Reflecting upon habits that have helped me survive the act of bicycling many hundreds of miles through various cities, I have settled upon three basic rules, which are provided below (next to their corresponding acronyms):
raiyi (ride as if you’re invisible) Motor vehicle operators - especially ones who are in a hurry or looking at their mobile devices whilst driving - are not looking out for and don’t give a fuck about cyclists. Persons who move themselves across the phaltscape balanced atop a few tubes of metal, skin-to-sky, would do well to ride in the center of the lane, stay out of blind-spots, and always wear brightly flashing lights - day and night.
kma (keep moving, always) Bicyclists who stop within a lane to check a map or ask a passerby for directions are liable to get struck by a passing car. When you’re riding a bicycle, keep moving, always. If you come across a traffic jam, don’t sit there waiting for it to unfuck itself - mount the curb or seek out a side route, even if this adds distance to your journey. Bicycles were invented to let people move themselves around swiftly, not as a wheeled seat upon which to wait around for others to get their shit together.
saft (stay away from traffic) Prefer side routes, alleys, bicycle paths, empty lots, sidewalks &c. to roads frequented by cars. If motor vehicle operators in your city tend to cut in just behind you, missing your rear tire by inches as they slot into your lane, avoid them like the plague. Even slight contact can send a velocipedist sprawling onto the road - and under the wheels of the tailgating two-ton slave’s chariot.
This is not an exhaustive list; it covers the most fundamental rules for surviving whilst bicycling in an urban environment, only. Always wear a helmet, especially around moving cars. Unless you have no soul, yield to pedestrians. And slow down, for the love of love - death awaits us all.
[ americanifesto / 場黑麥 / jpr / urbanartopia / whorphan ]
Since finishing the stunning graphic novel ‘Logicomix’ by Doxiadis and Papadimitriou, et al., I have begun to delve into - so as to better understand - the types of logic I apply in my daily life. This has ranged from examining the logic of human encounters to the logic of bicycling. As the first installment of a series of articles laying out the various types of logical parameters within which I (am many others, I suppose) tend to operate, I shall provide the latter, below.
A) The bicycle is a mechanical contraption used to move one or more persons through the physical realm by means of (primarily) human muscle power.
B) The bicycle consists of these basic elements: saddle, wheels, frame, propulsion system (gears), pedals, handlebars, and brakes.
C) To use a bicycle, sit down on the seat, grab the handlebars with the hands, and start pedaling with the feet, shifting the hips side-to-side (maintaining balanced) so as to not fall over.
[Immediately upon starting to write this I began to realize the difficulties involved in trying to define the logic of even basic human endeavors.]
D) Whilst bicycling, take care not to run into things, go faster than is safe, or do something (texting, talking, taking pictures) other than paying attention to and trying to avoid obstacles that may lie ahead.
E) Persons operating motor vehicles tend to give exactly zero fucks about persons operating bicycles; in order to live a relatively long life free of major injury, avoid busy roads and high-traffic areas (also, please wear a helmet and some form of protective for the eyes).
F) Keeping one’s bicycle in proper working order is essential to having fun whilst bicycling as well as getting from point A to point B quickly and without unforeseen and frustrating repair-related delays.
G) Sitting up straight whilst bicycling, with a straight back and the head resting comfortably atop the spine, opens the chest for easy breathing and allows the head to pivot easily from left to right (hence the phrase ‘keep your head on a swivel’) so that the cyclist (this is what someone who rides a bicycle is called) can quickly gather scraps information about what is behind himself using peripheral vision (i.e. without turning his head completely around and taking his eyes off of the road ahead).
H) Wherever the eyes looks or the head turns, that is where the bicycle will go. Keep the eyes and head pointed forward in order to ride in as straight a line as possible.
I) If forced to ride upon a street also frequented by motor vehicles, stay close to the curb unless circumstances (parked cars, open manholes, or similar obstacles) force you away from the curb, in which case it is 100% acceptable to take up the entire lane and cause a brief traffic-jam.
J) Persons operating motor vehicles will scream obscenities, yell curses, shake their fists, and even try to physically injure or kill a cyclist whom they feel caused them even the slightest delay upon their route. As with most such situations, the best response to anger is joyful compassion, since at the root of all anger lies a deep, inner sadness.
The above are but a few of the most important logical parameters related to bicycle riding. Please stay tuned for more articles concerned with the logical parameters related to activities such as dating, polite conversation, child rearing, &c.
© JPR / whorphan / americanifesto / 場黑麥
The coldness has hampered, my bicycle's gears, in truth things are worse than I have seen in years. To counter this error, of worn-out old grease, of wires that freeze and dérailleurs that seize, I've sampled and tinkered and finally found, the configuration that gets me around. I call it the super-sprint, because it's fast, allowing me quickly to mount every pass, allowing me also to rush across town, both neighbors and strangers think that I'm a clown. To enter the super-sprint I with care place, the rear-most dérailleur three gears up from low, then adjust the forward gears to climb or race, and scamper and hurry through ice, wind, and snow. The back gears keep skipping, far less than before, at least now I'm not being thrown to the floor, or vexed by a jumping chain while oscar mike, while braving the season of snows on my bike, while riding through blizzard and lasting darkness, feet going like crazy with sweat on my chest. If you pass a bicyclist pedaling hard, then give her some breathing room – more than a yard – then wave to her briefly or give her a nod, for she is a champion chosen by god, to prove to us others that sacrifice counts, that each of us by any means should renounce, the slavery that automobiles demand, the titles and payments that slip from our hands.
© americanifesto / 場黑麥
Inspect closely the hose of any hardcore and regular velocipedist and you will find his ankle cuffed. Held firmly in place by clasp or tie or tiny bent teeth the leg-cuff serves one main purpose: to keep the pant-leg from fouling in and being soiled by crank or gear or spoke. In the course of their duty the parts of a bicycle that spin accumulate grit and grime and soot and dirt, which swim in a soup of chain-grease that upon contact instantly impregnates clothing with tenacious and tar-black patterns removable only by excision. Furthermore, when a loose pant-leg catches on the teeth of a gear-wheel it can bring the rider's legs to such a sudden stop that their momentum unbalances and unships him, an undesirable event that results in bruised egos, skinned elbows, and cracked skulls. During his life this author used to laugh upon seeing individuals wearing the bicycling cuff, until he himself ruined a few pairs of pants and nearly crashed more than once due to his clothing getting caught on protrusion, nub, or gear-wheel. Now, he cuffs both legs. (The cuff on his right leg he sewed together using a discarded Velcro clasp and the reflective tape from a bloody safety vest he found in the woods during hunting season; the cuff on his left leg is battery-operated and at night flashes a bright red light.) The only disadvantage to cuffing the pants while riding is that people will laugh and point and wonder what the balls one is up to, which is a small price to pay for improved safety and the knowledge that one will arrive in pants soiled only by the tears of the traffic-jammed drivers one passed along the way. Huzzah.
© americanifesto / 場黑麥
blog updated Fridays, usually
I bicycle, write, surf, and the rest.