“The courage of a soldier is heightened by his knowledge of his profession.”
-Vegetius, Roman writer
I’d agree with that, given that I bicycle to work two to three times a week. Knowing what you are facing, taking the precautions, learning from your mistakes, all this breeds courage (otherwise, I’d piss in my bike shorts – you guys drive so… very… badly).
Anyway, was counting the number of cyclists I spotted on my ride today. Lets see, three, eight, twelve, twenty… so, that totals to zero! For most of my ride, I didn’t see a single bike. Couple of hummers, a few red light clippers, one over-accelerating kiddy, the usual crap. But then I got to the Lake Destiny 7-11 (wait for the irony on this one). There, I saw my first two bikes.
One was a kid who must have stopped for candy. No helmet, not gloves, nothing. He came out of the lot and rode into traffic along a very tight shoulder on Lake Destiny Drive, something I’d not do. Parents, do you know where your kids are??? So there was one.
The second was this black guy on a rusty old bike who looked like he’d lost his license (I don’t think this was a peddle-for-joy sort of thing). He was wearing black clothing in uncertain dawnlight, casually crossing a parking lot without looking. And that’s two.
Not a serious biker in the bunch.
Okay, but the reason I’d give for my ride was the parking lot itself. It was packed, all these people going in and out, to go into that convenience store with its chipped flooring, garish lights, shrill ads (see HERE). Why would you want to face that the first thing in the morning? But the lot itself, packed full of cars. Motorists were jammed around the pumps, each putting in a couple of gallons before walking inside to stand in line to pay. Two clever fellows were pushing a car into the pump line (from where? Maitland Boulevard? Holy Crap!!) People were actually honking at each other in the parking lot. What a way to start your day.
And, of course, I will admit with earned confidence and snobbery, that I hushed past on my efficient machine, with all its health and environmental benefits.
My breakfast is in the saddlebags and it doesn’t need gas.
Bike to work day. Never in this country.