Anne and I did the Sojourn thing today. We volunteered to monitor, and direct the bike traffic through, a busy intersection: Race and Lehigh Streets in Catasauqua. Race Street is a tiny two-lane road, but it’s insanely busy (it handles about 18,000 vehicles a day, I looked it up when we got home), and the riders had to go about two blocks on the street, before getting into a left turn lane and making a left onto Lehigh. My job was to direct the riders to their left turn, and Anne stood on the other side of the intersection, sending them on their way.
It was an interesting, and sometimes hair-raising, day. The ride is billed as a multi-day ride on a towpath or rail-trail, and I don’t believe that many of the riders were expecting or prepared to ride on busy streets. Some few came through like champs, obviously able to ride as part of traffic: they took their lanes, controlled their situations, and made the turn with no problem. Others were able to pedal and steer their bikes, but had no real skill or confidence in vehicular cycling: they clung to riding the gutter and were trapped there by a wall of cars when it was time to go left. Finally, there were the riders who looked only marginally competent on their bikes, and were truly frightening to watch — they mostly ended up walking across the intersection.
Anyway, we were out there for just over four hours. Then the last riders came through, Scott S rode up from the intersection he’d been working, and the three of us biked back to Bethlehem for some Lehigh Pizza. It was a warm and sunny day, and by the time it was over I got all the sun I’d missed yesterday, and then some. I now sport a serious “farmer’s tan:” white forehead, lobster-colored everything else.