Wednesday, May 7, 2014


     I'm glad to be retired and not going to work.  When I was younger, in the 70's, I did a short three-mile commute to work, through the neighborhoods, with a custom lunch bag strapped to the handlebars. That was when coat and tie was required work attire.  I was unique.  One of the things I would tell my co-workers was that I was home before most of them were out of the parking lot.
     We moved and biking was relegated to recreational use.  Then the office moved and once again biking became a possibility, but short lived.  I was negotiating for a bike locker, but after initial agreement, it was rejected in favor of city-mandated bike racks.  The bike racks have never been used.  Just as well I didn't get the locker because I would have felt obligated then to bike to work.  The two roads available had regular car crashes, fast speeds, no bike lane (or shoulder for that matter).  Still with required coat and tie, the logistics were more than I wanted to undertake.  On the opening day, I cycled to work just to let them know I could, but it was a one-time effort.  A few years later, one summer when I was training for the Hotter'N Hell Hundred in Wichita Falls, Marilane would drop me and my bike off in the morning and I would take a circuitous, thirty-mile route home.
     That was the old days, (sigh).  Today biking to work is more accepted, routes safer. But here is where I differ from those intrepid souls who challenge automobiles on their own turf: if it isn't safe, don't do it.  Riding neighborhoods, no problem.  Bike lanes or wide shoulders, no problem.  High traffic Interstate access roads: no way.  Case in point: the driver moved from behind a vehicle in the left lane into the right lane and didn't see the cyclist.  The driver was cited for "unsafe lane change."  We see similar stories all the time.  The physics of autos vs. cyclists requires the cyclist to be ever-vigilant and not put themselves needlessly in harm's way. 
     I've only been hit, by a pick-up, once;  he rolled a stop sign when I thought he had stopped completely.  I've also had to lay it down to avoid a car leaving a stop sign.  I was doing 40 mph when I saw what was happening, about 20 when I hit the asphalt (interestingly enough, he was a cyclist driving to begin his morning ride).  Both times I was on a "safe" route.
     Two points I would like to make in this post: 1) Continue to push for bike lanes, shoulders, bike routes and positive legislation; 2) Don't be that cyclist who causes road-rage in already antagonistic drivers.  And a third point: some attitudes will never change.
     Yeah, you can take care of yourself, you were in the right, and just to make sure "he" knew about it, you gave him the finger.  What will happen to the next cyclist he sees?  He doesn't see himself as Goliath vs David, just man-on-man.  Give your fellow cyclist a break.

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