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« The Grey Escape | Main | Maintaining my racing weight »

The Logging Truck

I usually ride my bike early when temperatures here in South Carolina are still tolerable. On the rural roads I ride on, I encounter quite a few logging trucks, probably one of the heaviest loads to be found on the roads anywhere.

The reason for these logging trucks being, any undeveloped land in this part of the South is coved with dense forest with many old growth trees. The first steps to clearing the land for development, is to cut down the trees and transport them to a local paper mill.

Riding with my wife the other morning, I was aware of a logging truck coming up from the rear. The sound of the engine is unmistakable. This one was slowing. I could tell by the deep descending note roar the engine made as the driver shifted down his gears. At least three separate gear changes to get down to our speed of about 18 mph. or so.

The reason for his slowing. There was a steam of opposing traffic, maybe six or eight cars, and the driver obviously didn’t think it safe to pass. Actually he could have passed, this was a wide stretch of road, with a bike lane. (Which we were in.)

Instead this driver chose to err on the side of caution and wait, and I appreciated that. When the opposing traffic passed and the road was clear, I heard the engine rev as the process of shifting up through the gears to regain speed started. The driver took his truck clear over to the opposing lane to pass.

I gave the driver a thank you wave to let him know that I was aware of what he had just done, and how much I appreciated it. He gave a friendly “Toot-toot” on his incredibly loud truck horn, as if to say “You’re welcome.”

My wife remarked, “Now that’s what I call sharing the road.” “Damn right,” I replied.” 


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Reader Comments (9)

I nearly always wave to whomever passes like that. I almost always get a wave back.

August 5, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterSteven Soto

Nice! Some of them are good, most OK but a few bad apples too. People say "just like car drivers" and while that may be true, truck drivers are almost all (supposed to be) professionals, unlike the average car driver. Yet often when there is a preventable crash, the truck driver gets a break. "Don't want him to lose his livelihood."

Ummm, actually... yes, we do

August 5, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterSteveP

That driver was also a cyclist...

August 5, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterEric M.

Not always the case but, there are truck drivers that are true professionals. In the mid '70's a group of us were riding back the 195 miles from Yosemite fearing the climb up Highway 152 (Pacheco Pass) back into the Santa Clara Valley. A narrow two lane road with an inadequate shoulder clogged with car and truck traffic. The road, however this day was clear of traffic. When we had cleared the climb and descent several semi tractor and trailers followed by a steady line of vehicles passed. Truckers on their CB radios had arranged a moving road closure for our group.

August 5, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterTerence Shaw

We call those pecker poles up here in British Columbia. I get bigger loads than that going by me heading up to the Kelowna mills. For the most part the drivers are very good at moving over when passing. I'm lit up like a Christmas tree so they can see me from a long way off and make the move early so they don't have to slow down at all. Same for most of the other big rigs with the odd exception of a couple of the dump trucks. I've found motor homes to be the worst when it comes to sharing the road and after that some of the 4x4 pickup types. I'm out on the 4 lane for most of my ride and everybody seems to be speeding at 5 AM in the morning.

August 5, 2016 | Unregistered Commentercj gordon

Dave you do 18 mph on a ride?? WOW!! This is a 80 year old rider, readers, Take note, use this, as a example of what keeping in shape as you age can do for you, I do not envy Dave and where he rides with trucks like that around, I am lucky to live in Parker. Colorado where I can ride on bike paths, away from traffic all day if I want,

August 6, 2016 | Unregistered Commenterjohn crump

Hi Dave,
I agree with Eric M. The driver probably rides, has friends or family that rides. As others have said, there are good, OK and bad drivers just like good, OK and bad cyclists. This truck driver did show his professionalism.

August 6, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterBrian

I've toured quite a bit in the Pacific Northwest & found the professional logging truck driver to be a good road companion. I believe they are paid by the load and thus are motivated to maintain a clean record. The most dangerous drivers are summer tourists in rented motor homes (usually evident by all the adverts plastered even on the front). They have no clue as to width and their mirrors seem to be head high to a cyclist.

August 6, 2016 | Unregistered Commenterdoug peterson

I find that tractor trailer drivers are usually very professional.
It may be strange but the people that follow me for a mile and then only pass when they can drive on the complete opposite side of the road make me nervous and cause me the most stress. Maybe because it appears that they do not have good driving skills.

August 10, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterMike B

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