Yes, Dear Readers, I had this thought – maybe I should give up biking.

I am normally a pretty patient person but I was really OVER the whole bike commuting thing last week. One (or three) too many drivers cutting in front of me to get to the parallel parking on the right side of the bike lane; one (or two) too many buses speeding past me to zoom into bus stops at the right of the bike lane; and one too many pedestrians running across the road *not* in the crosswalks, then saying “watch for crazy cyclists!” Seriously?!? The selfish, unthinking, clueless, uncaring attitude is what is driving me nuts – is it really THAT HARD to look out for others?!?!?!

The next day, I saw a Tweet from Nelle Pierson, deputy director for WABA (Washington Area Bicyclists Association), saying that she knows 60 people who have been hit by drivers in cars. Sixty! I’m trying to imagine ALL of my friends having been hit by drivers, not just the few who actually have been, including The Mechanic. That same day, Rootchopper blogged and tweeted about the fact that he’s actually Number 66, since he had just been hit by a driver not paying attention. And here is my colleague’s experience after she was half-doored by a driver: Why You Should Care About Other Modes Now.

All of this was clearly the straw that broke my back – I’m so sick of having to prove to the world that biking is a perfectly reasonable, healthy, safe, green transportation option, not crazy, stupid, dangerous, or MAMIL-dominated. They do it in other countries, in quite high numbers, and without helmets! Why is it so impossible to do it here?!*

It would be just as easy to not bike, and probably easier. My alternative commute is a super easy bus route. In the morning, my bus stop is a block from our apartment, and the bus drops me a few blocks from my office. In the evening, the bus stop is in front of my office, and drops me in front of my apartment building. The bus ride takes about the same amount of time as it takes me to bike, with the added bonus of the super nice bus driver who calls me “Supermodel.” It’s nice to start the day with his friendly face and cheerful words.

Not only does the bus offer a super easy route, riding the bus means I don’t have to deal with a helmet, lock, lights, panniers, gloves, pants strap and whatever else I might need. It means that on rainy days, I get to the office comfortable, instead of mostly dry. It means I can read the news or Twitter or catch up on Instagram friends’ sewing projects. It also means I walk right past three different breakfast place options, rather than detour as I normally do, if I want to buy breakfast that day. It means not having to jockey for a spot on the bike rack, either. So there are many reasons why riding the bus to work would be SO MUCH EASIER than biking to work.

Rainy day bus stop selfie

But would I really give up biking?

I don’t know.

At least it did me some good to do some bike errands this weekend – The Mechanic and I biked to Westover where we purchased art from local artists at the Handmade Arlington craft show, then purchased potting soil and some planter boxes, so we can grow lettuce for Gaston. It was a leisurely day with minimal traffic interaction, and made me feel a bit better.

Easily transportation bags of potting soil on a Workcycles bike

Maybe I just need a break from it.

 

*I know all the reasons, but I’m tired of the excuses. Please don’t try to excuse away the behaviors, put the blame elsewhere, or whatever. I’m perfectly entitled to feel how I do.

 

 

13 thoughts on “Maybe I’ll Give Up Biking

  1. You need a break.

    I had mine for 5 months back in 2015, when another cyclist crashed into me as I was turning a corner on bike path in Vancouver. I had a concussion and was on disability leave from work. Thank god for my work benefit.

    • I have a bell but I have also observed that people in cars don’t really hear it, or anything, apparently. I know people prefer that method but I think it just scares pedestrians!

  2. I get it. I’m now cycling with my kids in tow and getting even more concerned about the arseholes. Could you get the bus 1 day a week so you get the benefits you talk about and then cycle the other days? Then take stock and see which you enjoy more or whether the mix of journeys suits you?

    • Cycling with kids would probably make me either more anxious or more angry. Or both. Conveniently, my work life means that at least once a week for the last several weeks, I have ended up on the bus for some reason or another. That’s how I know that the bus is equally convenient! But I don’t imagine I’ll give up biking permanently – I just need a break. Are your kids old enough to enjoy biking with you?

  3. Those same issues give me pause some days too. I am also regularly biking on busy streets with no bicycle infrastructure and I think to myself, could I deal with the loss and judgement if anything were to happen to them. It can be stressful and worrisome. While at the same time some of my happiest moments have been on a bike and for me those moments are far more powerful. Wishing you a better week.

    • I know that when I’m out biking with The Mechanic, I get super paranoid about drivers because I don’t want to see anything happen to him, so I can’t imagine what that must feel like when you are thinking about your children. Do they enjoy biking? I would probably keep doing it just to set an example! And I won’t give up biking, but sometimes, I just need a break. And I got to ride the bus one day, and drive a Zipcar the other, so I definitely mixed it up!

    • Yeah. I hear you. Living in car-dominant societies sucks.

      Take a break? Mix it up?

      I didn’t cycle for more than a year after the birth of my babe and I missed it so much. She’s an extra consideration when cycling now (and sometimes she flatly refuses to get into the bike seat so nope, not travelling by bike today!) The number of people who question whether it is safe aggravates me. It is safe. Safer than the car, actually. And it’s not me being on the bike with her that is unsafe; it is drivers who think they own the road and that bicycles don’t exist. Melbourne has had some terrible collisions recently with 3 cyclist deaths in as many weeks. I don’t think that not cycling is the answer, but it is also an individual decision about what gauntlet to run today…

      • I was in Melbourne 18 months ago. Loved it. Was impressed with the transit and with the bike commuting population. (I didn’t ride while I was there.) So sad to hear about the deaths. I am hoping that my crash was a lightning strike. A one off not to be repeated. Neil Finn’s words hang in my head “I could go at anytime. There’s nothing safe about this life.”

      • I’m sorry to hear about recent deaths in Melbourne. I honestly don’t think I will stop biking but was sort of relieved to ride the bus today. And I completely agree with you – drivers make it unsafe, not biking. I’m tired of how bad and dangerous driving has become acceptable. I love that you are biking with your baby- so good for everyone!

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