Asking Cancellara for directions

Cycling helmets, jerseys, armwarmers...they're cyclists right?

Nope. God damned rollerbladers. Is this how the rest of the world sees cycling? If so, it's no wonder that the Federal Government is investigating Lance Armstrong and every other American cyclist from the last decade.

Two thoughts about commuting:

My bike's about to throw down
Like all of you, I've been called "Lance Armstrong" in a mocking tone far too many times by drivers and pedestrians alike. I've also been called many other things, but I would find it boring to share them with you. The ones that I do like to share are the slightly unusual comments I get from time to time. Riding to work last year, a car cut me off. I caught up with the guy a few blocks later as he parked on the side of the street. I was about to give him a bit of hell for cutting me off, when he yelled out "Man, you're gonna' catch a cold!" It was 30-something degrees (-1 Celsius or so) that day, and sunny. The man had voiced his concern about my health in the tone that a concerned parent would use. The guy looked like he was seriously worried about me. I didn't know what to make of it.

Similarly, I didn't know what to make of the angry SUV driver who got out of his large vehicle and challenged me to a fight one time by saying "F_ck you, you bike! Get the f_ck over here and fight me, you f_cking bike!" I distinctly heard him say "bike" and not "biker". As I rode away, I got the distinct feeling that it was my bike, not me, that he was angry at. Who knew that a tiny 52cm frame could get someone that worked up? I bet my bike could have totally kicked his sorry ass though.

Lastly, one of the comments I remember most happened during one of my rare outings with other people who ride bikes. That morning, a man waiting for the bus said something like "Are the buses running on time, or are the streets downtown closed off because of this bike race?" as we rode by. There was maybe 8 or 9 of us riding...but I guess to him, this looked like the Tour de France. Since in his eyes we were riding the Tour, I guess he thought that we (as the competitors) would be able to answer his questions about current street closures and traffic patterns. I wonder if professional riders get asked similar questions as they race. Come to think of it, getting out of the Roubaix velodrome was extremely tough this spring...I should have asked Cancellara for directions.

Spread the joy, however little of it there may be to go around
We are all fond of sharing horror stories about riding our bikes. The car that almost hit you, the idiot who yelled out, and got out of the car to fight you. These things make riding less fun, but we seem to relish telling others (whether they ride or not) about them. I get it. But what about sharing stories about the people who are kind to you while you ride? I know you may not have many stories like this, but maybe we should all dwell on those upbeat moments as much as we do on the bad ones. The old man who waits for the bus on my route to work, and lifts up his fist as he cheers me on. The lady who rolled down her window and kindly said she admired me for riding to work. These moments may not be as plentiful, but when they happen to you, remember them and share them with others.

Remember the caption contest, which can earn you an autographed copy of the Bike Snob book. See this post for details.