Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Thoughts along the white line

1. Don’t argue with anyone on the road. Not drivers, not other cyclists. Who cares who is “right?” Mom taught me to share and not criticize. Arguing will get you assaulted and/or shot.
2. Stay right, and hold your line. We’re sharing, right?
3. Obey the traffic rules, please. Yes, I know everyone breaks the rules. Drivers speed and make CA stops. Be a good example. Besides, why be in a rush? Are you riding a bike because you’re in a hurry?
4. Wear a helmet. If you’re not going to, please make sure I’m generously in your will, and your organ donor information is up to date. Really not kidding here.
5. Carry a cell phone with a camera on it. Not only can you get the “whoa! Beautiful!” pics, but you can also snap a picture of the license plate of the car you didn’t argue with. Heat of the moment – call yourself and leave a voice message with a description of any untoward event, including names and phones numbers of witnesses. Snap some photos of them too. Digital film is really cheap.
6. I don’t ride in the rain or in the dark. I have to mitigate the risk somehow; this is how I justify being safe.
7. Don’t over estimate the effectiveness of your brakes. I can easily lock my wheels, but a 23mm tire simply doesn’t have that much contact with the road. Don’t argue with Isaac Newton – he is right, that’s why they aren’t called the “Suggestions of Physics.”
8. Look around. Really, there is a lot to see on a bike. Plan ahead. What really scares me is what I can’t control – the stuff that comes up from behind. Everything else I should be able to control if I just look around.
9. Bikes belong. That’s all there is to it. Roads and infrastructure are common places, and we all have a right to use them wisely. Bikes have unmatched social utility, and need to be afforded the necessary protection we give to all vulnerable activity. Roads are not for cars exclusively, and that some must yield to bikes is a necessity. This is non-negotiable.
10. I love my bike. It is a work of art, and a finely engineered piece of technology. It’s a beautiful friendship.

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