After a few false starts, it’s bicycle season again. I rode to class today, miraculously remembering everything I was supposed to — water, iPod, lock, bookbag. (What I forgot: to oil my chain, something it desperately needs. Fortunately the iPod, in addition to providing encouragement on the long hill home, can be adjusted to cover the noise.)
There are lots of bikes in A2, with more year-round cyclists than you’d think, in a climate like this. After the hell of Fort Wayne cycling, it first seemed like heaven to be in a city with bike paths on at least a few major thoroughfares. But, as a story in the A2 News points out tonight, there’s still some work to do:
Kris Talley was biking on Scio Church Road west of Ann Arbor last summer when she experienced the kind of scare every cyclist dreads.
A large gravel truck topped a hill and was coming up behind her fast, she said. There was no paved shoulder to slip out of the way, and an oncoming car meant the truck driver couldn’t ease into the other lane to pass. Talley said she managed to bail out on the rough gravel shoulder as the trucker blasted by, hand on horn.
The Ann Arbor resident and chair of the Washtenaw Bicycling and Walking Coalition managed to follow the driver until he pulled into a nearby gravel pit, where she confronted him about driving too fast. In the end, the two agreed on one thing after their hour-long conversation: Both motorist and cyclist would be better off with a paved shoulder for an emergency exit.
Having ridden (once) on a few of these roads, I can tell you that while a paved shoulder would be nice, what the road really needs is more considerate motorists. Especially when they drive gravel trucks.