The Travails of the Bicycle Commute
Since a monumental birthday of mine has just passed, I've decided to start checking off my to-do list of adventuring. My adventure for the past month or so has largely involved other drivers. I've always had this romanticized view of bicycle couriers, their lifestyle, and the oftern dangerous situations that it involves. Several times in my life, I've entertained the thought of journeying to the West Coast somewhere and joining their ranks. In lieu of that, since I finally live in a great location close to downtown Nashville, I built my own single-speed bike (something I've always wanted to do), in courier fashion, and have taken up the sport of bicycle commuting, as much as possible.
Nashville is a dangerous place for motorcyclists, bicyclists, and runners alike. The drivers here are never really paying full attention, ever, and most have not developed the sixth sense to be aware of cyclists at all (since it's such a relatively new phenomenon in the Nashville urban mix). Yes, it's hipster of me and somewhat cliche to ride a bicycle, but if done for the purpose of fun and experience and not out of disdain for modern conveniences like cars, it can be excused :)
Bicycle safety rules, by Hans:
- Always be aware of your surroundings, and expect idocy from those you share the road with.
- Wear a helment.
- Have lights on your bike (it's the law).
- Ride swiftly when in traffic, do not mosey (this is important) !
- Never wear headphones.
In spite of the mounting dangers and adrenaline packed moments of near-death experience, cycling is awesome! It allows you to get to know the city that you're in from an entirely different perspective, not to mention helping you stay in shape. There is something satisfying about thoroughly beating a group of traffic from Hillsboro Village to Murphy Rd. during rush hour.
Another side of this delightful venture is the normally unwitnessed side of human behavior and misbehavior on the road. Yes, you need to concentrate on your riding, but since you're not in a full face helmet, like on a motorcycle, or enclosed in a car, you can observe humanity at it's finest. Most drivers consider you at least a moving road hazard, or at best another vehicle. None of them consider how well you can hear and observe them in their cars, and this provides great fun. Personal drama, swearing, awful singing, rage, tears, and awkward phone conversation topics are yours to observe. It can be quite similar to a rolling zoo.
So, in and out of traffic I weave, and hopefully make it home safe as always. If you see me on my red bike out there in traffic, say hello and don't hit me! But, if you do decide to misbehave, your plate number and possibly a photo might make it on my new Twitter feed of bad Nashville motorists ;)