Over the past two years, I’ve cycled more than I have in the rest of my adult life combined. We had bikes on Malta, and I regularly used my old clunker to get exercise or to ride into town for supplies or a movie. Here in Victoria, my Dad kindly loaned me his old bike, and I use it pretty much along the same lines.
Becoming a regular cyclists has made me more observant of some cycling-related behaviour. So, in no particular order, some random thoughts on cycling:
- My new favourite pet peeve is asshats who cycle on the sidewalk. As somebody said on Twitter when I complained about this: “it’s called side-walk, not side-ride”. If you can’t cycle on the road, then leave your bike at home. When someone’s riding on the sidewalk toward me (and they’re frequently grinning like an idiot), I refuse to change direction. If they run into me, I’m pretty sure they’re going to end up worse off.
- There’s an odd camaraderie among cyclists with which I’m uncomfortable. They always want to chat with me when we’re stopped next to each other at an intersection, or when we happen to be locking up our bikes at the same moment.
- As you probably know, there are a lot of retirees in Victoria. I’m often struck by how many more elderly men I see out riding than elderly women. Why is this?
- I still think Critical Mass is a lousy approach to cycling activism. When I think of Critical Mass, I think of this insightful comment that Christine left on my blog three years ago:
I watch these guys go by, yelling Ã¢â‚¬Å“weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re not holding up traffic – WE ARE THE TRAFFIC!Ã¢â‚¬Â and I wonder about the definition of traffic, and whether they fit into it. Before they got there, traffic on my way home consisted of people obeying traffic laws, and doing their best to get home in time for dinner while allowing others to do the same. Critical Mass riders seem to take glee in subverting all that. They are the traffic? Huh. How is it, then, that they storm through lights and disregard numerous traffic laws, getting away with it just because there are so many of them?