Monday, December 21, 2015

A Bicyclist's Reason For Making His Bed

I make my bed every day and make sure my apartment is tidy and organized.

Here's why.

If a motorist kills me while I'm bicycling, I don't want my sister Debbie -- my designated person to contact in case of emergency -- to come in and see a messy place.

For me, that's life living and bicycling in the U.S,

The truth is that even with my risk management smarts, all my light-my-bike-up-like-a-Christmas tree illuminations and hundreds of thousands of road bicycling miles, a careless, distracted or uneducated motorist can end my life in a mere heartbeat.

I think about my mortality every time I leave my home on a bicycle.

Like tonight, when I prepared to ride my single-speed beefy-tired Surly Pugsley, with fat tires the width of those on many motorcycles.

I planned to bike down Alta Drive to downtown, a drop of elevation of more than 1,000 feet and then ride back home, returning to near the 215 beltway.

It was cold biking down the big hill 10 miles to downtown. I wore three long-sleeve shirts, a large bike jersey and a reflector vest, plus tights and gloves. As I flew down the hill hitting speeds of 20-25 mph on the single-speed steel beast, I could hardly feel any tension in my pedal stroke.

*   *   *

As I was bicycling back home from downtown, a woman drove a car onto a sidewalk near the Paris hotel on the Strip and killed one person and injured 36 others. There's a possibility that the driver intentionally drove her car on the sidewalk to try and harm pedestrians. Terrorism was ruled out.

Just today, I heard that a bicyclist hit by a motorist in Henderson in early October has succumbed to her injuries and has died this month. The bicyclist, Cara Cox, was the ninth bicyclist to be killed by a motorist in the Las Vegas area in 2015.

I don't understand how we as a nation and a city can accept so much carnage on our streets without a come-to-God epiphany that we need to drastically revamp the education process by which we allow people to get behind the wheel of a car.

With all this carnage and deaths on the roads, people wonder why I ride a bicycle so much.

Bicycling is like breathing. I need to do it.

*  *  *

On the way home, I caught up with another night-time bicyclist, a bike commuter who works at SLS on the Strip.

Tad bikes 10,000 miles a year, and never drives. He's not allowed to. He said he's technically blind and can't get a driver's license.

But he's fine at biking, and pedals his 25-30 mile roundtrip for his job from Summerlin to SLS and back.

Tad enjoyed checking out the fattie with red and white lights rimming both wheels.

We chatted all the way up Alta Drive, swapping bicycle stories. He even worked for Sheldon Adelson at the Venetian, where Tad performed as an Italian-theme singer at conventions and on the gondolas.

It was around 9 p.m. when I got home.

And my bed, made and perfect, was just like I left it.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

A very eloquent expression of a situation that is on our minds every time that we ride.