Sunday, October 21, 2007

Pet peeves

My ride today was REALLY nice -- if not for a brisk wind, it would have been perfect. It was warm enough that I could ride with shorts and a short-sleeved jersey, and no problem with keeping my hands and feed warm; cool enough that I didn't get overheated. Clear blue sky, beautiful foliage....really delightful.

But I was reminded of two things that really irritate me when I'm out riding:.
  1. Riding on the wrong side of the street. You should ride with traffic, i.e. on the right side of the road (in the US. Presumably, you ride on the left in the UK and Japan). Do this for two reasons: First, if everyone rides on the same side of the street, it makes passing much easier. Second, it's MUCH safer in terms of automobile traffic. Bear with me as I do a little math. If you're driving your car at 40 miles an hour, and a cyclist is riding 15 miles an hour, and you're going the same direction, you're approaching them at 25 miles an hour. That gives you plenty of time to get around the cyclist, and the cyclist plenty of time to react. If you're approaching a cyclist on your side of the road going the *wrong* way, at the same speeds, you're approaching the cyclist at 55 miles an hour- more than twice as fast.
  2. Helmetless adults, especially with children. First, if you have kids and send them off on a bicycle, get a brain bucket for 'em. Please. If you wouldn't put your kid in a seat without a seatbelt, don't let them ride without a helmet. This is really obvious. But secondly, if you're riding with your kids, and they have helmets, and you don't, what are you telling your kids? Mom and Dad have titanium craniums[1]?? I don't care how proficient a cyclist you are, the only time you don't need to wear a helmet on the bike is if you're on a stationary trainer. Finally, once you've bought your helmet, make sure you're wearing it right. Hint 1: If it's perched jauntily on the back of your head like a hat, and your hair is sticking out in front, IT'S ON WRONG. Hint 2: Place a flat object (like a book) against your face. If it contacts your nose and the helmet, good, it's on right. If it contacts your forehead, you're doing it wrong.
DISCLAIMER: This guide is NOT a replacement for reading your bicycle's and your helmet manufacturer's instructions. Obey all traffic laws. Always ride within your limits.

[1] Would it be crania or craniums? I went with craniums for the alliteration.

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