This morning as I scooted to work along the usual 4.5 mile route, I've got to thank my Dad (not just because Father's Day was yesterday, but it helps) for teaching me how to drive.
Not that anything tragic or of even amazing significance occured this morning... but that's where Dad's wisdom comes in.
Dad taught me to drive from an early age. Not physically sitting me behind the wheel of a moving car as a 5 year old or anything, but rather, he'd share the importance of noticing and understanding the road around you - and its countless possibilities.
We'd drive on the highway, as I was 15, 16, 17 years old, and he'd make sure I was watching the road immediately ahead of me, as well as as far as was possible to be seen. You always want to look for what could happen, rather than what is happening. Watching the road, the sidewalk, the shoulder, the median, the fields next to the road, the sky... and especially what's going on behind you!
(You think I'm kidding about that list? Come on a ride with Dad or me, the hyper-vigilance drives my wife nuts...)
Today as I rode the scooter down a four-lane boulevarded road, usually quiet just after the suburban rush-hour has passed, I tooled along with one other small SUV in the other lane. Up ahead (about 250 yards) I spotted something moving... the familiar tawny of a whitetail deer. This deer was curtious, and stopped itself next to a set of mailboxes in order to look both ways before crossing. You never know what their decision will be about whether to cross in the presence of traffic or not, so I moved into the left lane behind the SUV and watched her. She was obstructed by the mailboxes a bit so as I changed lanes I let out a couple of toots on the mini-horn that the scooter has to alert the driver ahead. Sure enough, the deer waited until we were about 50 yards away (its a 35 mph road) to take her jog across. No harm, no foul.
Then, as I proceeded to get back in the right lane, I noticed workmen up ahead blocking my lane. Changing back to the left lane as we approached, the SUV (credit is due to this driver for being awake as well!) slowed to an unexpededly low pace. There was an older couple; apparently they'd been riding their bikes toward us on our sidewalk (technically illegal since this is the ONE road in town that has a bike lane in both directions, but that's not my worry for them on this occasion) and with the workmen blocking things had moved into the bike lane in the wrong direction with the anticipation of coming around and getting back on the sidewalk.
Well, the woman timed it just right so that she was in the road as we passed... and not just in the road, on the median side of our single lane on the boulevard as we passed a dumptruck, bobcat and pickup which had bogarted the right lane!
I've learned all about the fine art of Bike Salmoning from Bike Snob NYC's posts on the subject, (CAUTION: his site isn't always as 'family friendly' as some, but you might still enjoy the link.) but never expected to witness it firsthand on a suburban road in Ohio!
Regardless, all went without real incident.
...and for at least some of that I thank Dad.
"Happy Father's Day", Daddy-O!