Posts Tagged ‘stealth’

Bike Judge

30 June 2009

Dear J-

Spend enough time bicycling and you’ll inevitably start to judge other bicyclists in an attempt to justify how fast/slow or gear-laden you are in comparison.  My bike is a bit of a pig — as a folding bike, it’s not the lightest to begin with, and then I pile on my lunch, two bottles of water, lights, rack, bookbag (with a camera I need to charge the batteries in, sunglasses, calculator, GameBoy — also featuring dead batteries, wallet, keys, iPod, monocular, and phone).  Dragging my fluorescent-jacketed carcass along means that folks pass me regularly and easily, pointing all the while at the funny guy with no fashion sense.

On the other hand, maybe those are just excuses (fat tires, extra load, indifferent maintenance) for me not to work hard at it — although I’m still pretty sure that I haven’t ever passed anyone on the way to or from work, I have kept up on the hills for a moment or two now and then.  I guess everyone has their priorities which justifies their choices in bicycle and gear; either I’m terrifed of being somewhere, unentertained, or I like gadgets (with the latter far more likely).

One thing I can’t abide is indifference to safety; I see people riding on the sidewalk (crossing the street in the crosswalk actually lessens your visibility to folks behind you turning right, especially if there’s cars parked at the curb), or without helmets (I’ve already managed to ruin a shirt sliding on a shoulder after a spectacular wipeout going downhill; my faith in the indifference of SoCal drivers was not shaken), but this morning I saw someone with an aggressive recklessness.  His bike had no lights, and he was wearing black; the stealth ninja look is good, I suppose, if you’re interested in blending in, but for folks driving around with no coffee in their systems — I almost chased him down (that is, if I could) to offer him one of my lights, at least.  I’m not saying I’m a perfect bicyclist, but I’m still cringing at the thought of the stealth rider, apologizing to motorists on behalf of bicyclists.