Sunday, August 23, 2009

Frog Guts and Motor Oil

Hard to believe after a night of downpours that any oil remained on the road surface, but the way my bike started to cross up as I cranked onto Route 16 I could tell the pavement was slick and greasy.

The torrents had also lured many frogs to their doom. Their flattened white belly skin made a pattern of laminated patches where groups of them had been smashed by the fat tires of cars and trucks during the night.

This morning I turned back to save a red eft that had ventured onto the warm blacktop after the wet night. They often don't appear real, these strange little orange crawlers. Lethargic from cold or dehydration, if not outright crushed by a motor vehicle, they look like they're made of gummi candy rather than living flesh. The one this morning was fairly lively when I picked it up, and larger than the ones I usually see.

The red eft is the terrestrial phase of the red spotted newt. They're cute little buggers.

Drivers have seemed just a touch more aggressive as summer winds down. I observe this every year. Maybe it's me, maybe it's a seasonal shift as drivers lose patience with cyclists after the peak of riding season, but they seem to start passing a little closer, a little faster this time of year.

Most motorists probably believe they're doing you a huge favor simply by not crushing you. Any sample of the comments after a news report of a car-bike accident or motorist harassment of a cyclist will include plenty of throttle-monkeys declaring that an injured cyclist only got what they asked for, and that "roads are for cars."

They're not too bad just yet. They get worse in September. Just deal with it.

Maybe the rise in aggression is early because school is starting very early this year. The formal end of summer comes too soon. I always see more broken glass and angry driving at the start of the school year. This year proves the rule. I rode through several minefields around shattered bottles that have blossomed on what had been beautifully pristine new pavement. During the brief summer we can pretend we live in a tropical land where dinner is always grilled and boring or annoying tasks can be put off until manana. The regimentation of school totally blows that.

Mechanical work has tapered off at the shop. It's a good time to seize a week of the actual summer for myself.


Ham said...

A propos of nothing, things I didn't say on my commute in this morning, when a pedestrian complained vocally and whiningly at a cyclist crossing lights at red: "Madam,you are both in the wrong, both he and you proceeded in your respective direction of travel contrary to the indication of the traffic light control. That little red man with his hands on his hips is intended to suggest that you do not commence to cross. In fact you are probably slightly more in the wrong because you are fat."

Probably just as well I didn't.

cafiend said...

Yes, it probably wasn't a "teachable moment."