Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Round and Round We Go

I'm here in England and finally I have a few minutes to myself.  I set off on Saturday to get to England on Sunday (they are 7 hours ahead of SLC time and it takes more than one day to get there for those who haven't done this).  I wanted to be ready to go on Monday for our meetings.

I got on the plane from JFK to Manchester on Saturday night.  About a half an hour into the flight there was this loud rushing noise.  The pilot put down the landing gear.  It turned out the landing gear wasn't going up properly and they had to return to JFK to fix it.  We circled for 2 hours to lighten the load, they couldn't just dump fuel over Long Island - or could they?

We landed and they said they would book us into a hotel and get us on the next flight out.  This was 10:30 in the evening. 

That's when the fun started.  They had one gate agent doing the rebooking for all 250 of us.  We finally got through with the ticketing about 12:30 in the morning.

I went down to the taxi stand to get a taxi to the hotel.  In most airports taxi stands are orderly and move along relatively quickly, time is money.  Not at JFK.  The airline had booked us with a certain car service so we couldn't give our vouchers to anyone else.  There wasn't a line so every time a car arrived impatient passengers waiting for a ride jumped at the driver before he got out of the car.  Rather than taking the first ones in line, since there was no line, the cabbies took the shortest routes, time is money.  Of course I was at one of the farthest hotels.  This was about 1:00 am.

I finally got a taxi by getting 4 other people who were going to the same hotel together and we attacked a cabbie in unison and brought him to his knees.  We climbed into the cab before he could say no and we locked ourselves in.  He had no choice.  This was about 1:30 am.

As we were careening along the Long Island Expressway toward Brooklyn the cabbie missed a turn and tried to cut across the merge area, the right front tire blew.  This was 2:00 am. 

It was amazing how many people were up blasting along the L.I.E. at this time of night.  I don't think we see that much traffic on Friday afternoon in Salt Lake. 

The cabbie got the spare out and proceeded to demonstate why he was a cabbie.  He knew nothing about changing the tire.  After a half an hour of this I jumped in and essentially changed the tire.  He cranked on the jack while I took the tire off and put the spare on (I know, there is a joke in there but I am trying to keep this clean).  This was about 2:30 am.

We finally got to the hotel and I got checked in and to my room after 3:00 am.  What a blast.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Down and Out

Today I went out for a bike ride.  I was coming along a street waiting for the red light to turn green.  I wanted to go straight and there was a right turn lane.  I was slowing to get behind the car in the straight lane when a tow truck driver came along side me to turn right.

The driver didn't see me and since I was between lanes he pulled up to the cross street and waited to turn left.  The only trouble was I was attached to the side of his truck.  Since he didn't see me when he pulled up, he took me with him.  I couldn't get away so I fell against the truck and down to the ground.  He was pulling a Subaru on a dolly so I fell between the truck and the car.  The truck didn't stop - although it was going slow.

I was yelling to stop but he kept moving up to the cross street.  I tried to push away from the car since the wheels of the dolly were coming up.  I got away just in time but the dolly wheels ran over my bike seat and my back tire doing significant damage to the bike.

At this point my wife, who was behind me, was yelling also, so the truck driver stopped.  The police came and interviewed us.  The tow truck driver wasn't at fault since I was in-between lanes.  I got a lecture from the cops about following the rules of the road.  I should have been squarely in the straight lane and taking up a space like a car. 

I am physically OK but I have my ego bruised.  Yeah, I could have done things better but the driver of the tow truck could have cared less that he ran over a bicyclist.  He yelled at me when I got up off the ground and he kept yelling at the cops about the accident until one cop had to tell him to shut up.  I even went over after the accident to tell him I had no hard feelings but he continued to chastise me for being in the wrong place. 

I feel run over, not physically, but like I was just in everyone's way.  I know I need to take personal responsiblity for things and we are so litigious as a society that no one wants to say anything for fear of being sued later, but as soon as the cops and the guy saw that I wasn't bleeding internally, the whole experience was so blazee.  Write up the report, file this, etc. 

I feel like a big dork.  If I had just followed the rules of the road and taken up a space in the line going straight this probably wouldn't have happened.  My wife and I were both scraped up, she fell too.  No one was injured, but I could have been killed.  

My scrapes will heal and my bike can be fixed I think. I hope the frame is OK.  Everyone else can feel good about not doing anything wrong.  I guess the moral of this story for me is respect the car.  I would also ask that drivers double and triple check when bikes are traffic.