This morning I pedaled past a road crew spray-painting dots to mark the installation of a bike lane on the short bridge at San Antonio Street up and over the 101 freeway.
The two-lane bridge bridge is part of the best bicycle route from East San Jose to Downtown. Unlike most of the rest of the route, there are no bike lanes. The combination of the lack of lanes and the sight of cars whizzing by on the freeway underneath creates a sketchy leadership vacuum for both driver and cyclist. Cyclists sometimes ride the wrong direction or walk the bike on the sidewalk. Drivers usually increase their speed five or ten miles an hour or more, gunning it to get over the hill. I always get a full head of steam on the descent and blow through the stop sign at the bottom in suburban joy. I got a flat tire and the guy who fixed it told me that his pitbull got big thorns in his paw from the trees that grew there.
Back to the road crew: it was three guys in fluorescent vests, and their truck. I cheered them on.
“You’re our first customer,” said one of the guys, a goateed Latino man in a mesh safari hat and wraparound mirrored shades.
“Woohoo!” I hollered. I was in the moment.
“If we had any paint!” the guy yelled back, weirdly.
I kept pedaling and wondered what was in the van.
When I rode back home that evening the stripe hadn’t been painted and only the dots remained. This town. The dots were better than nothing.