11/21/2007

early morning highway chiller

Those of you familiar with Silicon Valley know that the highways around here are all relatively crazy. My normal car-based commute has been along a ten mile stretch of I-280 through the heart of the valley. The pace is normally...frenetic.

Waking up yesterday morning at five, I decided that it was probably early enough to ride that piece of highway without having to deal with too many cars. In that regard, my reasoning was correct, although an hour earlier would have been even better.

There was something I noticed once I got on it that I would have never considered. The normally brisk pace of that corridor was even faster at that time of day, with lots of people whipping past my relatively slow pace of 75 or so.

In retrospect, I believe I understand the psychology of what was happening. Many people who are commuting that early are doing so because they hate rush hour. I understand this, although I have the liberty to take the later approach to the problem.

So, I suspect that the mad speeds I witnessed then were due to those folks wanting to be done with their commute and off the roads before the rising volume of cars started to shut down the traffic grid.

Regardless, I did it, I lived through it, and I definitely don't intend to make a regular habit of it. Going 45 and the occasional 55 along major surface streets is adrenaline-surging fast for me yet. Going 75 just to keep up with the slowest cars chilled me with mortal dread.

Anyway, combined with the stretches of more moderate highway I experienced the day before, those experience contributed as exercises for the last of the formal lesson topics that I've been following. Here are the chapters.



Other than this quick ride, I spent most of the day, unfortunately, at work. Honestly, this was okay, since my aching body needed some recovery from the excessive miles from the previous day.

Afterwards, I took late rush hour major surface streets to meet with the local RPGA club in order to judge a D&D adventure. Later, honestly much later than I still wanted to be awake, I finally made my way home. Saddlebags were super handy yesterday.

I concluded day four of motorcycle boot camp with just over 250 miles of experience and some amount of exposure to almost all of the riding conditions I should experience...other than, thankfully, emergency maneuvers.

My stretch goal for the next five days is to bring my road experience up to 1000 miles and therefore become qualified, at least by numbers, to take the MSF Experienced Riders Course.

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