Thursday, January 15, 2009
Slippery when wet
My office was still dark, and I was changing clothes when my phone rang Wednesday morning. Instead of saying “hello,” the caller simply opened the conversation with, “Did you ride your bike this morning?” It was a staff member calling in to report that she didn't know when she would get to work after a night of freezing rain had coated the Glenn Highway with a sheet of ice.
It was 32 degrees outside, and the rain was still coming down. All over town, cars were stuck and/or colliding with one another on the icy roads. Schools were closed. The university was shutting down. The city was suspending public bus service. A major local freight company was sending drivers home canceling all deliveries for the day.
A few minutes later, after I’d opened my door and window blinds, another woman arrived at work and poked her head in before going to her desk. “Did you ride your bike today?!” she asked.
Other riders were facing the same bewilderment among co-workers all over town. I started a “roll call” thread in the commuter forum at akspokes.com to ask who had ridden to work, and then watched the responses come in:
Amber—“I had to laugh at the people attempting to drive. I felt MUCH safer on my bike.”
Jordy—“I was glad I rode, traffic looked like hell. Everyone @ work was just shaking their heads.”
Ajofatbike—“I think I was going straighter and faster than most of the cars.”
BikeMonkee—“I felt much safer on the bike than trying to negotiate all the traffic hazards.”
What were drivers talking about when they arrived (many of them late) to work? Stress, sliding through intersections and how many cars they saw in the ditch.
And how “insane” bike riders must be.