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Things Not to Do in the Bike Lane: a helpful guide October 23, 2007

Posted by Alex Danger in Biking, Brooklyn.
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Dear fellow street-users,

I know, New York is a craaazy city and it can be hard to know whether you’re coming, going, or blocking everyone around you. With streets shared by cars, trucks, bikers, rollerbladers, pedestrians, motorcyclists, and the occasional guy on a segway, it can be hard to determine whether or not you’re being an asshole to your fellow street-users. To help, I have compiled a list entitled Things Not to Do in the Bike Lane, from the perspective of a biker. You can, of course, weigh in with other self-evident courtesy tips. Without further ado, Things Not to Do in the Bike Lane:

  1. Walk. This one seems the most obvious, yet evades many. It doesn’t matter which direction you’re walking in, the bike lane is still not the place for you to be. Also, if you are walking with your bike, you are actually walking, not biking. Please make use of the sidewalk.
  2. Load your truck or van. I don’t care how much crap you have or how unbearable it is to park down the block or across the street — the bike lane is not your personal loading zone.
  3. Scratch various parts of your anatomy while deciding whether or not to cross the street. Not only is this not the place for such potentially life-altering decisions, it is also too late – because you are already in the street.
  4. Park. As with #1, obvious, yet pervasive. It is also not the double parking lane, no matter what you’ve concluded from your observations.
  5. Cruise for a parking spot. This is (hopefully) a fairly rare activity. Driving very slowly in the bike lane does not make you a bike. It just makes you a jerk.
  6. Talk to someone in a parked car with your ass sticking out. Believe me, I would like little more than to hit you in your seemingly vast, lane-blocking posterior. When my concerns for your bodily safety override this urge, don’t be a douchebag and yell at me to “relax” when I’m screaming “look out” and rapidly approaching collision. Just get out of the way, and be happy you did.

the luxury of being alone July 10, 2007

Posted by Alex Danger in Biking, Brooklyn, Reflection.
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Biking is for lovers

Last night, while sitting on the roof of my building enjoying the breeze and mostly-unadulterated view of northwest Brooklyn, I realized why biking to work feels not only physically, but mentally healthier. It’s the only time of the day when I’m pretty much alone. Aside from the time I spend in the bathroom, I’m surrounded by people almost all day long.

I live with roommates, I sleep with my girlfriend, I work with – well, you get the picture. If I take the subway to work, I’m alone probably 1% of my day. If I bike, however, I have about an hour a day where it’s just me. I can go where I want (so long as I obey or at least stay wary of traffic laws). I can take my time, do my thing, go at my pace. I can reflect or theorize, which is kinda hard to do when you’re running for the train or looking for a seat.

I always feel really independent, too. No other practical form of transportation offers this independence. You’re always relying on externalities – the train conductor, the 8 million commuters, gasoline, money. When I’m biking it’s just me. My fuel, my legs, my breakfast – if I screw up, it’s my fault, but most of the time, I love that my body can move me 10 miles a day.

I haven’t biked much since I fell off on the fourth of july, and I’ve been feeling really cranky about it. I was going to go today, but I nixed the idea when I saw it was high 90s (and I am somewhat sick). But really, I can’t fucking wait to get back in the saddle.

Bike picture by Marc for b-minus designs.