Ride In 1/30

Slept in, didn't have real coffee (tried to make Turkish in an ibrik, didn't really work) and I knew about three pedal pushes into my ride that it was going to be a slog. I probably wasn't helped by eating roughly 6000 calories of sour cream and smoked bacon last night at our Magyar-tacular dinner party (my wife cooked all of the Hungarian food. Nothing falusi [in that it wasn't exclusively gross animal parts], but it was rather a lot) and even the slightest bit of wind seemed to be enough to make my ride even that much more sluggish. Normally, I try to pedal my way through it, thinking that a bit of effort will get the blood pumping and that might have some salutary benefit, but it just wasn't happening this morning and I wasn't even a mile from home before I decided that there wasn't much point in applying any effort at all and that I'd get there when I'd get there. It's not a race. And while I fully recognize that it's not a race, it's also not fun to push out a 45 minute commute into one that takes more than an hour.I can only do so much irreverent observing.
Lack of precipitation always brings out more bicyclists. I've come to the conclusion that every bike commuter, for better or worse, considers him or herself an expert on bike commuting and the routes and stratagems employed therein. That's why I try not to bother engaging anyone, even with "constructive criticism" like "you might want to stop at this red light as the cars in the opposite direction have a turn arrow and you're liable to be struck by one and even if not, you're going to rather piss them off by flagrantly annoying the drivers' rights of way." That's also a mouthful, which is why this morning, I think I said, as someone cycled past me through the red light, "cars turning left," but to no avail. I suppose that as a bicycle blogger and self-appointed advocate, I shouldn't be so willing to abdicate total responsibility for those on bicycles, but sometimes you just can't help people. And while I'd "advocate" for the rights of bicyclists as a special class of road users, I'm not really in the position to defend stupidity. Nor do I really think that any of us should be. So, I guess, in conclusion, what I'm trying to say is that you should do what you want, but try not to do anything abundantly dumb or anti-social. This might also make for good advice for children on the first day of kindergarten. And don't eat paste.
I think there are more occupiers in Freedom Plaza and fewer in McPherson Square, at least as of this morning's cursory tent observation. I don't know what this evening will be like after the crackdown or whatever we're calling today's "no camping" enforcement.
In succession, I saw a guy wearing shorts and a tee shirt and a woman wearing a fur hat. I think that tells you that the temperature was _____________.
Hipster, fixie, u-lock in belt, really light wash jeans, trackstanding, and weekend group ride-style hand signals to indicate turning to the bicyclist (me) riding behind him. Maybe for irony. Appreciated, in any case.
That awkward thing where the approaching bicyclist starts to pass a pedestrian and then sees you coming but rather than either put in any extra effort to get around the pedestrian or drop back behind the pedestrian, he/she remains parallel to the pedestrian and directly in your path. Twice. I get that passing pedestrians on sidewalks is an especially delicate operation (you don't want to do it too fast or too closely), but either pass or fall back. Decisiveness is one of the most important traits to develop. There's a right way, a wrong way and the Tales From the Sharrows way, which is to blatantly rip off Simpons quotes. The blog you'd love to touch, but mustn't touch.
I wish there was direct proportionality between the size of a vehicle and the care with with its driver operates it. However, I fear that the inverse is much more likely. If your feeling of invulnerability comes at the cost of those around you feeling even more vulnerable, I'd consider this a problem. It's like an arms race sometimes. A hippy should put a flower in the tailpipe of a Tahoe and maybe we can talk about demilitarizing our streets.
Maybe no post tonight because of "the school." If anyone wants to write anything, and I mean anything, I'd be more than willing to post it in order to sate the masses.


  1. Lack of precipitation today seems to have brought out a lot of crosswalk-running cyclists. There was a guy on CaBi at 14th and I NW who ran the red light, then swerved dangerously through pedestrians crossing legally. Then there was the guy who passed me silently on the right just as the light was about to turn green then swerved in front of a car in order to avoid stopping for a pedestrian, again crossing legally in a crosswalk.

    This particularly annoys me because it means that when I DO stop for pedestrians legally in crosswalks, the pedestrians look at me like I have two heads. Clearly they have no expectation that I will stop for them.

    If I had time this afternoon I would compose a "cyclists riding like a**holes make it harder on more or less law-abiding cyclists" blog post for you this evening. Maybe another day.

  2. But.. but... I *love* paste.

    Cyclists blazing through red lights that result in impeding traffic flow and honking horns = major pet peeve. Seriously, folks, don't screw it up for the rest of us.

  3. I'm so torn about the idea of others "screwing it up" or "making it harder" for the rest of us, not necessarily because it isn't true, but because we (bicyclists) seem to be the only group of road users who thinks about lawbreaking in this way. People who speed or make illegal turns aren't considered "making it harder" on the remainder of drivers. They're just jerks. And no pedestrian gets angsty about jaywalkers ruining it for everyone else. While I oppose jerks, I oppose jerks not because they make things worse for me, but just because jerkiness should be opposed ipso facto, if that makes any sense.

  4. I agree that jerk cyclists should be opposed simply for being jerks. But I don't think that's any effective way of getting them to stop. Many (most?) argue that they're the ones taking the risk, so why is it my business? My answer is that you make cars treat me worse when you are a jerk. I don't know if it works, though, as I've never really tried it on a jerk in person.

    And by "you" I mean "jerks", not "anyone reading this". Unless the reader is a jerk, and then, yes, I'm talking to you.

  5. In some ways I'm frustrated by the low expectations drivers have of cyclists, and some of the blame for that falls on cyclists...like at four way stops, drivers just assume I'm going to blow through and thus give up the right of way. Really I'd just prefer that they treat me like any other vehicle and expect that I'll wait my turn. But since a lot of bikes don't wait, drivers assume the worst.

    I think the reason the double standard about following the rules stems mostly from the relative scarcity of cyclists on the road. Drivers generally obey the rules of the road (as opposed to the law), but there are many who don't. But since drivers interact with so many other drivers and those interactions are neutral, the bad drivers fade into the "noise" of driving. But if a driver interacts with two cyclists in a day, and one of those interactions is with a cyclist doing something careless, that stands out in the driver's mind. I notice the same thing on my motorcycle...everyone thinks that we're all stunting idiots who do 150mph on the freeway, mainly because they saw it happen once and dont interact with a lot of other bikes. So the most realistic solution is not to improve behavior (since it's not the actual problem) but to be fruitful and multiply as the Jeebus book says.