Gear Prudence

Read any good bike advice columns in any local alt weeklies lately? Me neither. But I did read the one that I happen to be writing for Washington City Paper under the title "Gear Prudence." Read it! Tell your friends to read it! Tell your acquaintances to read it! Shout "read Dear Prudence!" to every passing cyclist! There's nothing cyclists love me than being yelled at by strangers. And more importantly, write in questions. Please. I could make up fake questions, but who wants to read about how bicyclists can  peacefully coexist with pogo commuters every single week? I certainly wouldn't. Many thanks to the many of you who have thus far said kind things about this and even more thanks to the some of you who have already written in some great questions. To respond to the ones I've received so far, the answers are yes, no, yes, spaghetti (but not where you expect), Thursday and Dr. Octopus.

Having just read the above paragraph, you're probably wondering how I landed this column anyway. That's a great question! Maybe it has something to do with being the 37th most popular local bike blogger (polls don't lie) and you can believe that if you'd like. But maybe the story is a little grander. Maybe, after high school, I was a listless townie, resisting the urge to go to college, but also not drawn to a life working in the quarries. Maybe I became overly interested in Italian cycling culture and I, along with a ragtag group of compatriots, decided to enter the local big bicycle race against all of the fancy educated boys of the local newspapers. And maybe my training and my love of bicycles and some brief assistance by Dennis Quaid allowed me to best these snooty Washington City Paper riders in this bicycle race and maybe the bike advice column was my prize. Or maybe that's just a bastardized version of the plot of Breaking Away. Bellissima. In reality, the origin of the story in much more mundane. Each of the 12 Districts submitted two tributes... wait, that's not it either. In any case, I'm thrilled and honored and will do my best to continue to try not to do a terrible job.

But I have to admit, those first two responses did not come easily. In fact, I had to comb through dozens of totally real questions to get two that I could answer. So, in the interest of complete transparency, here are some of the questions and answers that didn't make it.

Q. Gear Prudence: I love pogo sticks!
A. Go to hell.

Q. Gear Prudence: I love bicycling in the city, but I'd like to find a way to get to work without sweating through all of my clothes. Does the all powerful Bike Lobby have a weather machine?
A. Nope. Just the ability to surreptitiously replace American flags atop New York bridges. Or not.

Q. Gear Prudence: Do you have any expertise on bicycles whatsoever? Aren't you kind of a fraud?
A. [sobs gently]

Q. Gear Prudence: You didn't answer my question about your qualifications. What if someone actually asks something sort of technical? You just going to make something up?
A. [deletes email, pretends not to have gotten it]

So, yeah. Once again, thank you all in advance for submitting some great questions
(email gearprudence@washingtoncitypaper.com) and thank you to the nine of you who read this blog and who will hopefully also read Gear Prudence. You're the best. Regular bike commute blogging will resume tomorrow.

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