I recently read over the rules of [road] cycling as put forth by Velominati. Some of these rules make sense and some are just intended to enhance the mystique of cycling while wearing strange clothes.
Lately, my own saddle time has been going to and from work. I wondered about Rules for the Commute and after finding some online decided to list my own ideas with a few thoughts.
Rules for the Commute
1. Your safety is your own responsibility. This first rule (more declarative than imperative) is broad and inclusive in nature. Be visible. Be predictable. Be alert.
I wear a helmet and along with headlights and tail lights, a neon yellow wind breaker. I see guys, during day and night, out riding in black or other dark clothing. No doubt they are just dressing according to their own culture which might have some sort of death wish associated with it. Not me. I want to be seen. I also decline to wear ear buds or talk on the phone while pedaling along.
I have read some bloggers that advocate cyclists ignoring all traffic laws. The reasoning is that these laws are written for motor powered vehicles, which bikes are not. I don’t agree. Although I have run my share of stop signs and red lights, I refrain from doing so in the presence of traffic. I see no reason why I should needlessly antagonize other drivers. I am learning to take the lane more and more. If someone passes me, then I hope they do so safely. The issue of bike lanes and their misuse is more than I am ready to get into. Sometimes I use them, sometimes not.
I usually take the same route each day. I am learning where the potholes, bumps and bad sections of the road are so I can avoid them even in the dark. Using the same route daily puts me in the vision of the same drivers day after day. I realize this might be a double-edged sword.
2. Acknowledge other cyclists. As Velominati says, we are all brothers and sisters out there. A simple nod to a fellow cyclist is sufficient. In addition, I try to tell any young rider that they have nice wheels.
3. You are just trying to get somewhere. There is no need to suffer. I am not training while commuting. But I am not moseying along either. The only reason to sweat is because it is hot out there.
4. Let any loved ones know you made it without incident. Many ways to do this, phone, email, text.
5. Be ready for any change in the weather. Rain gear is a good possible addition to your cycling attire.
So there is my offering of Rules for the Commute. I welcome any comments, even from non-cyclists! 🙂