Monday, May 9, 2011

From point A to point B

I want to ride my bicycle, I want to ride it where I like - Queen, "Bicycle Race"

Perhaps the most challenging part of the June experiment is my desire to avoid using my car. It's certainly the part of the challenge that has received the most attention from people, as most of us consider our cars as indispensable as our lungs. The fact that I'm going to be doing this in June, when it will be roughly as hot as hell outside, in an area that is not completely bicycle-friendly means that this will be an interesting challenge indeed.

I wanted to take the time to introduce you to my bicycle. Unless things change tremendously in the next few weeks, this little guy will be my primary transportation throughout June. (While I will take my local public transportation at times, the bus schedule is not entirely friendly to unusual schedules - and my working schedule will be fairly unusual during that month.) It's by no means the ideal bike for the job, but it will have to do.

It's a Huffy Cranbrook, which, as far as I can tell, is no longer in production. It has exactly one speed, has cruiser brakes and I've outfitted it with a bell (yes, a bell), a headlight and a flashing taillight for safety reasons. On it, I can make my way to work from my house in just under one hour, though the process is less than pleasant.

You see, while there are bicycle lanes along most of the major roads here, people here are openly hostile to bicyclists. Between shouted insults and thrown objects, it's obvious that riding on the road - at least on a less-than-optimal bicycle - is not the greatest idea. Luckily for me, there's an almost continuous sidewalk between my house and work. Unluckily for me, riding a bicycle on those sidewalks is, technically speaking, illegal. So what's a man to do? Do I ride in the street and stay in compliance with the law or do I ride on the sidewalk and break the law?

Man, what a stupid rhetorical question. I will do in June as I did a few weeks back when my car broke down: I'll ride on the sidewalk. Yes, I'll be consciously breaking the law in this respect but I don't care. My safety is the most important part of this experiment, and this is clearly the most unsafe part of what I'll be doing. Eating reduced portions? Hell, that's downright healthy. Riding in traffic with drunks and crazy people? No thanks.

Perhaps when this experiment is over I'll use my experiences to try and change the public perception of bicyclists around here, or to get the sidewalk law changed to be more permissive for bicyclists. For now, though, I'm just focused on preparing for the experiment and getting through the month of June.


VenomForMasses said...

Sideways ofc... Don't get killed man, GL! lol

Alaina said...

Yeah, bike riding in Florida in June will be a real ordeal. Stay hydrated!

kxxthanxx said...

cool bike

bruno said...

People are hostile to bicyclists everywhere. Unfortunately, cars rule the world.

randomer said...

Good luck! It's always a fight out there, just keep at it and it gets better.

christopherson said...

unfortunately, you're the minority. but, i think you have the right idea.

Al3xaG said...

That sounds like my city, just watch out for the big Ave. What people usually do is just to take the least transited ways.