My “10 Rules for Urban Commuting” guest post over at Commute by Bike got a lot of heat in the comments. Some thought it was spot on; others thought it was awful advice. But I was struck by one curious and oft-repeated theme: the idea that those who ride bikes should assiduously avoid breaking traffic rules, because doing so makes motorists think badly of us.
For those afflicted with this way of thinking, I offer Rule 11:
If your priority is being seen as a “cycling role model” by drivers, you should not ride in the city.
Somehow I managed to stay off my rain bike for nearly 3 months, but sloppy Seattle finally caught up to me, and I spent the first two days of this week on my beastly SS 29er. Cushier ride than I remembered, but getting back on the Cassaroll for today’s sunbreak sure felt good in comparison.
(The beast – best thing about it is the Cetma rack)
No, not me – but Arleigh Jenkins, who writes Bike Shop Girl and Commute by Bike, was. She spent a little time in the hospital but appears to be on the road to recovery. It’s a sobering reminder of how quickly things can unravel for those of us out contending with the cars and trucks. Here’s hoping she’s back in the saddle soon – and writing for her two wonderful blogs as well.
Check it out: Seattle Rainwatch offers online and real-time weather radar for NW Washington. Looks like Bellingham is getting some rain today:
I like to get out on the Burke-Gilman trail for 20-40 mile spins on the weekend, but invariably I get my share of nasty looks – and this week, a rider actually caught up with me, patted my shoulder and reminded me I should say “on your left” when passing. I was too dumbfounded to do anything but nod and ride on.
You see, I probably should say “on your left”, and slow down when I get behind a pack of slow, inexperienced riders and wait for an opportune moment to pass. But used to my daily rides in the streets, I’m all about preserving momentum and avoiding obstacles. And you other riders on the trail? You’re obstacles. As are the pedestrians, baby strollers, joggers and everyone else.
I try to put on a more mellow headset when I get on the trail, and for a time I can adapt. But when I’m going, and I’ve got a line to pass, I’m usually going to do so – even if it’s a little close for your comfort. Sorry again – and in advance, for next time.