• 06-20-2008
    Some thoughts for new commuters
    It's about biking in general, but I found it really applied to when I recently started commuting. From Bike Snob NYC


    The new or aspiring cyclist is afraid of many things. Among them are: looking stupid; getting lost; getting harassed by automotive traffic; and of course injury. Sure, fear is natural, but when it keeps you from doing something there’s really no reason not to do it becomes a problem. Being afraid of cycling is like feeling guilty about sex, except one keeps you from getting on and the other keeps you from getting off. But how do you lose the fear?

    Paradoxically, you lose it by accepting the fact that every one of the things you’re afraid of will happen to you. You know what? You will look stupid. We all looked stupid on a bike at first. We all put on a jersey that was two sizes too big, pulled on our first pair of cheap half-shorts, tied our sneakered feet to our plastic pedals with some nylon straps, shifted into the small ring up front and the small cog out back, and let our dork flags fly. Not only that, but every one of us, no matter how experienced, still looks stupid today--maybe not to our riding buddies or respective cliques, but certainly to the world at large. The fixter looks stupid to the roadie; the roadie looks stupid to the mountain biker; the mountain biker looks stupid to the recumbent rider; and the recumbent rider looks stupid to everyone. And all of us look stupid to the non-cyclist. No matter who you are or what you’re doing, you look stupid to somebody. We’re all a bunch of preening, posturing, self-deluded roosters. Embrace it.

    You’ll also get lost. It will probably be raining when it happens, too. Yes, you’ll be a lost, wet, cold, stupid-looking person, and you’ll be miserable. But it’s not that bad. You’ll find your way home again, you’ll learn some new roads, and you’ll be better for the experience. As J. Peterman said, being lost is “the best way to get someplace you've never been.” And in my experience with being lost, that place is often in New Jersey.

    “But what about the cars?,” you may ask. “Surely I should fear the cars.” Well, you should be aware of the cars, and you should know that many of them are driven by people so stupid they can barely operate them, but you should not fear them. Rather, you should know them and understand them. You’re at a distinct advantage because, being stupid, most drivers are easy to figure out. It won’t take you long to anticipate their stupid behavior in the same way you can usually figure out what your dog is about to do next. Oh, and don’t let them bully you. Ignore the beeping. A driver honks to express one of three things: 1) I want you to get out of my way; 2) I want you to go faster; 3) I just don’t like you. The correct response to all of these is, “I don’t give a ****.” Drivers don’t honk when they’re about to kill you because when they kill you it’s because they didn’t see you.

    “Yeah, but cars or no cars, I might get hurt.” Hey, you will get hurt, I promise. But you can also get hurt eating a bagel, watching “Night Court” reruns, or masturbating. (Especially if you attempt all three at once.) It doesn't mean you shouldn't do them. Lieutenant Frank Drebin of Police Squad said it best: “You take a chance getting up in the morning, crossing the street or sticking your face in a fan.” So go ahead, stick your face in the fan and get on your bike.
  • 06-27-2008

    And another thing for new commuters -- really for everyone but especially for new commuters. If another cyclist passes you and you find this person at a red light, construction, traffic confusion later down the path, do not pass this person. He is only going to have to pass you again once everyone is up to speed. You are not being challenged or looked down upon by the faster rider.

    Basically, I'm normally almost late for work and am hammering it in the morning and when I pass another cyclist I find that they tend to jump right back in front of me if I get stuck at an intersection. I was not challenging or insulting you when I passed you, I was just hurrying and then got stuck at a light further down the route, please don't make me work my way past you again. This is especially annoying because there is now often a line of cars working their way past us. I get it, you are calm and your zen-like coolness is impressive. I, however, am in a hurry.

    I am new to commuting though, maybe there is a reason for doing this that I don't know?
  • 06-27-2008
    Also, one big tip...LEAVE EARLY (in the morning) if at all possible. If I leave 1/2 hour earlier, I am calmer, more focused, there is less traffic, etc. If I'm in a rush, traffic and intersections, etc are all more annoying.
  • 06-27-2008

    The only thing left out is the most important:

    You are RIDING YOUR BIKE -- enjoy it!!