Things I've learned while commuting.
I’ll be updating this thread with various lessons I learn while commuting in Pittsburgh as well as general observations. It’s only been two months since I started commuting, and already I know much more now than when I started.
Feel free to add your own or tell me when I’m wrong. Comments from the peanut gallery are welcomed.
In no particular order here’s what I’ve learned so far.
– Just because you see the driver, and you think they can see you, doesn’t mean they actually see you.
– Just because they have a blinker on, doesn’t mean they are actually turning.
– When threatened by imminent death or serious injury, adrenaline can cause you perform feats of strength you didn’t think possible.
– Drivers respect you and give you space when you ride with confidence and deliberate intentions.
– Fixed-gear riding is both difficult and addicting.
– Practicing track stands should be done in private, not in front of a crowded bus stop.
-just because they don’t have a blinker on, doesn’t mean they won’t turn
-riding a bike makes you a better driver
The #1 vehicle that is most likely to hit me remains to be a Toyota Prius.
Bus drivers really don’t look.
Smaller bus drivers look less.
UPS/Fed Ex drivers look often.
People in smaller cars are clueless and are most likely to cross 3 lanes of traffic to try and hit me.
– I am very grateful to have never known a time when all buses did not have bike racks.
The brighter your lights, the better. Always bring spares or extra batteries (rechargeables cut down on waste)
Have a spare set of rechargeables that are charged, in case you get lost and your primary set goes out
+1 Bus drivers really don’t look.
Pat bus drivers running red lights is an epidemic!
-Biking outbound on the jail trail during evening rush hour, past all the red tail lights on Parkway East, is a real mood lifter!
-Commuting by bike has decreased my overall stress level.
-I can think of at least a couple people who have been inspired to ride their bikes more because they’ve seen me do it (I am outside of the average demographic of bike commuters).
Sometimes the hardest part is deciding to get out the door, but if you have made the committment ahead of time, there is no internal debate if you will be riding.
On days that riding is an impossibility, I feel better if I tell people “I had to drive today.”
-You will inevitably make friends with the bike commuters who share a similar departure time and route.
The only commutes I’ve regretted were the days I chose to drive when biking was an option.
Every cyclist is an ambassador; cyclists beget more cyclists.
-Fenders are awesome.
-Car size and driver ability is typically an inverse proportion.
-Stop at stop signs, because a lot of other people don’t. Same goes for red lights.
-Baby wipes work great on adults too.
-You will acquire a statuesque posterior.
I’ve learned that I more actively assess the actions of other cyslists, both the good and the bad.
Case in point…..
Today, I am walking along William Penn Way, past the “new” “BNYMellon only” bike parking portico, and I realize that there had been more bikes than usual parked at the City-County Building portico (9 or so, compared to the usual 4 or 5). I figured the privatization of the 525 building might be part of the reason.
Just past the now private portico, I see a bike parked to a streetlight. By a blue cable lock (the twisty kind), By the HANDLEBARS. WTF? The lock ran around the lightpost, and around the handlebar stem. I figured maybe it was a bike courier (but then the locking seemed excessive, not ridiculous.) The I looked more closely at the bike…… and I almost fell over.
Stu, did you ride a red Gitane 10 speed with yellow bar tape into town today? It even has a ‘burgh verified sticker on it.
Was that really YOU?
I’ve made my point. I consider biking in a whole new way…..ot just my own actions or responses, but those of others as well. There’s always lessons to be learned.
Swalfoord, the new key card lock on the bike parking at 525 William Penn Way is a case of “We can’t have nice things!” I was told they had some bikes stolen and they also caught a junky shooting up in that area.
Nope, wasn’t me. Never got south of Perrymont Road. Haven’t had a change to the fleet all year.
While I have the [virtual] mike, though, I’ll chip in with that, over the past five years, I have become much more aware of bicyclists when I drive. Every time I make a comment or suggestion on how to do something differently or better, I also take it to heart and start living that thought myself. I can only hope that many others are following my lead.
– Driver:”Why don’t you ride on the sidewalk?” Me:”Why don’t you ride the bus?”
I haven’t actually been heckled, but that will be my go-to comeback for when it happens.
-When you reach a red light, the light is GUARANTEED to turn green as soon as you put your foot down.
-Filtering is dangerous and doesn’t really make my commute any faster.
Even if you have a mirror, look over your shoulder every once in a while if only to let drivers know that you DO see them.
wearing headphones and running/walking forfeits one’s right to make you say “on your left”
it actually took me a long time to learn this one, but…
-raingear is your friend, embrace it
This thread got me thinking how cool it would be if all of these one liners were inside fortune cookies.
if i ran a company that made patch kits, i’d make the patch kits look like fortune cookies and have these inside.
Did i just give away a million dollar idea?
Not yet……we can be bribed to keep a secret until you can run with it….
You have to make people believe they need patch kits whether or not they actually do.
Or that they really need their “fortune….” which comes at the cost of a patch kit.
Haha, I like the fortune cookie idea. The thread is also making me think about the peanuts “happiness is…” books and also “DeepThoughts by Jack Handey.” lol
– It doesn’t matter how sexy you think you look on your bike. A damp rear is not attractive.
– Fenders: worth the weight!
-Who cares if you pass a $10,000 bike on your $50 bike. Just like who cares if you pass a Lamborghini in a Smart car.
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