The month of June is here which means that road work has begun in earnest. I am delighted every time I see a team of construction workers decked in orange out working because that means we will end up with a better road. And better roads means better biking. Although cracks and potholes keep the route interesting, I prefer to go without those hazards if at all possible.
The downside of road construction is that I have to bike through them and that can be tricky at times. A few days ago I found myself behind a car, waiting for a worker to signal us to go through a work zone. His fellow workers were laying new asphalt on one side of the road, reducing the stretch of road to one lane only. After all the cars from the other side of the work zone had made it across, the worker changed his sign from “STOP” to “SLOW” and signaled us forward. As usually happens whenever I am under pressure, clipping in took a few tries.
In my mind “SLOW” in a work zone would be 25 MPH at the most, but the car I was following behind clearly took “SLOW” to mean 2.5 miles slower than the normal speed limit. By the time I had affixed my shoe properly to my pedal the car was long gone. I checked behind me to see if there were any cars but the coast was clear.
Then it hit me.
There was a line of (ever-increasing) cars waiting at the other side of the work zone for one reason and one reason only; they were waiting for me to get through. The pressure was on and I began to pedal my heart out. Construction workers were gawking at me like I was a alien from outer space with purple ears. (Have I mentioned before-I am an alien from outer space with purple ears.) I felt so awkward and out of place (that is a fairly normal feeling for an alien though). The faster I went, the more cars I could seeing waiting impatiently on the other side.
I pounded those pedals as fast as I could while still remaining alert and cautious because if a car could injure me, I would hate to see what a colossal construction vehicle could do. After making those cars wait for what seemed like an eternity I finally reached the end of the one lane zone. I could feel the scrutiny of drivers and passengers alike and my face started flushing red.
“Hi, folks! Yes, I am the annoying biker girl who has held you up on your morning commute.”
Oh well, if I was going to be the annoying biker girl at least I was going to be the polite, smiling, annoying biker girl. I said, “Thank you!” to the worker at the end and flashed my most charming (I hope) smile at the waiting cars and went down the road praying that I would not have to endure the emotional and physical turmoil of another work zone that day.