Thursday, September 30, 2010

Ask Doctor Wally

(From this month's Wheel Issues)

Doctor Crankset

I am writing to you, sir, on the occasion of my 75th birthday. I've ridden bicycles all my life and in all that time I've never encountered a bigger buffoon or more despicable charlatan than you. Your so-called advice to cyclists is less than worthless and will no doubt make you liable under the law. Your actions will bring about a greater level of animosity between cyclists and motorists. Anyone with a modicum of sense knows that cyclists are to give way to motor traffic at all times. In my days on the police force, I would have given you a good thrashing. But times have changed, unfortunately. I look forward to the day the authorities lock you up for the good of our community. You, sir, are a fraud.

G. Brinton Matherwhyte III


Gosh, Brinton, you left out the words 'bounder' and 'cad.' Surely it's a mere oversight. As hate mail goes, this is fairly tepid. There's usually tons more profanity, a death threat or two, and I'm often described in more earthy terms.

But if I understand the point of your message, it's that by riding my bicycle as if it were any other vehicle, I'll somehow bring down the wrath of the motoring gods upon my head.

Hmmmm. Brinton, I've been riding like this for over thirty years. I can count on one hand the altercations I've had with motorists - and that's about the same as anyone driving a car lawfully and responsibly. I ride assertively, which is not the same as riding aggressively. I stop for traffic lights and ride in a straight line in the right hand tire track. That's not rocket science, Brinton, it's what works to make riding far less stressful.

You don't believe me, obviously, so here's an experiment you can perform. Find an arterial street with two lanes in each direction. Ride your bike in the right hand lane, solidly in the right hand tire track. That should put about a third of the lane to your right and two thirds to the left. Maintain a straight line without wobbling. Do it for a couple of blocks, maybe half a mile. You'll discover that motorists change lanes to pass you, just as they would any other slow moving vehicle.

Try it, Brinton old lad, and you just may like it!

Dr. Wally



Blogger Steve A said...

Dear Dr Wally,
Aren't you no longer welcome at Cycledog's palace? Something about really irritating SWMBO?

Also, you may want to note that your advice presumes no bottomless pits along the chosen path.

9:42 PM  

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