One of my favorite hobbies is biking. It’s fun, I’m good at it, and it is a rather effective mode of transportation. Well this year I’m living in the farthest corner of campus, so I dragged my old bike all the way from Vermont to Georgia. Probably one of the best decisions I’ve made in a very long time.
Biking to class is an astronomical step up from walking. It’s faster, it’s cooler, you get a nice breeze rolling through your hair, and weaving through traffic is infinitely more satisfying. Speaking of which I have gotten ridiculously good at threading the needle. Like if there were ever a “thread the needle” world championship, I would get disqualified for kicking too much ass. The problem is the people I’m threading don’t seem to appreciate it quite as much (am I using that term correctly?).
You see the biker-pedestrian relationship is a troubled one founded on mutual distrust. As a biker when I look at pedestrians they are erratic, and unpredictable. If I’m trying to pass you I don’t know if you’re going to suddenly turn left and get all jammed up in my gear-shift. It don’t mean to be hyperbolic either, people seem to be incapable of walking in straight lines. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten ready to pass someone on the left only to have them suddenly decide, NO I SHALL WALK ON THE LEFT SIDE! As a biker you try and counteract this by announcing your presence, and keeping as much space as possible, but even then, some people are just really stupid.
The pedestrian side is just as terrifying. Not all bikers are created equal, and they are even more erratic. pedestrians are slow, which allows you some reaction time, but bikes are fast, and- OH GOD HE’S COMING RIGHT AT ME! And in the battle of bike vs pedestrian bike always wins, always. I don’t care if you’re an 8 ft 400lb linebacker if you get hit by a bike traveling at full-speed you are going to have some serious lack-of-vertebrae issues.
In Vermont it was never much of an issue (that’s why I haven’t written about it until now), but on a college campus the foot traffic is unreal, which only compounds things, because now you have groups of people. If you thought walking behind slow people was annoying, try biking behind them. And of course they don’t stick to one side, no they like to spread out so they can take up the entire sidewalk. So I have to idle behind their sorry asses for an hour while nearly screaming “EXCUSE ME!” Then by the time they finally realize that, oh, maybe forming a human wall in the middle of the street isn’t a good idea, another group is coming on the other side, so I have to wait for them to pass, and then hope that the first group of dumbasses haven’t forgotten about me. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve been run off the road, but hey, at least I haven’t hit anyone yet.
If you can’t already tell I’m pretty impatient. Besides making me a terrible jedi, it also means I’m a pretty reckless biker. I’m not a big fan of waiting around for people to move. Plus I like going fast,what can I say, I got the need, the need for
tweed I mean speed! I’ve given more than a few people an unwarranted scare with my high speed needle-threading antics. But I really do need to slow it down and be a little more cautious and courteous, otherwise it’s only a matter of time until I actually do hit someone.
The whole thing make me wonder why I bother biking at all, that is until I go flying down a hill at 40 miles/hour belting out the lyrics to “You’re the Best Around”