Thursday, July 17, 2008

Rush hour (!)

This morning I had an appointment to take the trusty steed into the dealer for a scheduled warranty maintenance – at 9 A.M.

Normally I quite like being up and on the road early in the morning, but a 9 A.M. appointment meant I had to travel the last 25 kilometres on the 417 at the height of rush hour. As on most major urban highways, “rush hour” means that traffic moves along at 5 kph for several minutes, surges to 60 or 70 kph for a few seconds, then screeches back down to 5 kph again, or to a complete standstill. This pattern repeats endlessly until you reach your exit, or the other side of downtown.

Trying to ride on two wheels in this madness poses a particular challenge as you can only go so slowly before you have to stop or fall over (not recommended). So to avoid any of that unpleasantness, the smart rider opens up a couple of car-lengths ahead and uses that space as a buffer so that the “slinky” effect is minimised and hopefully a slow but steady pace can be maintained.

That is until the typical moronic Ottawa driver comes on the scene. They say nature abhors a vacuum; well so do Ottawa drivers. While doing my best to keep some open space in front of me so I could keep moving I had at least four drivers who were behind me pull out and pass, only to immediately pull back in front, taking up my space. Of course I then pulled back a bit to open it up again, only to have the next jerk do the same thing. Every one of these guys felt it necessary to pull out into another lane of traffic to pass so they could fill that hole in front of me, but not one of them got any further ahead than a single bike length.

Idiots!


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