Rides 7/7: Janissary Commissary

There are lots of things bike commuters can't control (the actions of others, the weather, a soapy poodle* and so on), but there are a few things bike commuters can control and within those few things, there might even be some things worth trying to control. At this point, you might've sketched out a Venn diagram to follow along and if all went according to plan, your Venn diagram should include a few circles and no triangles because if I know anything about Old Man Venn (and I sure don't), it's that he expressly forbad the use of triangles in his namesake diagram and I can always recall this because there's a Venn diagram when one circle is labeled Venn Diagram and the other circle is labeled Triangle and these circles do not overlap, nor are any of the circles in the Venn diagram triangles and so, pictorially speaking (like on Win, Lose or Draw?), the lack of triangles in the Venn diagram also helps reinforce Old Man Venn's "No Triangles Allowed" policy. Granted, it was a different time back then (whenever Old Man Venn lived, that is) and I'm sure we wouldn't stand for such blatant shapeism these days and there's probably even a law that Congress passed called the Fairness in Diagrams Act that makes it illegal to discriminate against the use (or non-use) of any shape in particular in any diagram used for any kind of public purpose within these United States. But I digress. 

Don't rush and don't get stitched up. These are some things you can control and that you might want to control when you commute by bike. Let's look at them each, one at a time, and not diagrammatically, whatever that means. 

Why not rush? What if your favorite band is Rush? What if your favorite AM radio blowhard is Rush? What if your favorite movie and Gutzon Borglum giant president head South Dakotan Rock art is Rushmore? It's not rush less! Why should you listen to me and not Max Fisher (noted film bike commuter) or a Mormon Danish rock artist? (The Mormon Danish a popular pastry in SLC. Other Danish rockers include: mid-century modern furniture.) Anyway, I don't advocate rushing primarily for two reasons: it lessens enjoyment (and your enjoyment while bike commuting should be the size of a giant presidential face blasted into the Badlands) and it leads you to bad (and worse than bad, anti-social) decisions. I see bike commuters every morning who 1) don't look like they're having fun and 2) do impolite things all because they're rushing. So leave yourself enough time. Side note: this isn't railing against going fast. Lots of people like to go fast and I have little issue with that. But there's a difference between a controlled fastness and a dead-eyed, frowning "OMFG I'M RUSHING" and you can see it and you can tell. So go fast if you want, but don't rush. Leave a little earlier. It's worth it. 

And the other thing [scrolling back to remind myself of the other thing. Ah yes. Ok, that. Yeah], don't get stitched up. Getting stitched up is idiomatic (and not diagrammatic) and accordingly means a bunch of things and the one thing I don't mean by "don't get stitched up" is the literal meaning, though getting yarn bombed by rogue knitters while you're simply trying to make your way to work is also something to be avoided, but the meaning I mean the most about not getting stitched up is the one related to guile or savvy or not being the dupe. Know the potential trouble spots. Think ahead. Pay attention. I think that there's a bad way to think about the same idea that involves the word and concept "vigilance" but I like thinking about it not that way. Vigilance sounds like something you do with votive candles and you should never bike with an open flame. Don't get stitched up. Have some forethought. Think ahead. Know where you are. Anticipate. Not in like a mean way or a LIFE AND DEATH way- it's not Darwinism, it's bike commuting- but in a way that might avoid you some inconvenience because you thought two steps ahead or the equivalent number of rolls ahead (this depends on the size of your steps and the size of your wheels). You can't control all things or most things, but you can control how much attention you pay to the world around you and paying some attention in the name of not getting stitched up might be worth it. It might not and that's ok too. Hey, it's free unsolicited advice and in spite of what you might have heard from all of the other people who offer free unsolicited advice, I'm going to further advise you to be critical of free unsolicited advice. But, now we've gotten into some ouroboros (Queens? Staten Island?) or Möbius Strip or whatever. Don't get stitched up. 

*Extrapolating based on personal experience) 

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