It’s Time

It’s been awhile in coming, but I have finally concluded it’s time. This is the end of Bike Noob.

I’ve enjoyed writing the blog over the last seven years, watching the page views rise, and fall, and rise again. I’ve gotten to vicariously know some of you from your comments on my posts.

But lately, I’ve been less than enthusiastic when I realize it’s time to write another post. I’ve stockpiled ideas, and pulled them out when I needed them, although more often than not, the blog is a reflection of what I’m thinking about at the time I write it. When I started, I had a plan to post three times a week — Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday. I stuck to that plan for longer than I thought possible. But sometime in about 2013, I fell out of that routine. Missed a post? Not a big deal — you can write one tomorrow.

Except that when tomorrow came, I’d be in the same blase state as the previous day. Lately, I’ve been going a week without posting anything new. It’s really bad when I go more than a week without posting anything.

But lots of blogs don’t post on a regular basis. I’ve got several of them bookmarked in my feed reader. I wonder if they’ve abandoned their blogs without taking note of the fact. Then, lo and behold, one of them will write something — and disappear for another several months. I don’t want to do that. First of all, the rewards disappear. Page views plummet when new posts don’t appear regularly. I suspect bloggers who put up something every day — even if it’s not really worth putting up — have more traffic than I do. I know I have more traffic than folks who don’t post for weeks on end.

I’ve been able to keep this blog going because of some wonderful help from two guest posters — Jeff Hemmel and Don Blount. Jeff’s a freelance writer from Florida, and Don is a newspaper editor in California. They both started out as noobs like me, but unlike me, they both made rapid and substantial progress in their biking. Their contributions have kept Bike Noob around longer than it would have been otherwise.

I’ve watched my biking evolve over the past few years. Century rides don’t appeal to me anymore, but I love rides in the country of 30-45 miles. I used to train to get faster. Now, I couldn’t care less about that. It’s more about the ride than about the records. I discovered mountain biking — something I ignored for years, but when I tried it, found it to be tons of fun. I don’t worry about the weather anymore — if it’s raining, like it was this morning, I just find something else to do.

I’ve even been getting back to the basics of biking, as they were before MAMILS crowded the roads. I’ve been riding in cargo shorts, with (horrors!) cotton socks. They don’t get saturated with sweat, not by a long shot. I forgot my helmet the other day, and just kept going. Heck, when I was a kid, I’d ride my bike everywhere, and never wear a helmet.

Well, anyhow, all of those things put together have convinced me it’s time to pull the plug. Keep on pedaling, keep the rubber side down. I’ll still be on the roads and trails with you — you just won’t be hearing about it from me any more.

[UPDATE: While the author has stepped away, the blog will continue. Read more…]

Rolling Coal

The Bike Hugger Facebook page pointed me to an interesting piece today from Jalopnik — it seems that in New Jersey, they’ve outlawed the practice of “rolling coal.” That’s when a big ‘ol, jacked up four-wheel drive pickup passes you while blasting a cloud of black smoke back in your face. It’s about as funny as the jerks who interrupt female TV reporters by yelling a particularly nasty obscenity.

Here's hoping you don't run into something like this.
Here’s hoping you don’t run into something like this.

It’s happened to me only once — just about a year ago. I had made the mistake of taking a major state highway to get back to the start of my ride quicker. Even though I was in the clearly-marked bike lane, some pickup-driving doofus decided I shouldn’t be there at all, so he proceeded to demonstrate what his exhausts could do. Luckily for me, it lasted only a couple of seconds. He was soon well ahead, and there was enough of a breeze that day to dissipate the smoke quickly.

Sure, it was already against the law. The EPA has a regulation against it. But the New Jersey legislature wanted to pass its own law just to bring it to everyone’s attention, and hopefully to get the police to enforce the ban more strongly.

Now, if New Jersey can do it — New Jersey, mind you — what say the rest of the states get on the bandwagon? Shut these coal rollers down.


Selective Enforcement

One of the members of my cycling club sent out an email to the group the other day, warning of police ticketing cyclists who failed to stop before turning right on a red light. It seems there were three squad cars, all writing out tickets.

Now, this kind of thing has gone on before, but I haven’t heard a lot about it in several years. And what struck me as odd about this instance was that it took place on a Wednesday morning, at about 11 a.m. That doesn’t strike me as a busy biking time, but apparently there were enough wayward bikers out there to keep the police busy for a little while.

The intersection in question is one I go through all the time. And I’m guilty of making the right turn on red without stopping, too. I do it if no traffic is coming from the left. If there are cars coming through the intersection, I stop.

But what got my goat about this incident was that the guy who wrote the email said just 100 feet away from the enforcement effort, he was nearly hit by a teenage girl in a BMW, texting. While not stopping at a red light is not a good thing to do, texting while driving is a whole lot worse.

I wonder if the police ever set up texting stops?