Assuming a lack of rail trails or other long stretches of motor vehicle free paths, cycle touring is all about rural yet paved roads for me. While most cities generally are decent for cycling, the suburbs you have to get through to get into them are not. So I have a general touring protocol of avoiding cities and the suburbs that surround whenever I can. Today I broke against that and rolled in Baton Rouge Louisiana.
Coming west up a typical suburban 5 lane road, traffic sucks but I’m pretty happy with the wide shoulder (the name of the road should have tipped me off). This particular stretch of 6 mile shitty chain strip malls is called Florida Street. The shoulder is messy with debris but wide, with a rumble strip. I’m in morning cruise mode, about 10 mph.
At an interchange with a larger highway, the shoulder disappears right after and off ramp to a bisecting highway, so I tuck over the rumbling and into traffic just as a motorist in a pickup truck behind me decides that the three foot passing law should really be interpreted as three inches. At the same time, a motorist in a shitty white car merging off the highway via the curve decides they should ignore the yield sign and instead speed up to vroom vroom me out of their way.
Coincidentally, right in the middle of this pinch point I now in is a fun little crevice of a hole (about 2 inches wide, 3 inches deep, and 2-3 feet long – just the perfect size for my front tire to dip into). And now I have no choice left, so dip into I did. That fucking hole grabs my wheel with a loud pop, jerks me to the side and almost knocks me over in front of one of these two motorists who eagerly need to get to that next ride light before me. I keep pedaling and keep my balance and somehow manage to not fall or get hit – but I yell out one hell of a “fuck” to both of them, knowing damn well that didn’t hear shit and possibly never even saw me.
I even drew a shitty illustration of the whole thing.