Today was a wonderful day to get out for a solidly paced 52 mile ride.
Today is also the unofficial start of the Mean Season. Officially, it’s the start of the big shopping build up to the Holiday Season, but for a cyclist, today holds an entirely different prognosis. Every year up until 2008, I have noticed that the hazards of the road seem to get a little worse during this period between the day after Thanksgiving and the New Year. Drivers get a little more impatient and irritated at being held up on the roads, and riding just feels a little more…dangerous.
Based on what I experienced today, the 2009 Mean Season should be another mild one, possibly even more benign than last year. Traffic this morning was more like Christmas or Thanksgiving Day than the typically frenzied first day of the big shopping season. This afternoon Downtown Seattle was noticeably quieter than normal as well. Unless everyone is shopping online, the light volume of cars as well as the decidedly less crowded downtown indicate to me that it is likely that the current economic malaise will continue for a while. I guess there is always an upside to a downside.
There will be fewer drivers rushing to the malls, but the ones who do make the trip will likely be even more frazzled than usual. In any case, I’m always a little extra cautious this time of the year and I go out of my way to try and give myself a wide margin for error to avoid potential bad situations. I hope you all keep your eyes open as well, and I hope you have a great Holiday Season.
I hope to see you on the road.