I’m one of the lucky ones. I get to live in a city that not only has bike lanes, but also the weather that inspires year round bike commuting. So I ride my bike. I haven’t driven my car in months. Looking at the bank account, the last time I put gas in my car was August 21, 2017 and it was only $11.85.
It used to take me 30 minutes to get up to the gym, but I can do it in 15 now. My bike is fast! I’m getting good at banking the corners too, even with those skinny tires I have. At first I was too afraid to try it, but then one day I sailed around a corner and naturally leaned into it, and I was hooked.
Another side effect of commuting via bicycle is, I have to stay sharp. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but the bike lanes are full of road debris; like broken tail lights, broken bottles, garbage, road kill, downed tree limbs and palm fronds. And all of the gravel that makes its way from the roads.
Then there’s the delivery guy who has his big truck parked in the bike lane, because it’s convenient for him. I have to make a quick decision about which side to swerve around is the safest for me to navigate.
One time I had to dodge a lady coming straight at me (in the bike lane) on her mobility scooter. She wasn’t going to budge either and I knew I wouldn’t win in that Game of Chicken.
I’ve got to be ever vigilant of the parked cars on the right side of the lane too. I never know if someone is about to swing open a door or pull out, never taking a second to look to see if I’m in the bike lane.
Those skinny tires that help me to go fast are also the same ones I have to traverse over rough terrain. Potholes and broken pavement can bring that bike down quicker than you could say, “watch out!”
This morning I had to pull into the auto lane because a girl was walking in the bike lane. Even though there was a sidewalk on both sides of the street. For some reason, she wanted to walk in the bike lane, so I had to skirt around her. And you wouldn’t believe how many times I’ve encountered a scooter riding the bike lanes. Too funny.
But my favorite is keeping a watchful eye on the cars behind me and beside me. I hope that driver coming up behind me riding the white line isn’t on their phone! For some reason they seem to all be in a hurry too, because it’s inevitable that a car races around in front of me, only to be turning right…in front of me.
I don’t know if you’ve seen me but I’m the one with the neon bright backpack that has the heavy Kryptonite lock in it. I can see you because I have a rear-view mirror. And I do my best to let you know I’m there. I have flashing lights on my bike, a helmet with headlights, tail lights, brake lights and even turn signals.
I’m trying; I really am, to get you to pay attention to me. Maybe next time you’re on the road, take a look around, see if you notice me us.