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Headwind and the Angry Andie...

andie peleton.jpgTraining continues for the upcoming (so fast!) CIBC 401 Bike Challenge. I am not going to lie, the Daybreak schedule has certainly added a new challenge with training times. I do bike to and from work at the Radio Canada-CBC building every day with a few training rides thrown in during the week for good measure but I have yet to clock a good long 80-100km ride and that needs to happen sooner than later. This week will be all about getting in some km's and attacking Camillien Houde for some good hill training on the mountain.
Yesterday I had one of those horrible rides where half the time you are beezing along with the wind at your back then you turn around and realize that the universe is out to suck your soul with every pedal stroke. I got my first real taste of headwind last year during the CIBC 401 Challenge. On day 2 (the long day) with 255 kms on the menu, we faced an unusual East- West wind. It was brutal. I can't even really complain as the wonderful beasts of the peloton did everything they could to insulate me and block the wind from hitting me but its impact was definitely felt. It slowed us down and it takes a lot of effort to remain positive in those conditions.
It was a great motivator to see my cousin/cancer survivor Jeff at a family wedding last weekend. He had schlepped his bike all the way to Niagara on the lake so I felt a bit lazy to not have brought mine. I blame Via Rail and by no means my desire to have a bike free weekend. ;)
Check out my page to read about why I am doing this and how I got roped into a bike ride from Toronto to Montreal in 2.5 days!

I also thought it might be fun to post tips for sharing the road/bike paths so here are my 'Rules according to Andie':

Take a peek at what's coming before you launch onto the bike path. You would not step into traffic without looking both ways so you should transfer that reflex to cycling.
Biking the wrong way down a 1 way street is not smart. Unless you live on that street and are on your way home don't do this. You give us all a bad name.
Signal. Whether you are turning on a street or taking a turn off the bike path a simple point of the arm would help me avoid ploughing into the back of you on a turn out of nowhere.

Where do I start? You are aware it's a 2 way bike path correct?

Pedestrians/people enjoying the sun next to the path:
For the love of god watch your dang kids. I actually do not want to mow down a toddler chasing a ball across the bike path with the parents blissfully unaware about 20 meters away.
Walking  2 abreast on the bike path- acceptable especially if you are keeping an eye open- 4 abreast across the entire path? Not cool.
Be aware of where the path is. It's very easy- especially on that De Maisonneuve bike path -to step into it without realising and that can be dangerous...for you and the cyclist you step in front of.

There are certain things I think should be second nature if you are driving a car. Knowing what's around you is a big one. Look around, check your mirrors before you pull out of a parking spot. ESPECIALLY if you are parked inside of a bike path as is so common in Montreal.
Dooring. If you have not heard of this phenomenon it is when a cyclist rams into a car door that has opened unawares right in front of them leaving little or no time to react. This is a twofold danger. Swerving at the last second means you are going blindly into traffic and not swerving you obviously are in for a pretty severe impact to the car door. If you cannot get in the habit of glancing at your side mirror, I have heard if you start opening your door with your right hand it sort of forces you to glace back to see what is coming.
Don't be so angry. I understand sometimes driving with cyclists in this city can be frustrating. Try to remember however most of us are just trying to get from point A to point B safely and quickly. Will it really affect your day to let that cyclist go ahead of you, or go by before you turn in front of them? Even if you believe the cyclist is in the wrong, try to remember you are at the wheel of a hunk of metal that can weigh upwards of 4000 lbs.

I think every driver should commute by bike for at least a week to see things from a different perspective. It may change the way you look at cyclists on the road.