America's #1 Balance Bike Destination

America's #1 Balance Bike Destination
America's #1 Balance Bike Destination

11 December 2007

Commuting by Bike: Hazardous to your mental health (?)

Yesterday, I decided to punish myself with a bike commute to and from work. I use the word "punish" because I've been quite a sissy-boy in the "cold weather riding" department. Resolving to ride the fixed gear bike to work 2-3 times a week, all winter long, I decided to pick one of the nastier days as a way to "break myself in". "Future rides to work won't seem as bad" I reasoned.. Well.. aside from a quick fall on black ice, my ride to work was quite enjoyable, all 9 miles of it. The ride home.. a different story.. It wasn't the darkness that ruined it, it wasn't the cold wind or the damp drizzle or the slick roads.. It was the people who I shared the road with. Quittin' time does something to New Englanders I think. Getting home seems to be a bigger urgency than getting to work, that's for damn sure. 
A motorist driving an enormous pick up truck- the kind with four rear wheels and four doors- thoughtfully slowed to my pace, lowered his window, wagged his finger and yelled at me to "GET ON THE SIDEWALK!". On at least three other occasions, motorists blared their horns at me, and then once they could get past me, gunned the throttle while shaking their heads in disapproval. I can't read their moving lips too well, but their "body language" makes it pretty clear that feathering their brakes for a few seconds while basking in the warmth and comfort of their car, in order to avoid pasting the road with my shivering body parts, , is not appreciated.. at all.
Mentally, it really takes the wind out of your sails. You know you're doing something good for the body, for the mind and even for the environment, but those who can't afford to be delayed for 5 seconds by a human life perched precariously on top of a 20 pound machine going 20 miles an hour through the darkness on top of frozen asphalt, really make it hard to be optimistic about anything to do with PEOPLE. Enough said.
If you're a motorist and encounter a person riding a bicycle on the road, try something new: YIELD deliberately- give way- wave them through- let them pass before you make your turn. I PROMISE you that the cyclist will respond to you with a wave and a smile, or otherwise go out of their way to express thanks. If they don't, caulk it up as a rare exception- friendly motorists are so rare these days that sometimes an act of kindness is met with shock or disbelief. Have faith. WE still do.. or else we'd give up on this bike cummuting thing entirely.

13 comments:

Metin said...

I just hate it when I'm cruising at a high speed while driving and have to slow down for some biker who is definitely not dressed as he's going to and from work.

Why not do the recreational biking before or after rush hour?

I also hate motorcyclists who vrooom up and pass me while scaring the crap out of me, riding in between lanes, as I am about to change lanes.

the Husband said...

murat

Try this. Happens again, take out your cell phone and mouth 911 to the vehicle driver and pretend to take a photo of tag especially if you catch the fat bastard up at some lights......works in NJ...

Metin

I commuted through an Ohio winter and dressed accordingly, cycling gear plus hi-viz jacket and lights

changed in the office.....construction sites do that as they have showers at work...

grow up....so I should do my recreational biking before the rush hour, is there a law that says I have to commute by car????????? Gubernator is coming for ya.....

Metin said...

husband: You are on a bike. You pretend you're gonna take a picture of the license plate of some redneck in a pickup truck.

You are definitely asking for trouble. I hope you don't give that advice to some people who value their life.

As for the law that says you can't commute by car . . . people shouldn't be allowed to walk on the freeways either . . . oh and i love targeting those cute vespas also . . . grow up, get a better paying job, and buy a gas guzzler suv, and pay $4 a gallon like the rest of us . . .

or stay home and telecommute . . . and ride your bike at the gym inside your gated community . . .

:)

the Husband said...

or carrying ball bearings in your rear pocket and drop them on assholes wind shields, works a treat.....and by the way I have an extremly well paying job but prefer to keep fit this way.....after 6 years of commuting by bike in Hong Kong the US is easy...oh by the way what gated community are you referring to, are you in prison or something????

Metin said...

the husband:

the visiting hours are over . . . and I can't comment anymore . . .

for those who insist on staying fit at expense of getting hit . . . at least they look good in a black suit.

good day . . .

:)

Celal Birader said...

Hi Murat,

You communicate the cyclist point of view very compellingly. My friend Ziya has posted an entry on his blog entitled Kibarlik Uzerine which is on topic with this post of yours. It's in Turkish and might be hard slog if you're not used to reading things in Turkish but well worth it if you have the time. Both you and he say what the Bible has been saying for the past 2,000 years about human nature. Christmas is about the birth of the Savior that we certainly do need.

the Husband said...

Metin,

but at least we had fun.....plus I can swear all I want at SUV drivers like you and really wnat you gonna do, shoot me?????

Metin said...

Husband: I don't drive an SUV. I also hate them with a passion, especially the ones that petite women have to get on a step ladder to get into.

I have too precious of a car to be driving around near SUVs and/or bikes and/or Mexican illegals walking along the freeway.

I try to stay clear of traffic, and also avoid people with guns on the freeways . . .

Murat Altinbasak said...

Celal, thanks for the link. I tried to read it and as you suggested, it was pretty heavy for me. I'd have to read and re-read it three times to get it completely.
If I had to guess, the gist of my message is kind of like: "you reap what you sow". Be kind to cyclists and they will reciprocate to motorists ten fold!
I've had some wine tonight, so I speak quite freely when I say this to you Celal.. If ever you encounter someone who is surprised, ashamed or otherwise disapproving of your Christian faith (i.e. the typical Turk), know that if I were there with you, you would have to stop me from becoming violent. In my own convoluted way, that's a compliment. Cheers!

Celal Birader said...

Well, thank you very much indeed for the compliment, Murat. All the best to you and your family ... Celal

Metin said...

'the typical turk' ????

stereotyping 101???

Hans A.H.C. de Wit said...

Celal,
I see you suddenly everywhere..))
Is 'your' Ziya the person who writes regular in TDN?
Iyi Bayramlar Iyi Noaller

Celal Birader said...

Hi Hans ... Yeah, i've been leaving some tracks on your blog too. Ziya ... that's him. He's a very original thinker, isn't he ?