Thursday, October 21, 2010


It was dark: The room was blanketed in the early morning blackness that occurs just before the glow on the horizon marking the daily appearance of the sun. I was again startled from sleep by a bad dream of some sort or another. I lay there beside my still peacefully sleeping wife waiting on my heart rate to drop, the feeling of anxiety to wash away, and my brain to cleanse itself of whatever demons had traversed my subconscious this particular night. Seemingly increasing in frequency as I age, these intrusions happen when it’s too early to get up but too late to go back to sleep. I know the Navigator will be rising shortly to begin her preparations for the day and to fall back to sleep would only make me drowsy and irritable when my alarm sounds shortly. Sometimes, it’s just easiest to get up…

Such was the case this morning. Not wanting to return to sleep, I opened up the “Green Monster”, as my Dell Studio 17 is referred to at my LCS (local computer shop) and I knocked out a few of the day’s scheduled job items as the first pot of Organic Mexican coffee brewed nearby. The dawn was, well dawning, as The Navigator arose and I poured the first cup of my steaming morning elixir. I was soon to be rewarded with a great view from my deck as the rising sun crept over Mt. Pisgah and brought to life for another day the great golds, oranges, and reds of fall in Western North Carolina. It made getting up early, despite the reason for it, worth the effort…

In my readings over the past couple of days, I’ve been aware of a common thread that I’ll simply file under the category of SAFETY.

  • Are you FINANCIALLY safe? Dave Moulton at Dave’s Bike Blog poses the question in relation to your auto insurance coverage. He asks if you know what your coverage limits are in case, while riding your bicycle, you’re hit by an under-insured or, worse, non-insured driver. A point well taken… I’m checking on my limits today.
  • Are you safe in your SURROUNDINGS? Writing for Bicycling Magazine, Bob Mionske, covers sunrise and sunset issues that are perhaps somewhat more relevant at this time of the year although they are important throughout the year as well. I can think of several locations on my way to work in the mornings where the rising sun simply obliterates the view along surface streets. This will change in a couple of weeks as the sun rises later and sets earlier in the southwest. The time of my trip to work doesn’t change so the rising and setting sun are less of an issue and previously difficult streets to see are now clear.  Still, a timely consideration on safety… Of course, being safe in your surroundings is much, much broader in context than simply dealing with sunrise/sunset issues. Read most any posting at BikingInLA these days and you’ll find reference to cyclists being killed by inattentive drivers. Hey, you’ve got to watch for those flying golf balls too as Ted points out in his link to this one
  • Are you safe from ENCROACHING WILDLIFE? The VeloHobo carried this link on one ultra-light cyclist’s approach to dealing with Black Bears when camping. I don’t think you’ll find this approach in any recommended camping guide for the Great Smoky Mountains or anywhere else for that matter…

Then there’s feeling of being safe enough to do it all over again…

In the October 2010 issue of Road Bike Action Magazine (pg 21, Quote of the Tour), I ran across this quote from Jens Voight.

“I’m doing 70 km an hour on the first descent when my front tire explodes. Before I hit the asphalt, I actually manage to think that this is going to hurt. Both knees, elbows, hands, shoulders, and the entire left side of my body were severely hurt. My ribs are hurting, but hey, broken ribs are overrated anyway. Fortunately, I didn’t land on my face this time, and I’m still alive. I was offered a ride on the truck that picks up abandoned riders, but I’m not going to quite another Tour De France. Now, there’s a rest day, and Paris is not that far away.”

… and they say professional football players are tough!

Whether it's feeling safe enough in your own environs to sleep soundly or behaving safely enough in your day-to-day riding experiences, issues of SAFETY are always with us.  To paraphrase a long ago movie – “May the SAFETY force be with you!”

Until later,

- Zeke

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