Monday, April 20, 2009

Gun Barrel City: The Prologue

When weather conditions are right, I am planning a ride out to Gun Barrel City.

The 80 mile solo and unsupported ride will be pushing my current physical endurance, so I am keeping an eye on the weather. I need a weather change between 10 AM and 4 PM, where the wind shifts to or freshens from the east. I will need a good tailwind on the return leg.

The route will be due east on State Highway 85 from Ennis to Gun Barrel City. The first eight miles of Highway 85 is a chip seal surface, and I expect the rest of it is too. That is as far as I have explored so far, though.

Google Maps shows that it is a narrow two lane road for the entire length, and speed limits could be 70 MPH unless signed otherwise. (It is 65 MPH on this end) So that will mean that I will be annoying plenty of motorists.

I will be upsetting motorists who have a “freeway expectation” on Highway 85. This will be especially pronounced if developed shoulders are present, as it appears to be the case on parts of the trip. I expect to be honked at, shouted at, and passed on the right. I expect folks who haven’t been on a bicycle in 30 years to tell me how to ride one. I expect to be accused of breaking imaginary laws. And I expect every vehicle that wants to overtake me will do successfully and in a safe manner.

What is unexpected by me, though possible, is harassment by the police, or being buzzed by a motorist overwhelmed by the horror of being delayed by a cyclist, or having objects thrown at me.

So what do you, dear reader, think will happen in the eighty miles of traveling in the left tire track? Will a motorist run me down and then claim I swerved in front of him? Will I be taking extraordinary and foolish risks? Will I be accused of breaking the law and be reported to the local police?

Stay tuned, there will be pre-ride updates and a full post-ride report.

The daring, if not dashing, ChipSeal

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