Wednesday, October 28, 2015

A Lonesome Cowboy

I like riding alone. The more I ride my bike, the more I realize I prefer riding alone. I don't consider it a safety issue to be riding alone - as a female, and frankly haven't even given it a thought until hubby was asked if he felt comfortable with me riding alone. I mean, why wouldn't I be safe? And what does being a woman have to do with safety when riding my bike?

I probably would be a little safer should I encounter a bear or an otter if I had a riding partner, but only if said partner is a slower rider than me and looks like bear snack.

The question my husband was asked did spur some googling and pondering on my part. After all, I wouldn't be me if I didn't look into it. I couldn't find a single hit on attacks on lonesome female bicyclists, though. There were plenty of hits on bicyclists being assaulted by drivers, but nothing that would indicate that I'm particularly endangered as a lone female cyclist. Lonesome female joggers seem more at risk. Speed might be a factor here.

Of course there are moments I feel more vulnerable when I'm biking alone, but they are few and far in between. The bats hanging under that bridge freaked me out, but that was more because they startled me and not because I was in any real danger. The coyote scared me a bit as well. But never once have I felt scared or threatened by fellow humans.

I find darkness, noises, and bats far more scary than anything else. Yes, I'm scared of the dark. It's an irrational fear but a fear nonetheless. I think my fear of darkness stems from watching horror movies I shouldn't have. But for someone who gets nightmares from merely reading the back of a movie cover (yes, back in the days we had plastic covers for DVDs), I've seen far too many of the genre: Hellraiser, Nightmare on Elm Street, IT, Misery, Poltergeist, and many, many more. In my defense, the sequel of NOES I watched was called "The Final Nightmare" - turns out that was a lie. A big, fat lie. Spoiler alert: NOT the final nightmare.

Clowns from hell aside, after pondering this issue of safety - should I be more concerned about safety when I ride alone? I notice that question alone is enough to make my heckles rise. I get annoyed. I'm no a feminist per se. Don't get me wrong, I'm all about women's rights and that's all I'm going to say about that. I just don't get up on barricades or go on marches and wave flags or banners and such. Perhaps that makes me a lazy feminist. Anywho, I don't want to consider safety because I am a woman riding alone.

However, I do realize that there are definite disadvantages to riding alone as a person (non-gender specific), but I believe most of the perils can be avoided if one is properly prepared. I suppose common sense is the most valuable tool, in addition to carrying physical tools for fixing flats or other bike parts, spare inner tubes, and a cell phone. Common sense will hopefully prevent me from taking unnecessary risks such as riding in bear infested areas or go dancing with wolves. And I don't have to go riding in areas where I know it just isn't safe at certain times. Not that there are many of those, if any, here in the Pacific Northwest. I think the people that scare me the most up here are hipsters, granola addicted Birkenstocks, and the Lexus Mafia but these people don't generally bike.

When I eventually go riding across America, I might bring a gun - but that's more for animal use than people.

To conclude, I will continue to ride alone because I'm a lonesome cowboy at heart.

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