Spokin' Word, November 2019


Serving Chicago’s Southland


By Sally Kleinschmidt

First of all, thanks to all who came and thanks to Andi for organizing this years’ event; she handled it all in stride! The food was delicious (thank you Aurelios!) and the socializing was so much fun. Everyone enjoyed socializing so much that Ron had to raise his voice and glasses were clinked in order to settle everyone down for the business portion of the event. First up was Chris; previously he addressed the membership via FOS Announcements about his tenure as Easter Ride chair over the last few years. During his talk at the Pizza Party, he spoke of his long-term history with the club and his affection for the group. He noted that there have been discussions about the 2020 Easter Ride, perhaps a chance in route, a later starting date (May 31st) and a new name too, to be voted on later in the evening. But for the 2020 year he has decided to step down as chair, after contributing for several years. He addressed the membership asking for a volunteer to chair the ride; there were no volunteers. He thanked the group for their support of him over the years and turned the floor over to Ron.

Ron then turned the attention to a ballot of the election of officers for the 2020 term and for a new name for the 2020 Easter Ride. First, the new name was voted on; the new name for the 2020 Easter Ride will be “Spring Fling.” Then the slate of officers was presented & voted on: President; Ron. Vice-President; JoDell. Treasurer; Ron. Secretary. Sally. Member at large; Larry. Member at Large; Jerry. There was also a vote for the t-shirt design for the 2020 Easter Ride. Congratulations to Kathy McElligott, she got the most votes for her design! Thanks to all of you who brought your designs this year.

Past president Dan was the last to address the group. He wanted to let everyone know that there is new management at Lifetime Fitness, and he met with them before he came to the Pizza Party. Dan had a good relationship with the previous manager Jason, who let the club meet at Lifetime for no charge. The new management wants to charge FOS between $100-$150 for the use of their meeting room. Dan is working on getting to know the new management and told them of our donation(s) to their organization. The manager was unaware of our donation(s) and is willing to discuss the matter later with Dan, perhaps as early as Wednesday 11-27. Dan talked about our sponsors and said there could possibly be changes in sponsorship in the future.

Where Does Danger Lurk?  Your Shadow knows…

By Larry Mysz

I have very few close encounters with cars.  So I was surprised a few years back when I had two close calls within a week.
The first was at about 2:30 on Dec 15. I was riding north on Euclid at about 13 mph, approaching 19th St.  Ahead, and to my right, a van was stopped at the stop sign, facing west on 19th.  Street.  I could see the driver checking for traffic, and I could see him looking straight at me.  When I was about 30 feet away from the intersection, the van suddenly pulled out in front of me headed north.  I had 2 seconds to evaluate the situation, decide on a course of action, and execute it.  A quick turn to the left avoided the crash.  The quick turn took me into the southbound lane, so another quick turn to the right was needed to bring me back to heading north.  The van was so close.  I could have reached out and touched it.  The driver continued on completely obvious to the near-miss.

The second close call was 5 days later, at about 3:00.  I was riding east on 205th St.  Ahead, and to my left, a driver was stopped, waiting to pull out of a church driveway, heading south.  He was looking straight at me when he suddenly pulled out.  I did a quick turn to the right.  I was halfway through the quick turn when he finally saw me and slammed on the brakes.  When we were both stopped, I could reach over and tap the windshield.

In both close calls, the driver was looking straight at me.  I could see their eyes.  But the sun was low on the horizon and, from the drivers’ point of view, directly behind me.  Both drivers were blinded by the low winter sun.  

So, to the point of the title … Where does danger lurk on these winter days when the sun is low on the horizon?  Your shadow knows!

If your shadow points towards a car, the driver is quite likely blinded by the sun and cannot see you.  When riding, be aware of where your shadow points, and be prepared to take evasive action if it points towards a vehicle.

The second takeaway from those close calls is that there is no such thing as eye contact with a driver unless the driver somehow acknowledges your presence.   A driver can look straight at you, but not see you because they are blinded by the sun, or because you blend into the background, or because they are just staring off into space, daydreaming.

And lastly, a quick turn saved the day in both situations.  Check this presentation given at the April 2019 FOS meeting about Emergency Maneuvers to Save Your Bacon.  Then practice the quick turn until it becomes automatic.

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