In the United States, the daily commuter by car spends on average almost an hour per day sitting in traffic going to and from work. As I ride by these seemingly endless lines of traffic on my bicycle I wonder how these people stay sane cooped up in their vehicles. With this in mind, I was surprised to learn that only 0.56% of working adults in the U.S. commute via bicycle. The leading reason people avoid bicycle commuting is because of the dangers it can pose. However, with cities become increasingly aware of cyclist safety, the introduction of more bike lanes make for a much less hectic, and much more enjoyable ride.
I love my ride to Gotham HQ because it gives me some “peaceful” time to myself before or after my time at work. During my ride in the morning I like to get the creative juices flowing as well as take some time to relax before the day begins. After a hard day’s work, I take time to decompress my mind, give my brain a breather, and focus on the ride.
So for all you out there who think commuting to work on a bike just seems like more work; give it a shot, you’ll be pleasantly surprised!
What do you like most about your commute?
Ad Man and former Gotham Teammate Robbie Felder @RobbieFeld raises an important ethical dilemma that city cyclists face regularly: leave it or turn it off? What do you say?
We’ve all been there. You come out of the grocery store after spending way too much time deciding whether or not to buy that free sample of cheese you tasted, and your bike light is still on. It’s a busy bike rack, with people locking up and moving on as fast as they are gobbling up delicious curds of Wisconsin Cheddar, and no one bothered to lend a hand.
It’s a thankless deed, but those precious minutes of battery life could mean the difference between riding home with your path comfortably lit, or a dark and hazardous ride, while your recently purchased eggs get broken like hearts on American Idol as you hit pothole after pothole.
The other day I posed this question on Twitter: “If you see a locked up bike with its light on, do you turn it off? #bikekarma.” Of course, no one wants to come out of a store to see someone tampering with their bike, especially if you have an easily removable light. However, I am always happy when someone tells me that my fly is down, or that I have something stuck in my teeth. While these situations rarely involve someone lending a helping hand, I appreciate the fact that they go out of their way to prevent me from looking like an idiot.
Turning off a bike light usually requires a simple touch of a button. Unfortunately, steeling a bike light is basically just as easy. Of course with a Defender Bike Light, you won’t have to worry about people ripping you off. If you do find someone fondling your light, hopefully they’re just trying to help you get home safe, with a random act of kindness.
So what do you say? Be a good samaritan and turn off the light but risk looking like a creep? Or play it safe, leave it on and risk drained batteries?
My daily commute to Gotham HQ only lasts 15 minutes at worst, but it never fails to be life-threatening. While I used to be concerned about getting sideswiped or run over by a speeding car, I’ve come to realize that the more real danger for me lies on the other side of the bike lane – parked cars. One of my biggest (legitimate) fears is that someone will recklessly open their car door into the bike lane, or pull out of a parking spot without seeing me approaching. Here are some ways I’ve been training myself to avoid flying through the window of a compact car.
Checking for Brake Lights or Reverse Lights
Whether they are red or white, if you see any lights to your right side, use this as a sure sign that you are nearing a car that someone’s inside! And when people are inside cars, they will predictably do one of two things: 1) Open the door and get out of that car 2) Stay in that car and drive into your bike lane. Neither of these possible scenarios bodes well for you, so stay on the lookout for lights!
Checking for Faces in Sideview Mirrors
No, I am not suggesting that you check yourself out in every little mirror that you ride by (although if you’re rocking a Defender on your handlebars, I don’t blame you for wanting to). Looking for faces in sideview mirrors is another good way to determine if anyone is in one of the cars ahead of you. If you catch their eye give ‘em a smile and a nod to remind them you’re a human being.
Paying Attention to Car Orientation
While some people just park like crap, if you see a car that is slightly angled in a parking spot, it could also very well be that it is on the verge of pulling out into your lane. Stay alert for any subtle movement of the tires that would confirm your suspicions.
Setting Headlight to Flashing, Even During the Day
Since your headlight rests at almost exactly the same height as the side view mirror of a typical car, you can use this to your advantage by always riding with it turned on. However, it’s not enough to just have it on, because it’s easy for a motorist to mistake you for a distant car. By setting your headlight to flashing, you make certain that people know specifically that a bicyclist is approaching.