This month marks the third anniversary of me becoming a cyclist commuter. And after three years and approximately 5000 miles, I've noticed some things about cycling.
Most drivers (around here, at least) are very polite and careful when it comes to cyclists. I've passed by, or been passed by, tens of thousands of cars in the last three years, and 99.9% of those encounters have been perfectly satisfactory or better, for which I am very grateful.
Sadly, it's far easier to remember the 0.01% that are assholes. The people who honk, who yell, who make barking noises, who tailgate, who pass too close, who cut me off.
Scarier yet are the SMIDSYs. "Sorry Mate, I Didn't See You." I had a trouser-soiling encounter with one of them a few months ago. I was biking down hill at a pretty decent clip, 25 mph or so, when an SUV in the opposite direction started to turn left in front of me. I had no way of stopping in time. If the driver hadn't noticed belatedly I was there, I might have been seriously injured.
But I wonder about the assholes. Why do they hate cyclists? Is it because they don't think bicycles belong on the road? (The laws of the land have something to say about that). Do they think that cyclists cause traffic congestion? (If anything it's, you know, CARS that take up most of the room on the road). Are they secretly jealous of my sexy legs? (Obviously, yes.)
But one thing I've gathered from multiple bile-filled internet rants is that what these people hate the most... are bike shorts. They hate people wearing stretchy Lycra bike shorts. And accuse people of wearing them of being Lance-Armstrong-wannabe poseurs.
Well, here's the deal: the reason why so many cyclists wear bike shorts is because they are the best garment for the job. No loose fabric to get caught on anything, no fabric below the knees to get caught in the chain or sprockets. It wicks moisture away, and it comes with comfortable padding to make the tiny little bicycle seat comfortable.
I'm sorry for the bicyclists who blatantly disregard the law. Keep in mind, however, when a cyclist does something foolishly unsafe (which I do not condone), it's unlikely that he will endanger anyone else. When a motor vehicle does something foolishly unsafe, it's far more likely that other people will die.
So ride/drive safely!