|Photo by Menage a Moi|
I suppose this goes along with the idea of cycling being the "new golf" as we've heard so much in the past few years. Cycling is just about the ultimate techie sport - from the bikes themselves, to the clothes and riding gear to the ride recording gear such as computers and GPS receivers, there is absolutely no dearth of "stuff" to buy if you're a recreational cyclist. And like most industries, there's more stuff coming out every day.
And the folks who buy bikes like that are also more likely to buy multiple cars - because they can, and because there's something of a materialistic bent to many fitness riders that I know.
But that's neither here nor there - what it says to me is that the issue we need to be fighting isn't so much a bikes vs. cars battle, but rather a battle for patience. I'm willing to bet that many of those recreational cyclists who fight for cyclists' rights when they're riding turn around and road rage just as badly as any motorist when they get behind the wheel - including raging at cyclists who get in their way.
In fact, I've seen it. Blogs such as this one and online newspaper stories about cyclists' issues and bike-car collisions inevitably get comments from the guy who says "I ride my bike, but I drive, too, and those cyclists need to stay to the right all the time..." and so forth.
The real issue is patience and tolerance. Americans have such a heat-on for speed that they get downright irate if anything holds them up - and especially if it's another form of transportation than the one I'm operating. I'll be honest, I get annoyed when I'm behind a car at a red light turning green and the car doesn't take off - whether I'm driving or riding. And yelling at them doesn't really help too much.
When I'm out there riding, now, I try to take the advice of Paul Kyriazi, a personal improvement guru that I've been following for a couple years now. He suggests that when we're on the road, we should look at all the other vehicles out there as if they were part of a computer game, and forget entirely that there are other people behind those wheels. If it's just a game, there's no point in getting angry or upset, you just deal with the obstacles that the game is throwing at you and try to get to the end as quickly as possible while following the rules of the game.
So do you agree with these notions? Do you have tactics for keeping cool on the road? What say you?
People, not speed.