The traffic coming off Great Highway to Skyline is fast – the speed limit on that part of Skyline is 45 MPH. I’ve never seen an accident there, although I’ve been surprised not to have been a participant in one; cars cut the curve where they join very close, sometimes completely filling the shoulder, and as I see them more or less cut me off to do that, I wonder if they’d hold back just because there was a bicyclist on the shoulder.
It feels very dangerous to make that turn, but arguably it’s more dangerous to come back, where the shoulder is much narrower and often covered with plants that spill out from the embankment. (I don’t make the left onto Great Highway when I come back – I go up a little further, cross Skyline, and come back down to make a right.) The shoulder gets wider at the crest of the little hill at that intersection, and for some reason that area seems has been inviting some stops lately.
A few weeks ago, I heard a faint mewing as I crested the hill. A yowling, really, low and very distressed. There’s a big long island between the directions on Great Highway there, and I walked around in it for a couple of minutes before I located the cat it was coming from. (Hate cats? Pretend it was a dog – it won’t change the story.) She was a fat (but very cute) tortie who appeared to be scared out of her wits. She had a collar but no tags and a limp but no apparent acute distress over it.
I picked her up and held her for a little while, and she purred and nuzzled me. I carried her across the street to the only side (of the 3 options adjacent to the island) that was continuous with a residential area. She seemed unhappy when I put her down, but soon she trundled off in the direction of some houses, so I hope she was OK. (If you let your cats out and put tags with a phone number on them, someone like me will go ahead and call you up in a situation like this.)
Yesterday as I came up that little hill, I saw three people, all with their bikes upside down and all looking at the back wheel of one of them. They wanted to know if I had pliers, which I didn’t, but because the bike in distress had a broken quick-release mechanism, what they really needed was a bike shop. I am not a bike shop, but I have Google in my pocket (they only had more conventional cell phones), so although it took several minutes of somewhat arduous surfing, I was able to discover that the closest bike shop I knew of has since closed and to direct them to the next closest shop.
Just a few months ago, I’d have said there’s not much to say about this point on my ride – it’s usually unpopulated and quickly passed through. Now I wonder if I’ve been put on some kind of notice. Should I pack extra tools, kibble, and water when I’m riding through there? Should I get a phone with faster Internet connection?