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taking chances(32 posts)

taking chancesET
Apr 4, 2001 11:18 AM
On my lunchtime spin today, I went on a beautiful deserted-type road, you know, about 15 feet wide, trees on both sides, stream on one, and it feels good to be alive. But then, of course, the road narrows and winds in places, with a few of them having mounds blocking one's vision of possible oncoming traffic.

My question is, do any of you ever take chances on deserted roads? What I mean by that is, in order not to slow down, you cut the winds (pronounced with a long i) and bends by riding in the oncoming lane of a very deserted road, reasoning that it's a million to one that an oncoming car will be coming at that exact instant at the bend? (Of course, even if the odds are correct, do it enough times...) This sort of thing happened to me today on that road. I was taking enough of a chance that I was riding in about the center of the road, and the car came exactly when and where I reasoned it likely wouldn't. Never heard it till I saw it. I veered to the right and hit my brakes, skidded slightly and avoided both the car and the tree rapidly approaching, and just kept on going. Turned out to be no big deal, but it could've. Yes, it feels good to be alive.
Not any more ...Humma Hah
Apr 4, 2001 11:38 AM
... I did that once on a similar road on a very steep downhill. I was using a mechanical odometer and my watch to judge speed -- the odometer tripped over 1 mile at 58 seconds, a number I've always had a little difficulty believing (42 mph is my fastest speed on that bike recently -- but I was definitely WAY over 30 mph on that run).

I could not have dealt with traffic, or an obstacle in the road, or an unexpected sharp turn (I'd never been down that road before). My coasterbrake would not have stopped me.

Unlike then, I'm no longer invincible, and don't do that any more.
re: taking chancesHaiku d'état
Apr 4, 2001 11:39 AM
nah. my usual risks are those of the "bubba interface" type. can't seem to get through a week of riding without being harrassed by rednecks (or mini-rednecks, those not yet old enough for a chaw and a truck, but aspiring). it's always the same, and i'm always bigger than they thought when i stop and get off the bike. i swear it's the lycra. knock on formica, haven't had a physical confrontation yet...

your cutting blind corners and view-restricting hills -- isn't that the way LA got hit in Nice pre-TDF last year? i rarely, if ever, do this in a car, much less on a bike. now, it might be a different story on winding mountain roads.

good to hear you're unhurt.
Not any moremike mcmahon
Apr 4, 2001 11:44 AM
In the good-old-days when I was 22, single, invincible, and rode without a helmet, I took plenty of chances. 16 years, a wife, and two kids later, I have severely limited my risk-taking activities. Hell, riding on roads in L.A. county is risky enough without riding on or across the center line.
Not that kind of chanceStarliner
Apr 4, 2001 11:46 AM
Never do I cut into oncoming lane if I can't see beyond the turn. Not only cars are to worry about, but also cyclists coming the other way, especially if I'm climbing. You can usually hear the cars, but not the cyclists until it's too late.
Ask LanceGadfly
Apr 4, 2001 12:39 PM
Didn't he head-on with a car in France in a similar situation last summer?
Ask LanceRobO
Apr 4, 2001 1:15 PM
It was a mountain road, it only had one lane.
At least evolution is still at work somewhere.Jim A
Apr 4, 2001 1:05 PM
Here in the 21st century, human evolution has for the most part come to a standstill. Evolution used to work this way. You die, or at lease become unable to breed, when your brain and/or body turn out to be inferior compared to everyone else. The inferiority can be a number of different things, like you're too fat to run from your enemy, you're too weak to the get to the food before everyone else, you're too pathetic to get a mate, or you're just more stupid than everyone else. After you die, other people with superior brains and bodies do the breading. That usually results in superior children, with less chance for fat, weak, pathetic, or stupid children.

Living used to be a difficult and high risk proposition, and evolution moved right along. Today, even fat, weak, pathetic, and stupid people are able do quite well (I ought to know). It appears however that evolution is surviving when it comes to recreational activities, and cyclists are among the evolutionary leaders. I feel certain that eventually, after many generations, cyclists who take unnecessary risks will die away (or perhaps worse, live but become unable to breed) and a superior form of cyclist will emerge. Perhaps a new species. This futuristic species will have adapted to its "road environment" and will comply with traffic signals and road markings, thus ensuring future generations of cyclists.
At least evolution is still at work somewhere.anon
Apr 4, 2001 1:26 PM
revenge of the bike nerds? glad i'll be gone.
you have much more faith than I do...keith m.
Apr 4, 2001 1:52 PM
if you believe in evolution.
I'll bite, I'll biteWoof the dog
Apr 4, 2001 5:38 PM
I know your post is meant to be a joke as well as flamebait, especially when you talk about futuristic species...thats really funny. Doesn't everyone wish it was true, seriously. However, I do have time on my hands to educate those who really think that evolution eliminates bad people leaving only good, smart, strong ones. So, here it goes.

I don't think Darwinism directly applies to Homo sapiens anymore, not since we learned how to make fire. Survival of the fittest in the animal world, so to speak, concerns animal's ability to compete well for resources and utilize them more efficiently because by chance there was a useful mutation that allowed that animal to leave more offspring. Mutated genes passed on and soon a population was slowly replaced by relatives of a mutant, so to speak. In modern human world, practically none of the weak fat infants die but instead grow up to be valuable people. It does not matter if you are weak or strong - that is a matter of going to the gym and not genetics/reproduction. Do you really think that if I cut off my arm or become severely underweight, my children will be without an arm or underweight too? Of course not. Same thing goes for stupidity. It is socially derived. Humans, like you and me, are social animals. We are greatly influenced by the values of society we grew in... morals, ideas, things to do, things not to do. Put a child of 3 months old into a closet for 5 years and she will never learn more than a hundred words in her lifetime. Its nurture, not nature, for 99.9 percent of the time. So, forget your talk about superior brains. If that existed to any significant level, blue-eyed Arians would rule the world. There is no such thing as superior mind, any human has the same learning capacity. And its not his fault that his strong slim healthy parents didn't teach him not to cut corners on a bike. If you don't cut corners, it doesn't mean your children won't, no matter what you tell them. Again, superior body does not matter. You don't need good body to do the breeding today, you need good social standing and it seems that people with money are in the best spot. I hope this now clarifies that there will always be stupid weak pathetic fat people/cyclists. And there will never be a new species of futuristic cyclists. I won't even go into talking about species who can innately (by nature) comply with traffic signals and signs.
And I am spent...

Woof, the talking dog
dear woof....i think its both..john de
Apr 4, 2001 6:45 PM
in this age in which the enviornment isnt as tough and we even give the weak a helping hand, the enviornment isnt nearly the selector it once who's genes are going to stay and who's are going to fall?....since nature doesnt seem to be doing the selecting its up to you and me....i know im trying to select a charming and attractive set of genes and ill bet you are too...its going to be a wonderfull world some day
"Blue-eyed Aryans would rule the world," huh?Scy
Apr 4, 2001 7:31 PM
That one line in your otherwise well-reasoned message gave me pause.
read thisWoof the dog
Apr 5, 2001 6:44 AM
well, I probably didn't re-read the message well. I really meant the blue-eyed aryan part to be an example just like genocide sort of thing where those with superior brain (according to them) would try to eliminate those with inferior brain. Nazis would be a perfect example. Weren't they trying to create that Aryan race? The point is, if that stuff really existed to any measurable extent, we already would have either evolved into a superior race naturally or artificially so to speak. No? Tell me if there is any mistake in my reasoning. I am in a hurry to go down to the bikeshop. see ya.
Apr 5, 2001 8:57 PM
I don't agree. A superior race would NOT necessarily evolve and take over if nature (vs. nurture) were predominant. There are individuals who are genetically superior, but human evolution would not favor them unless (1) they started killing off all the "inferior" ones, or (2) they had ten times as many kids.

As it stands today, the weak, stupid, and ugly generally breed at least as fast as the "genetically superior" specimens. Unless there exists a force (race war anyone?) that rewarded the superior ones (however you define them) with more breeding, there will be no evolution in our present society.

Years ago I read a clever sci-fi story about a Rip Van Winkle who woke up in the future to find the world populated by idiots because the intelligent people didn't breed out of concern for overpopulation while the stupid masses kept on pumping away.
Actual Aryans don't have blue eyes or blond hair ...Humma Hah
Apr 5, 2001 12:48 PM
... they originated in northern India, are of typical middle-eastern appearance. And the Roma (Gypsys) are virtually pure-blooded Aryans!

Surprise, Adolph, another crackpot theory blown to heck!

Besides, everyone knows those blond-haired blue-eyed types are notorious barbarians!
I've just gotta respond...Wayne Scott
Apr 5, 2001 4:53 AM
Evolution is occuring today in the human species as much as ever.
For evolution to occur you must have differential reproductive success that is due to a heritable trait (i.e. its determined by your genes at least to some degree). Just because we don't chase down are food anymore or rely on our wits (to a large extent) for survival doesn't mean there are no selective pressures. The best example is our immune system, since humans moved into crowded, filthy cities where viruses, bacteria, host organism etc thrive our immune systems have been undergoing tremendous selective pressures. Just consider all the people who died of the plague, TB, influenza, small pox etc. Those that survived almost certainly had a genetic predisposition to resisting a given disease, they reproduced, passed that resistance on to their offspring, etc. etc. When western Europeans with their relatively competent immune systems to resisting infectious disease came to the Americas and encountered native Americans, who had been isolated from the rest of the world for 10k plus yrs and had really never lived in large crowed cities except in a few rare and limited places, the latter died in droves from infectious diseases, many of which only minimally affected Europeans. It's estimated that greater than 50% of the native population died within 100 yrs of Columbus' landing, well before most of them ever saw a European and before any large scale colonization started. Believing you need faith to accept evolution as a fact is absurd, but hey there's a group out there that maintains the world is flat because the bible says so. I guess this is the alternative explanation, god in his infinite wisdom granted great immune systems to his chosen European children so that when they encounted the heathen Indians, whole villages could die off within a few yrs from diseases the Europeans would hardly be affected by, and the chosen ones could more easily appropriate the new lands.
nice...Woof the dog
Apr 5, 2001 7:03 AM
I totally agree with you. My statement that evolution doesn't apply to us anymore isn't correct. Of course, evolution does go on. Here is where all your talk about influenza and other stuff comes in. But you must agree with me that cycling fatalities are not a selective pressure. Well, everything we do is, but the one we are talking about is so insignificant! Remember, we are talking about fatalities not caused by drunken stupor. I even remember hearing that 1/3 of all cycling deaths is due to alcohol, although I cannot confirm that. So don't flame me for not having stat. data here, I just decided to throw that in so that maybe someone else could throw a bone and help me out in that department. I would guess that cycling benefits (improvement of health) greatly, immensly outweigh the fatalities, deaths, whatever... Okay, i gotta go like right now.
disease isnt a factor these daysjohn de
Apr 5, 2001 8:29 AM
disease seems to be a big killer throughout history as you said but its not selective in the way you discribe... as i understand disease you dont pass on imunity...the reason that the europeans didnt all die off from the same diseases that ruined the indians is because the virus or bacteria was common in europe and the europeans individually built up pretty sure you dont pass on anti bodies to bacteria or viruses....and therefore disease isnt really a selector other than when it is first introduced to a group of people such as the indians in which case it wipes out the new population indescrimanantly
Naivegrz mnky
Apr 5, 2001 9:46 AM
Yup, flame bait for sure.

Just because you believe something it doesn't mean it's true.

It's naive to think that intellegence is purely based on nuture and determined after birth. The truth is that the researchers have been debating the nature vs. nuture arguement for eons and both factor in. Selling the idea that it's purely nuture just prays on the insecurities of self obsessed yuppies and their need to enroll their child in the "proper" day care and make the "right" educational choices.

Darwinism and survival of the fittest doesn't mean survival of the smartest or even the most desireable, but rather the best adapted to the environment and it's changes. In fact you can get some pretty ugly results. Zebra mussells in the US would be a good example - they aren't any more or less intelligent than other shellfish, but rather better suited to the environment and lack any significant predators. Same is true with humans.

The converse of your example is not true: put a retarded 3 month old child in a loving, nuturing environment and by the age of five s/he will not have a vocabulary of more than 100 words. If things were solely determined by nuture and being raised in a family of means how do you explain why a guy with a Phd cuts a corner and gets hit by a pickup truck? Obviously he's demonstrated the ability to adapt, learn, and succeed in a social regiem. Only common sense somehow got left out of the picture.

Intelegence alone doesn't guarantee success or even survival, although we all wish it were that simple.
Naive yourselfWoof the dog
Apr 6, 2001 6:16 AM
Maybe I didn't get it across very well, but I don't really think nurture is what determines intelligence in the beginning. Of course its nature, but you need nurture to develop the potential. Wouldn't you agree? And whats wrong with seeking right education for your child? I've seen many, and I mean MANY, examples where kids are just not taken care of because father is an alcoholic while mother is working 12 hours a day. What happens to the kids? They do badly in school, do drugs, sh!t like that, and don't develop common sense. Nurture is very important. Now, I think we have already established that cycling fatalities are not a selective pressure. Lots more people without common sense die elsewhere. And funny thing is, their kind still breeds like flies...oh, wait, remember we have practically the same learning abilities, or at least very very close ones? More likely a guy with Phd got hit because he wasn't taught well, not because he was a retard from birth. Kinda supports my point that believing in stupid/intelligent races does not reflect reason. Besides, Phd or no Phd - its all the same, the most important time to learn something is probably between birth and 18 years of age. Thats just an assumption, i have no real clue if thats true.

Oh, and just throwing that back at you: "Just because you believe something it doesn't mean it's true." Damn right! This is such a slippery statement. Do you know whats true? How do you know that? Would you ever be able to prove what you think is true? Well, you know what, its all opinions, morals, beliefs. For ex. why should I treat you equally if my people believe it is morally right to exterminate your kind? What are morals based on? I think even science is not safe. We can do thousands and thousands of scientific experiments and still leave something out which could change everything; and our present argument is based purely on what we choose to believe. So, be careful of using the word 'true', and don't call people naive, because in the end, we will never know who is right, while the damage to one's pride is already done. Sounds good?

Woof, the talking dog.
Mebee so, mebee no; welcome to 2025 ...Breck
Apr 4, 2001 8:14 PM
You're forgetting about China, India, Miracle drugs, Artificial body parts, GPS in the car and on the bike with see-ahead maneuver avoidance capability just around the corner, etc. My take is that Bicycling will become the prime political and social mover with in your kids life time. In, fact am writing a book about it ... my premise:
The New Order American Cycling federation was formed in 2020 In order to protect American interests in worldwide racing. Labs in each country were set up to develop their athletes in each individual sport. To maximize the talents required in each individual event. Companies sponsoring the athletes became involved and had their own genetic laboratories. Winners sold products and offered tremendous prestige for the Country. It became a measure of their scientific prowess. Became big business. Each country began giving incentives to their corporations to develop winners in the every 5 yr.. Olympia event, a replacement for the old Olympics. Cosmic Candy Corporation was just such a company. Formed way back in the late 1900's by an entrepreneur that was one of the first to found his factory in Mexico.
Unpopular back then. Even in an age when every manufactured product was being made in China, Mexico was too close to the US to be acceptable. Was not detached from the minds like the closed-door nation of China. China had slowly at first but then rapidly, seemed all at once, all the manufactured products were made in China.
But not the high tech computer product software programs. The US managed to corner these by Microsoft and Software Tronics and others. The president of Software Tronics was a good friend if the founders 30th great grandson of the original founder of Cosmic Candy. Lived near each other in the high Mountains. Both were avid amateur bikers. Began to train together and formed a team. Did pretty well in the Straight Human cats. Software Tronics was well connected to the ....(to be the book store, mebee.) cheers, bgcc
But they still live long enough to breed; defeats the purpose...Cory
Apr 5, 2001 8:02 AM
I used to do that kind of stuff when I was immortal. Like somebody else said, though, now I have kids and responsibilities, lost some reflexes and take weeks to heal from things I used to shake off. I stay on my own side of the road, and brake for turns I used to go through pedaling.
The thought of evolution continuing IS uplifting, but nearly everybody lives long enough to reproduce these days, so it may be false hope.
What Are You, Retarded?grz mnky
Apr 4, 2001 1:53 PM
Looks like flame bait to me, but maybe you are that stupid.

I have a Phd friend that followed your logic on the Terrible Two last year, sideswiped a pickup truck, took out two other riders, nearly bleed out, spent a week in the Santa Rosa hospital, and had to buy a new bike. Now they have a specific rule addressing this form of dementia.

As if the odds aren't already stacked against us.

Question is: Have you changed your thinking yet?
Intelligence Quotient ...Breck
Apr 4, 2001 4:47 PM
Mine can get pretty low when hammering down steep narrow twist and turn back country roads mid week when nobody should be on them. Tend to "survey" the corners as you said. Believe when you are very young you can take chances; when you are very old you may take chances; in the middle you should not take risks, stock market or otherwise. Don't rightly know how to figger in the ages though. Any idees?

re: taking chancesRich Clark
Apr 4, 2001 6:28 PM
The longer you live, the more you value your life. I did a lot of stupid things in the 60s that I just shake my head over now.

So no, I don't take blind curves in the wrong lane. Hell, I could have a head-on with another bike! Especially if you're around.

Learned that lesson last yearSteve Davis
Apr 5, 2001 6:24 AM
Last summer my family and I took a vacation in western Pennsylvania (Shippensberg area) with several other families we know well. All the husbands are riders and every morning we got up at 5 a.m. and rode 30 miles before the kids got up for the day. One morning we were having a friendly race back to where we were staying (we were really moving). I was in the lead and had to take a hard right hand, off-camber turn. I figured that it was early, the day after the fourth of July and that surely no cars would be around this lonely road. As I came through the turn I was horrified to see a car coming right at me (I was in his lane)! I locked the brakes, flipped the bike, tacoed the back wheel and would have landed in a farmer's field except for the barbed-wire fence that caught me. I did manage to miss the car, however. Injuries were limited to a little road rash on my shoulders and elbows, and lots of little punctures and scratches from the wire.

My lesson: no more chances, especially for a 37 year old husband and father of 4 boys. Since then, I have taken it a lot easier and have even upped my disability insurance, just in case.
gambling: risk no more than you are willing to lose...Dog
Apr 5, 2001 1:16 PM
I've heard it many times about gambling: risk no more than you are willing to lose. Same thing. If you want to risk your life, then odds are you may very well lose some day. I don't cut the blind corners. I want to live.

just riding is a riskET
Apr 6, 2001 6:04 AM
and racers don't want or expect to die, even though it happens. So I'm not sure I buy your "risk no more than you are willing to lose", wise as it sounds. We weigh risk, whether rationally or not, and act accordingly. Maybe I am retarded, grz mnky, athough not so much that I can't learn from this experience to see that this one isn't worth it; I'm still learning. But I don't refrain from all activities simply because they have some risk. As Doug Sloan said, I want to live.
you're right, the odds matterDog
Apr 6, 2001 6:19 AM
I suppose the degree of risk makes a big difference. Cutting a blind turn is very risky (or, at least you do not know the odds), and the downside is very bad. That's the big problem. You cannot, by definition -- a 'blind' corner, know the odds. Maybe a traffic count would help, but that won't tell you much about the immediate risk.

People very rarely are killed riding responsibly, considering the number of riders and miles ridden. Even amateur races are relatively safe.

I suppose the risk:benefit ratio is the important consideration. You don't gain that much cutting a blind corner, especially compared to the high or unknown risk. If risks are minimized to an acceptable level (wear a helmet, keep right, watch where you're going, don't overlap wheels...), the benefits of riding in general are so great that the risks are all but trivial, IMHO.

as the Marine's sayJarhead
Apr 6, 2001 6:47 AM
We know there are risks. We manage them.
...also, "Is this the hill you want to die on?" (nm)Dog
Apr 6, 2001 6:59 AM