The U-turn guy

As the car suddenly swerved towards me, I realized the guy driving it hadn't noticed me.

Cycling south on Shoken Street, a median separated road, between Salame Street and Glilot Way, used to be a typical morning commute for me. The street rises and descends in both directions. My apartment was located in the low rent but lively South of Tel Aviv. The ride was a seven kilometer stretch to the design school in the adjacent city of Holon.

There wasn't much time, neither a lot else to do but kick my way to safety. I lifted my left foot straight into the back right door of the car. This stabilized my violent change of direction. At the same time the driver got a clear signal that something wrong was happening.

His U-turn maneuver was a legal one. His neglect to notice me - the cyclist with the right of way - probably was not.

However, as soon as he heard the crashing sound of my shoe bending the metal of his car, his head turned and he saw me. He stopped. But I was still pedaling uphill, a few inches away from the right side of the car that had almost killed me. I was partly startled, partly happy everything was OK and mostly annoyed by the disruption.

When the man saw that I continued my ride, he accelerated beside me and cut me again to make me stop. At that moment the last thing I wanted was to be bothered with him. I changed course and kept going uphill, this time to the left of the car. But now he jumped out and latched onto my handlebar.

Driver: "You kicked my car!"

Cyclist: "You almost killed me..., what d'you want?"
"No, come with me. You kicked my car!"
"Nothing happened. Let go of my bike."
"No! You come with me first."
"You almost killed me. Nothing happened to your car. Let go of my bike and I'll show you."
"No! If I let go you'll run away again."
"You almost killed me. Let go of my bike first."

At that moment a passer by was beside us. He told the driver that he saw him almost run over me. The look on the driver's face changed in realization into a gaze of fear. He let go of my bike and I joined him to look at the spot where I'd kicked his back door.

The crashing sound of my kick was that of sheet metal bending in and out again. As much as I was focused on surviving an emergency, seeing that was amusing. My confrontation with the driver gradually added to my sense of comedy.

"You see? Nothing happened. Have a good day."

Driver: "You,... you speak like someone with a ring in his ear!"

I smiled and continued with my ride.

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Walking and biking in the city has its merits as well as its challenges. All journeys have a story. It is either immediately evident or only reveals its beauty years later when you pull it out of your memory. I was reminded of the story above, from 1990, as I brushed against a moving car here in Vancouver last year. I was crawling with the traffic down Main Street when the car to my left tried to pull right into 6th Avenue. As soon as the driver noticed this, he slammed the brakes. We quickly and peacefully parted ways as nothing happened to any of us.


Time for walking, time for talking

Marylee and I were discussing a jog one day. In her interest to show me some of the lovely birds you can notice anywhere you go in the city it was just a matter of finding the right day. At about 8 am it takes a while until I manage to board the Skytrain. Then another fifteen minutes pass and I am at the Lonsdale Quay where we get together on a sunny April morning.

Apart from birds, Marylee takes photos and videos of urban action of interest. She is a storyteller, who is busy living her life to the fullest. I have recently helped her set up a blog dedicated to documenting those jogs she takes. Gradually we are going through the various tools in WordPress that allow you to share your stuff out in the world.
A wide variety of landscapes can be experienced when you let yourself wander without constraints of time.
Using the path making tool in Google Maps is not perfect in terms of interface but it works. The first walk we had together turned out to be about 5.5 KM long. Strangely there is a bridge spanning the Mosquito Creek's flow into the bay that is inaccessible to the general public. The Squamish Nation Reserve has private property signs along its roads. As pedestrians we take the liberty to use them instead of the noisy streets surrounding the reserve. We later walk beside the heavy traffic on our way back to the Quay.
If you have patience, you might get a shot of the heron shooting at a stray fish. Not much luck this time for me.
Many ducks can be seen in and out of the water. In the sky you can notice seagulls, crows and ravens. Within the Vancouver Shipyards territory, an eagles' nest can be seen high up atop one of the massive cranes. How well the birds are faring is hard for me to know. Some of the challenges for urban wildlife are documented by organizations such as the Vancouver Avian Research Centre.
At least when this guy moved, the spread of its wings was magnificent.
Our walk continues on the Spirit Trail that has steadily evolved since the first decade of the millennium. The lovely pedestrian bridge over the train tracks takes us to 1st street west, where we head back east. We take one of the patterned crosswalks to get to the north side walk. The traffic is pretty heavy now. We grab a coffee and a tea to chat a bit about Galapagos and Darwin. Marylee is working on the third edition of her book. I am in the middle of reading a biography of Darwin written by Janet Browne.

We called this a Jalk. Marylee is the one of us jogging. For me the pace is quick walking. The point is having a good balance of exercise and companionship. Along the way we enjoy the scenery that is changing as we move in space. Our memories and projections notice the changes that the scenery is going through in time as well.
I got to know of the Spirit Trail through one of my submissions for public art in North Vancouver. The patterned crosswalks are another feature of this city's care for the public realm.