Thursday, May 15, 2008

An Open Letter to Anyone Who Takes Bicycling Too Seriously.

Whoa! Calm down!

Seriously, people, let's all just chill. I have a bike. I enjoy riding it. A lot. It's a convenient way to get around and going out for a ride can be quite enjoyable. Just the other day I even drew a picture of my bike.

But you know what I've never done? I've never worn special bike riding clothes. Oh, sure, I've put on a helmet, but Spandex? Bright Spandex covered in the brand names of companies that are not, in fact, sponsoring you? You're pedaling down the sidewalks of suburbia, not tearing down the roads of France.

If you are in the road, please get out. I know you're just dying to get the respect you deserve as a hardcore bicycling enthusiast, but there's a reason we have sidewalks and roads. There are these big mechanical monsters we modern folk refer to as "cars" or "automatons." And if, by chance, the grizzly patriot in the yellow Hummer was too busy ranting into his cell phone about how much he supports our troops to notice that darling, DayGlo orange crossing-guard vest with blinking LEDs (worn over your Lance Armstrong jersey and size -1 shorts, of course, becayse you want to be aerodynamic enough to shave that last second off of your lap around the block), and he happens to come barreling into you at mach 2, chances are the mangled hunk of flesh and bent metal lying in the gutter won't belong to the guy with the "W: The President" bumper sticker.

As I said, I ride a bike. Given the choice, I'd rather ride a bike that drive a car, and, hey, we're saving the environment, and I know how much you enjoy feeling smug, but listen - contemporary cars are powered by engines; not feet (my sympathies to Mr. Flintstone). Motor-vehicles are capable of traveling at much higher speeds than you. You know that grumpy, self-righteous grimace that covers your face when you reach the red light and have to stand behind the exhaust pipe of smelly SUV? That's the same way drivers feel when they're left behind a pack of you: stationary and frustrated.

For those of you do ride on the sidewalk, please know that others may choose to make use of this space, as well. Pedestrians, for example. "Walk" - it's right there in the word. In the event that you do encounter someone not riding a bike (or, heaven forbid, someone riding a bike more slowly than yourself) do not panic. You may be attempted to shout, "Left!" to indicate that you are approaching from the other person's left. Or that the person should stay to the left because you are to their right. Or something. Whatever the case, one thing is clear: you will not make any sound until you are within mere inches of the subject. Do not be surprised if the sudden sound of your quiet, alarmed, unclear sound of your voice causes the person to stop, turn around, or ask for you to repeat your statement, because honestly, people who take bicycling too seriously, I can never tell what you're saying until after you've passed me and you're tossing well-enunciated swears over your shoulder.

Would you like to know what I do when riding a bike and someone is in front of me? I slow down. I cut into the grass and pass around them, smiling and saying, "Excuse me."

And I do it all while wearing normal-frigging-clothes.


Anonymous said...

Did we have a bad experience on our bike?

Should I return those spandex shorts I just bought for you?

Anonymous said...

typo "...I'd rather ride a bike that drive a car..."

Anonymous said...

* I'm Lance Armstrong, I'm Lance Armstrong, I'm Lance Armstrong, I'm Lance Armstrong, I'm Lance Armstrong, I'm Lance Armstrong, I'm Lance Armstrong, I'm Lance Armstrong, I'm Lance Armstrong, I'm Lance Armstrong, I'm Lance Armstrong...*
that's what they are telling themselves.

-sister jack

Jake said...

As in...

[strumming heavily on a guitar]
"I'm LanceArmstrong, I'm LanceArmstrong, I'm LanceArmstrong,


I'm LanceArmstrong..."

Do you mean like that?