I didn't ride all that much over the winter so this spring signals the start of the riding season. Today's ride was just a jaunt through the fair grounds and around campus to get my legs going again and enjoy spending time in the saddle. The only memorable event was an altercation with a car when crossing a street that runs through the experiment station. By altercation I don't mean I was hit, nor was it even close. Most of the altercation took place in my imagination.
When I approach a cross street with traffic I usually dismount and sensibly walk up to the intersection, wait for traffic to clear, cross and remount. This takes effort though so I'm more likely to do it in the beginning of the ride, and all too often will try to stay in the saddle and cross the street later in the ride. That's what happened today. I rode a dirt road through the experiment station and eventually had to cross Gortner Ave which funnels a fair bit of traffic from the north through the east side of campus. Since I was on gravel and still a bit unsure of my balance early in the riding season I only stole a quick glance left and right. I knew there was one car oncoming, but it was far enough away to cross. However, just as I got to the crown in the middle of the road I started wobbling and had to take swing back and forth to regain my balance. All of this took time and I was conscious that the car that was previously far enough away, was now bearing down. I regained my composure and crossed in plenty of time, but for the rest of the ride I ran through scenarios in my head where I didn't see a car, misjudged the distance, or for whatever reason was in the middle of the road at the wrong time and got smacked.
Next time I'm going to make sure I get a good look up and down the road for any threats, and if I can't see or see that it will be even remotely close, I'll dismount. Its just not worth saving a little time and energy, but tangle with a car. As a paramedic friend once told me, flesh and steel don't mix.