>be cool ride your bike

My ride.

I am working on being cool. I have started riding my bike to work again. I do it for several reasons:

  1. I save money on gas, plus my car desperately needs some repairs and I don’t want to spend any money on it right now. Yes, I’m cheap.
  2. Cross training – I have started running and I want to include some additional ‘training’ that is low impact. No, I’m not a professional athlete.
  3. There is nothing quite like bike riding – I know God is good because he gave us bicycles, as well as beer, cheese, mountains, the ocean, and a lot of other things, but you can’t ride a cheese to work – generally.
  4. Biking is better for the world than driving cars. My goal is to become an almost total biking person and cut car use to as much of a minimum as possible. I don’t have really strong emotions about this, but I’ve heard it’s what cool people are doing these days.

It takes me about 30 minutes to get to work, and that means 30 minutes to get home as well. So that’s an hour of cardio each day along with whatever additional workout I do. Currently I have two rideable bikes to choose from. One is an older but totally rad full-suspension mountain bike that needs a lot of TLC. It is rather worn out and could use an overhaul, which I don’t want to pay for. (Remember I’m cheap.) The other bike is a fixed gear track bike that I modified with straight bars and a front brake (track bikes come with no brakes). The fixed gear also gives me a better workout for two reasons:

  1. It cannot coast. In other words, a fixed gear bike is just that, the gearing is fixed, so if the bike moves forward the pedals go round. There is no break in the action unless I come to a complete stop. This “feature” makes riding the bike somewhat tricky, but one gets used to it.
  2. There is only one gear. This means that much of the time the gear is not exactly the right gear for the situation. It’s either too high for going up hills or to low for going down, and the rest of the time it’s just a little off. So one has to work harder because one cannot shift to a more comfortable gear.

I prefer the fixed gear over the mountain bike because it gives me a better workout, is faster, and is simpler (no shifting). Plus, a fixed gear is cooler – and, as you know, I’m all about being cool.

The drive train. As simple as it gets.

One sprocket in the back. No coasting.

But… there are cars and the people who “drive” them that I still have to deal with. The other day a woman (probably hasn’t ridden a bike since she was a little girl) in her white Lexus SUV (probably never actually been on a dirt road) was waiting to pull out into traffic. She was on her cell phone. She looked right at me and still pulled out. I had to hit my brakes to avoid hitting her. No wonder they say talking on a cell phone while driving is equivalent to being over the legal alcohol limit. But I also think she, like so many people who never ride bikes, have no idea how fast a bike goes, or truly how dangerous it is for a cyclist to tangle with a car. I also think many drivers don’t view (or at least act as though they don’t view) cyclists as legitimate users of the road. Once, years ago, I was pushed off a road into a ditch by a fifth wheel trailer when the truck driver decided to pull far to the right in order to make a sharp left hand turn. I have to say it was surprising to feel the side of the trailer bump up against my left shoulder and just push me off the road. The driver had seen me because he had just passed me. I think everyone should be required to ride a bike for severals days through their city before they are given their driver’s license.

Although I will probably never participate in a naked bike ride, I totally sympathize with the message. I will not yet give up my car. But I want to ride more, drive less, and encourage other to do the same. As you know, it’s cooler to ride a bike – even when you’re not naked. Be cool.

This guy is super cool:

I wish I could be that cool.

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