Friday, October 16, 2015

Remaining Calm In The Time Of Bicycling

Today was the first day of fall. There's a different chill in the air and the fog was laying dense even when I came down from my hill.

I've become more timid as a bicyclist. I think the incidents of a couple of days ago shook me more than I initially thought. As a consequence I hesitate more - which I know is as dangerous as being too aggressive.

Observing other bicyclists can be helpful, something I do when I can. Seeing how they ride - both as examples of how I'd like to ride and how not to - helps me become a better bicyclist. I don't know if there's a right answer to how one should ride in order to be safe; because being as safe as I can possibly be is the ultimate goal.

Yes, I've been raging a bit on my blog lately, but the rage comes from a place of fear. I love biking and I will continue, but if I'm being completely honest with myself - I'm terrified. I don't want to quit, and I believe the deeply rooted fear I'm currently feeling will fade. So until then, I will bike in fear, hope for the best but expect the worst - which I know is a terrible way to go about my life for two hours on a daily basis.

Josh advised me to be calm. I'd love to be calm. However, calm and fear aren't good roommates. I will continue to post pictures of drivers who make terrible choices. I won't chase after them and you will never see me throwing the first punch. But believe me when I'm saying that it's extremely difficult to remain calm when your heart is racing and your body is pumping to the brim with adrenaline after an almost accident. It's difficult not to react in the heat of the moment when you realize that only luck prevented something really terrible from having happened.

I'm trying not to be an asshole myself, and I'm trying not to be the aggressive bicyclist from hell who gives the rest of us a bad rep. Which is why I always yield to pedestrians, I wait for cars to turn right in my bike lane (if I can), never blaze through intersections, nor pass other bicyclists if I can help it. I'll always say "hello" to a fellow cyclist, because no matter how "Fred" or "Doris" you are (me included) I salute you for biking. Not so much for the carbon footprint reasons, all though it does matter, but because it takes courage and willpower to choose ones bike instead of the car. Especially now when the weather is getting colder and wetter, and it's remaining dark longer in the mornings and earlier in the evenings.

Judging by my latest posts, you might find it hard to believe that I really am a calm and - generally - a nice person. So, namaste, my fellow two-wheelers. Peace and love and the occasional sign language.

How can anyone not be calm when seeing these two...

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