyone but themselves.

      I nearly got centerpunched by some young halfwit in a Trek jersey yesterday. He was riding one of the local trails too fast for conditions and either was unaware of or ignoring IMBA’s Rules of the Trail (which are posted in spots, one of which was not far from where we encountered one another).

      I had seen a couple horse trailers in the parking lot as I rode through and onto this trail, so I was keeping my eyes peeled, and a good thing, too. This numbnuts came thundering down a slope as I was ascending same, and it was pretty clear he was not going to yield trail. So I slowed down and tried to figure out which line he was taking, which was not easy, because he was all over the place. I don’t want to grab any more cholla, thanks just the same.

      Finally he went into a fishtailing skid and slid by without a word. I had a few in mind, but I kept them to myself as it was too nice a day for fisticuffs. He was probably earbudded up and wouldn’t have heard me anyway. Everybody is selectively deaf these days.

      Around the next corner and a hundred meters or so down the trail I saw the equestrians. I dismounted, shouldered the Steelman, stepped off the trail and exchanged pleasantries. One rider asked directions to the parking lot and I thought, “Good thing these folks weren’t a few minutes quicker.” It could’ve ended badly.

      Mistakes will be made, as the fella says. But there would be fewer of them if folks tried a little harder to stay in the moment, focus on the task at hand, and take the rest of the world into consideration.

      • Pat O’Brien Says:

        Stupidity, arrogance, entitlement, earbuds, and Strava turn nice trails into racetracks. After a kid crashed hard, think 911, on the Brown canyon trail a few years ago, he admitted to trying to beat another rider’s strava time. I still see some riders like him. But, the worst are those earbud wearing jerks. Road or trail, they are simply unaware of their surroundings and that endangers me when I pass them. I am really close to using my Jetscream emergency whistle, always hanging on my hydration pack, to wake these assholes up when the bell and voice don’t work. 110 DB ought to do the trick

  4. Pat O'Brien Says:

    I’m starting to think I have it pretty good here in Sorry Vista. In over 20 years of riding, I can count the close calls on one hand, and none of them resulted in any contact or confrontation. My riding style is hyper defensive, but not paranoid, as a result of the close calls. But, road riding on my common routes is still fun.

    • larryatcycleitalia Says:

      If you stay outta the highly populated areas, cycling in Italy is great! I would never want to live in a place like Napoli, Rome or Milan long-term just like I wouldn’t want to live in LA, SF, NYC, etc. for the same reasons. Cities seem to have have concentrated a-holes no matter where they are in the world.
      But when they give your wife a Fulbright ya gotta go where they tell ya and her deal was to do something in the south of Italy. The University of Naples Federico II is well….in Napoli…so here we are for about 5 more weeks. Then it’s the amazing peace and quiet of our Piedmont Cycling Resort. Ah…the serenity!!! I’ll miss the best pizza on earth but not so much the city’s chaos and noise.

  5. JD Dallager Says:

    I gave up road cycling 6 years ago here near Bibleburg. Too many close calls. Now I only MTB. If I’m going to die cycling, I’ll do it myself.

  6. khal spencer Says:

    It was a good thing that Her Governorship vetoed this. A lot of us put time and effort into emailing, haranguing, getting on the radio, etc. Special callout goes to Jennifer Buntz, the grand poobah of Duke City Wheelmen, who wrote probably the best letter to Gov. Lujan-Grisham. For a change the system worked.

    Sort of worked, anyway. I do think that Sen. White of Albuquerque put that amendment in as a poison pill to kill the bill. What I cannot figure out is why the Donk sponsors accepted it. Maybe they were just clueless about the effects.

    I was on the radio this week about it up in Fanta Se. Maybe she listened.

  7. John Crenshaw Says:

    I sent my letter urging a veto “with regret” and meant it. Beyond the safety issue, as I recall, Bernalillo County deputies and probably other cops trotted out the old side path law to hassle cyclists in the ’80s into the ’90s, until its repeal. The sponsors and most supporters of this bill are young enough and/or new enough to NM not to know that history, and didn’t have any time to explore potential ramifications. I think there’s a very good chance a detoxified version will be brought up in the 2020 legislative session, even tho it’s a short one, and pass.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Now we need a mandatory cellphone/vehicle interlock system. If your phone is on when you get into your car, the car won’t start. If you turn it on while driving, the car’s autopilot takes over and drives you to the nearest police station, where the ranking officer gets to shoot you.

      • JD Dallager Says:

        PO’G: I’m not sure technology is necessarily a good remedy to humans who choose not to exercise discipline, commonsense, and good judgment. Much less their disavowment of accepting responsibility for their actions.

        Many homo sapiens (and I use the term sapiens very liberally) are infatuated with technology and become enamored of and distracted by it, rather than maintaining good “situational awareness”. E.g. cellphones, heads up displays in cars, GPS, etc.

        When I flew fighter aircraft we would intentionally turn off portions of the avionics to see if the pilot could actually look out the window, figure out where they were, and fly the jet.

        And as we all know, someone will quickly figure out a way to bypass the tech system designed to protect them……for a profit of course. 🙂

        As Larry’s wife says………….

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        Hijo, madre. Shutting off bits of this and that to see if you could fly the jet must’ve been … fun. In a real scary sort of way.

        What were you flying? I was able to get the occasional kite and model rocket off the deck, but that was about it. A born groundlubber.

        And yes, you’re right, someone would quickly hop my little techno-curb. You can’t fix stupid, especially if stupid has money.

        • JD Dallager Says:

          PO’G: I flew F-4s, A-10s, and F-15s. Great fun…… but not as much fun as reading Mad Dog Media!!!! 🙂

        • Patrick O'Grady Says:

          You must have enjoyed the hell out of that. The old man sure loved flying, and he kept it up for as long as they’d let him once he was mostly down to piloting a desk.

          I love watching aircraft. We never missed an Armed Forces Day on Randolph, and enjoyed a few at Peterson too. It was always something to climb into the machines you’d only seen in the movies.

          In Tucson we used to catch the Zoomies coasting over the university with gear down, ever mindful that one of them had stacked an A-7D just south of the U a couple years earlier after his engines croaked. The pilot got out OK, but a couple folks on the deck weren’t so fortunate.

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