Too many thoughts, too little time.

Hypocrisy on two wheels

Aussie calls it my old lady bike, I’m ok with this.

I got a new bike this spring. Not the kind with a motor, I have no desire for one of those, but a pretty purple and yellow one with a basket on the front. I LOVE it. We only live two miles or so from the grocery store, and several places to eat, so, quite often the kids and I go get groceries on our bikes, and even more often Aussie and I ride to get milkshakes or a cup of coffee.  I enjoy it. I think it is relaxing, it’s good exercise, it saves gas (even if it is just a bit).

We can avoid most the “big” roads by taking a round about way through the housing additions, three of them. Not much traffic, people who say hello and wave at us. The little traffic there is tends to give us plenty of room, and it is much appreciated. Unfortunately, there is about a quarter mile stretch that is on a fairly large road, with no shoulder. When the kids and I ride, we walk that section, down in the yards on the other side of the ditch. When Aussie and I ride (and I just found this out) he rides behind me, but off the the left a bit. I ride on what little shoulder there is, and he rides on the road. By doing this, it forces cars to slow down and wait for space to pass in the lane coming towards us, rather us both on the shoulder, and cars flying by, while almost hitting us with the mirror, if we’re lucky.

I grew up hearing my dad complain non-stop about people not riding single file, how stupid it was, etc. All of a sudden, I understood why they did it. So, I decided to try to explain this to my dad, you would think I would have learned by now. But no, apparently I am a glutton for punishment. (Off topic, I goggled “glutton for punishment, and one of the top 5 pics was a cartoon pic, of a guy with green hair sucking a girl’s toes. I am confused as to how this applies. I almost wanted to click and see if I was missing something, but, I really don’t want my boyfriend to come home and in the history find anime porn.) Anyway, back on topic, I explain this, and he says “if there isn’t room for a car to pass you, then you shouldn’t be riding. If there is no sidewalk for you, then it’s your own fault.” I explain, that technically bikes are not supposed to be on the sidewalk, they are considered vehicles. He says that is stupid and he doesn’t care, bikes need to stay off the road. I try to explain again, he shouts “Fine, but if I hit you because you’re an idiot, it’s your own damn fault. Maybe you’ll learn your lesson.” My father is a very empathetic individual, as you can see. He goes on to tell me that there is no reason to ride my bike when I have a perfectly good truck in the driveway. I’m annoyed at this point, and I tell him, first of all, being fat is dangerous as well, so, if I’m dying of something anyway, it may as well be trying to get healthy. Second, if he hits a bicyclist, and it is his negligence, he will be doing jail time. And, if the person on the bike is riding, on the road, in a straight line, in the correct lane, it will be the cars fault. (you know, that whole with great power comes great responsibility thing. You’re bigger, be careful, not a bully.) Third, Aussie and I pay taxes, for the roads, we get to use the roads, legally. And finally, unless your name is God or Officer Dad, it’s not your job to be teaching lessons.

My favorite part of this is that my dad rides a motorcycle. How would he like it if a car decided he needed to be on the shoulder, and tried to pass him in the same lane? how would he like a car to “teach him a lesson”? Google “Hate motorcycles” or, I’ll do it for you… It’s scary how people feel about them, I’m glad teaching people on motorcycles a lesson is illegal. Though it doesn’t stop them. Like this article: that talks about how people actively try to take out their anger on bikers. I bet my dad has a problem with THAT though.

Anyway, please share the road. Please, even if my dad can’t do it for real, pretend that that person you just passed is your kid, or someone you love. And please, don’t be so closed minded that no amount of logic can get into your imaginary “right way”.  You don’t have to agree with everybody, but when you call your own kid an idiot and imply you’d stand at their funeral and say “she deserved it”…well, then, you’re a jerk.

Finally, this article is on topic, and I thought it was interesting. It’s basically talking about why all the hatred for people on bikes and how to change that (Spoiler…get more people on bikes!)

If only!


Comments on: "Hypocrisy on two wheels" (6)

  1. CandTmom said:

    I have a friend who rides everyday. Miles. I mean 20-30 miles every day. He rides 100+ miles on the weekends for “fun” (clearly we have different definitions of this word). Anyway, when I was training for my triathlon, I told him how hard it was to stay to the side and how frustrating it was to feel like I was going to be run off the road….that I didn’t know how he did it all the time. He simply said:

    Bikes are transportation and have every right to be in the road. If there is no specified bike lane, you need to ride right down the MIDDLE of the lane. This will keep cars from crowding you off the road and potentially hurting you.

    I took his advice and rode that way from then on. It was a much better experience. Cars will slow down. They may not like it, but they will slow down and give you the space you need to be safe. Because the truth is, all that talk of potentially hitting someone is just talk- because he wouldn’t actually, purposefully hit someone. He’d be mad- for sure. But if you try to stay to the side of the road, it’s like you’re telling the car drivers, “here, I’m trying to stay out of your way so you can get around me” and they will try…and you’re more likely to get hurt. Ride down the middle, and you’ll be safer.

    • I know, and Aussie makes sure at least he does. Just still makes me nervous because there have been a lot of people on bikes hit and killed her recently. Which is ironic, since we just go voted a good place for cyclists.

      I also just need to get over being such a “pleaser” yes, I am riding slow, yes I feel like I look silly and am inconvenience people, but, I enjoy it, I’m not hurting anybody, and 99.999% of those people will not have any sort of long term repercussions from having to wait 30 seconds extra to pass me, including my dad.

      Like the article said, and like I told my dad, the only way where is going to be a change, is if people start doing it anyway. They went to all the trouble to put in a really nice, wide, sidewalk/bike path going all around the little shopping area out by where we live, but there is no good way to get to it! If nobody uses it, then there is no motivation to connect the sidewalk to SOMETHING, if people use it, and the drivers complain, maybe the city will make it so it’s safer to get to.

      • CandTmom said:

        I know…I’m a “pleaser” too….every time I’d ride down the middle of the road, I’d worry about making the people mad at me. I don’t blame you for one second for being nervous, especially with the boys in tow. Regardless of where you ride, I’m proud of you for NOT taking the car the two miles to get to the store. 🙂 Good for you!

        Interesting that the area has been voted a good place for cyclists, but there’s no access to the paths. We have a similar problem here. El Paso has been cited to be a good place for families…yet in the area where I live, there are very few parks, the sidewalks (which lots of people park their precious cars on as opposed to parking on the street) are either not finished, and even if they are, there is no access ramps at the corners. So, for me to take the boys on a walk, I have to take the same route, every day, to the only street in the entire 2 mile radius that has sidewalks with ramps (and still go into the street to get around the cars parked on the sidewalk), or I have to just walk in the street and around the cars there. We have almost been hit twice (I mean, brakes burning the tires kind of almost hit) because of this.

        Maybe I just don’t live in the part of the city that’s good for families??

  2. Animosity of drivers towards cyclists is ongoing for some areas of the world and for some people. I think your father is being quite hypocritical since he is a motorcyclist and should be more empathetic.

    Stay safe but I hope you and others enjoy your rides together. It’s such a wonderful stress reliever, provides independence, it’s cheap /no-cost fitness and great way to explore the world with others.
    I should know, I returned to cycling 20 yrs. ago. We’re car-free because I had problems learning to ddrive. He just doesn’t want the added cost of owning and running a car.

    I certainly can affirm for a 50+ yr. old chick like me, it’s a boon to my good health too.

    • We definitely enjoy our rides. I have 2 baby brothers who like to come over JUST to ride to the grocery store with us.

      I CAN drive, I just really don’t like to, there really isn’t a whole lot of reason to right now either. If they would put a library in closer to home, I would not need to use the car all summer for errands.

  3. Interesting about your baby brothers. Continue to inspire their enthusiasm.

    Best wishes for great journeys on bikes. 🙂

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