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"You ride anyway"(5 posts)

"You ride anyway"rollo tommassi
Jan 17, 2003 9:19 AM
Forgive me if someone has linked to this already, but I 'stole' this from www.drunkcyclist.com (Warning: ADULT content on site)

I may print this out and hand it out on the street:

Your neighbors are moving further from their jobs. They commute further, one neighbor per vehicle, in larger and larger vehicles: trucks or SUVs. They used to drive VWs or Civics. Now they buy vehicles as if each time they drive they're moving their homes, not merely their bodies.
Because the freeways are parking lots mornings and evenings, your neighbors instead choose scenic, secondary roads you've ridden on your bike for years. They drive as fast as they would on the freeway - if the freeway were empty. The freeway hasn't been empty since 1971.
They hate you for being there on their roads, slowing their commute or trip to the mall. They act as if all traffic hassle is some cyclist's fault, as if out on the freeways, where there are no cyclists, all is well, love is in the air.
You ride anyway.
Your neighbors' land-yachts sprawl across narrow lanes. They crowd you on your bicycle, scaring you. Your neighbors sip drive-thru lattes and chat on their cell-phones, not scared at all.
They pause in school zones, mom or dad dropping off Justin and Heather. You pedal down School Street, a corridor of fear vibrating with the rattle of huge diesel engines.
Mom and dad almost never see you, as if you did not exist. When they do see you, they look straight through you - as if you didn't exist. They wish you didn't. You're just a nuisance, pedaling uselessly through the school zone.
You navigate around sudden U-turns and unpredictable moves. Any crazy thing could happen. You are beyond fearful. You're a submarine captain listening for the depth charge that penetrates the hull, lets black freezing water roar in.
You ride anyway.
On your ride, young guys in baseball hats, one cheek bulging smokelessly, practice "sharing the road" with cyclists. They share the road 90/10. The cyclist gets 10%; The young guy's rusty Ford four-b'-four gets the rest.
If the young guy is lucky enough to have a girl sitting close to him in that old Ford, the split goes to 95/05. You can hear the Dixie Chicks as the truck skims by. You hate the Dixie Chicks.
You ride anyway.
When it rains, bits of glass from car crashes and nails spilled from truck-beds cut the wet rubber of your tires. Thorns you could have rolled over harmlessly in July now find their way into your tubes. The air gets out.
You have six times as many flats as summertime. You fix them in silence on the flooding roadside in the rain. Your hands take a beating from the work and the cold. My hands are always dirty, you think. And wrinkled.
You ride anyway.
When you get to work, you change out of your soaked cycling clothes and spread newspapers under your dripping bike. You hang pieces of dripping clothing off your saddle, top tube and bars. You stuff your shoes with newspaper as if you really believed they'd dry by quitting time. They never have.
People at work do not mention your commuting by bike. They know that if they even start to discuss it with you, they'll blurt out how crazy they think you are. You ride in the RAIN and the DARK, they'd say; Why do you do that?
You can see all that in their eyes, so you continue, quietly hanging your soggy tights from your bars. They stare at you, astonished. No one speaks.
You ride anyway.
In winter it takes you nearly as long to dress and undress for your ride as the ride takes. You feel like the Michel-in man. You own 22 pairs of gloves but you're still searching for the perfect pair. Not to mention booties.
You're obsessive about rainy-weather chain lubrication. You know you are. No one else on the planet cares about it at all, and you're obsessed. You fool yourself that you have your little problem under control. You don't. It hasn't impacted your work life or relationship, but it could...
You sense an i
re: "You ride anyway"netso
Jan 17, 2003 9:48 AM
I used to take it personally when I was told I was crazy when I was in my 20's. Many of those people either are dead or totally and physically unfit. Many of the rides I rode even 2yrs ago I cannot do because of traffic. I now say the hell with it I ride because I want to, not because of others.
Got cut off...Here's the rest...biknben
Jan 17, 2003 10:23 AM
You sense an intervention lies ahead. Tough love for the chain-lube freak.

You ride anyway.

You've spent four grand on high-tech bicycle lights. You're considering buying yet another system based on a glowing magazine test. You know that some people, on learning of your somewhat excessive lightbuying behavior, would conclude that you're a genuinely sick person. They would be correct.

You ride anyway.

You get a cold a year. It's not a terrible cold, no worse than three years as a prisoner of war in Viet Nam or manning an oar in a Roman slave galley. Your cold typically lasts eight or nine days, during which time you forget why you ever thought life was worth living.

You ride anyway.

You take your ex-girlfriend to the airport in her car. She's flying to Italy. She'll be gone a month. She promises to buy you a jersey in a cool bike shop in Florence. She leaves you her wine-colored Mazda Miata, the Special Edition with tan leather and tan top. CD player. It's gorgeous. Enjoy it, she says.

She fills the tank for you, to thank you for dropping her off at UAL Departures and picking her up next month. Sweet woman. Nice car. Rains all week.

You ride anyway.

You sit at a light next to a dark-eyed woman in a print dress in an old Ford station wagon. The light changes. She gasses it, turns right, cuts you off brutally. You yell something not quite coherent at her. She shakes her fist at you: It's YOUR fault!

You see her three days later, same light. She honks. You look into the old Ford wagon. She's made a little cyclist doll. It's wearing a tiny yellow Giro helmet like yours and, ohmigawd, a club jersey just like yours! She pushes a hat-pin through the doll and smiles at you. The light goes green.

You ride anyway.
and more...Rode Warrior
Jan 17, 2003 1:54 PM
Your only tights and gloves have a holes in them from being in a car/bike accident. Your jacket sleeves don't quite reach your gloves. Your shoes offer no insulation. It's below freezing, dark and you're already cold. Your brain is screaming for you to drive today.

You ride anyway.
a bunch of BScrosscut
Jan 17, 2003 11:03 PM
get over it. we live in a modern society, with all of the advantages and all of the ills. this is a silly nostalgic view of an ideal that probably never happened anyway.