Thursday, May 21, 2009

And Everything Changes

The last few days have been extremely hot. Tuesday 96F. Wednesday 94F. Both records. That probably isn't the only record broken. As I biked around town, yesterday evening, I had more company than I ever remember. Everywhere you looked there were bikes. Crowd's of them. I think it's funny because 90's with high winds, isn't the most ideal riding conditions. I'm thinking "Why don't you folks ride when it's 50's or 60's(Heck! This winter 20F was optimal for me.). It's really much better riding then." But something about looking a gift horse in the mouth.

As I made my way through downtown, I noticed that most of these folks are "Newbies". I'm not saying that they haven't riden before, but that they are just getting back on their bikes after a long winter hiatus. I know from past experience that when I got back on my bike, it took awhile to get back my riding form. I'm not bragging , but with Harvey, I was riding one of the heavier, more upright bikes out there. Still, I was the faster than most bikes out there. I realized that people were looking around at other bikes to figure out what they were supposed to do.

Here's were the learning part comes. It dawned on me that I needed to become a better example for these Goslings. Most of the winter, I could ride how I wanted, because there weren't that many other bikers on the roads. Lonely sometimes, but free. Now, with these mobs of bikes, some sort of etiquette needed to emerge. My freewheeling days were had to be curtailed, or these folks might learn bad manners. And bad manners can get you hurt. People are very much like Monkeys(no offense to the Monkeys). They watch what others do and mimic that behavior. I don't want to overstate my importance, but one of the people these summer riders would be watching, was me.

So, I started stopping at almost all lights, even if there wasn't a car in sight. I watched out for riders, letting them pass first. I didn't rush to pass the slower bikers(I did pass them eventually, because I'm sure they didn't want me behind, riding them). I smiled and chatted people up at stop lights. And except at a few fun hills, I took it easy on my ride.

It seems that every year I see more cyclists on the road. That's a great thing. I love it. But more bikes, means that people need to follow more of the rules and put more effort into watching out for others. If I follow my own advice, I'm sure it'll go a little ways towards tipping it that way.


anna said...

A very positive post, I like it! Although I also like it when people wake up in the spring, I sometimes get really angry because some of them do some very dangerous maneuvers, don't shoulder check, don't signal, go up the wrong way on one-way bike lanes, don't use lights in the night and so on. I'm not really sure how to deal with them. Should I tell them how they could improve or should I simply be happy that they're not in a car and keep my mouth shut?

spiderleggreen said...

Funny thing how people pull out the "they should follow the rules of the road" argument when car-centric folks discuss bike issues. Well, yes they should. But if they don't, it's not like they're operating a big, heavy vehicle that could kill easily if breaks the rules.

But it doesn't help "the cause" to bust a whole bunch of crazy moves in traffic. I'm working on generating a Slow Bike attitude. Things go easier that way.

m e l i g r o s a said...

super! its sunny in chai-land :D see I knew it'd come fast, now our summers here in SF are 49°, that was the temp. sunday evening. yes I love my upper 40s with a little bit of fog too, thank you :D

cool shots from the bike lane, im liking! xo/m