A Cyclist's Resolutions for 2012

Here are my top 10 bicycling resolutions for 2012.  Feel free to add yours in the comments section below...

10.  I will donate more money to bicycling advocacy groups.  These not-for-profit organizations continually fight for my right to be on the road, the least I can do is provide some cash to help them succeed.  Plus, I can always use another cool bicycling t-shirt…

9.  I will refuse to be held accountable for the actions of any cyclist that isn’t me.  This includes pro cyclists accused of doping, city cyclists who treat traffic laws as suggestions, and that annoying guy at your office who claims he rides a 13-pound bike...

8.  I will refrain from stopping complete strangers along the bike path and offering to adjust their seat to the proper height.  I am not responsible for anyone else’s knee pain and I am entitled to a good laugh while I’m out riding…

7.  I will no longer roll my eyes and refrain from saying “gee, I’m sorry to hear that” whenever someone tells me they ride the same brand of bike as Lance Armstrong.  That behavior is just plain rude.  Besides, I wouldn’t want someone to do that to me whenever I tell them that I drive a Dodge…

6.  I will recommend kidney donation to any cyclist who asks me how to shave another 140 grams of weight off his bike.  You only need one and it’s cheaper than buying a new carbon fiber handlebar stem...

5.  I will continue to flash the “hi” sign to cyclists approaching from the opposite direction, even if they appear to be triathletes who are clueless to cycling etiquette.  They can’t be expected to know everything about cycling if it’s only one-third of their focus…

4.  I will continue to shout “Bike Left!” as I prepare to pass walkers, runners, dog walkers, and stroller pushers on the bike path.  I do this for my safety more than theirs.  Plus, I like to see them jump when my voice startles them…

3.  I will count to three and refrain from automatically responding with the single-finger salute when I encounter an inconsiderate motorist.  If the urge is still strong after three seconds, however…

2.  I will exercise the “wildlife response” when I encounter an errant cyclist while driving.  I will assume anyone riding without a helmet and in the opposite direction of traffic is about as clueless and unpredictable on the road as a deer, opossum, raccoon, or squirrel…

1.  I will ride more.  I will take more short trips by bike instead of car.  I will substitute gym time for bike time.  I will find a way to ride every day that the weather is nice and even on days when it's questionable.

 

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  • My advice regarding number 3 - the single digit salute - is to use all FIVE digits instead...for emphasis. It accomplishes several things. First, the clueless motorist will remain clueless, but you've acknowledged his presence. Second, it probably won't escalate into a more angry encounter. Finally, by using the 'secret hand signal' you won't find yourself riding away angry. Anger shortens our lives, so let the motorist shorten his.

  • In reply to CycleDog:

    Great suggestion! Excellent reasoning. I will make a conscious effort to follow this as the bird tends to be an automatic, almost involuntary response that invites as much danger as it protests. Thanks for sharing this!

  • Just wondering what the "hi" sign is?

  • In reply to Judy Marcus:

    It's just a simple sign of recognition for a fellow cyclist out on the road.

    It's accomplished by removing your left hand from the handlebar and letting it drop out and away from your bike. It's a motionless wave, kind of like you see motorcyclists do when they pass one another in opposite directions.

    If you can't take your hands off the bar, you can also nod.

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    Wow -- I haven't made a list but several of your items would be on mine:

    10 -- set up charitable giving at work for World Bicycle Relief so my donation gets matched -- I'll be buying 2 bikes next year

    6 -- like the kidney donation idea -- my goal is to reduce my bike weight by dropping some of my excess weight (through riding of course)

    5 -- I will continue to say "Good morning" even though people in NJ refuse to look at you or speak as you pass

    4 -- Love "on your left" but I need to figure out how to pipe it in through walkers' earbuds!

    3 -- No single finger salutes but I do make that Italian "whaddya-talking-about" hand flick way too much

    2 -- I will treat all cyclists (and drivers) as a little unpredictable and give them a little more space and slow down a little if needed because that's what I want -- a safe ride

    1 -- I will keep walking or riding for that quick 2 mile run to CVS or walk to the grocery story instead of automatically grabbing the keys

    Thanks for kickstarting my list! :)

  • In reply to Ginger Lewis:

    Thanks for sharing! Anxious to hear what your other three will be. Please post them here when you're finished!

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    #4 is always seen as gospel (up there with helmets, which I agree with wholeheartedly) but I have a hard time with it in practice. Too many times that startled pedestrian becomes unpredictable, ie. moving to their left because I said "left". I prefer to sneak up but give a wide/decent berth. I'm usually going fast enough and am soft-spoken enough that they usually don't hear me anyway. So I finally broke down and bought a handlebar bell. *sigh*

  • In reply to Scott Stelzer:

    Scott, thanks for the reply! You're right, it seems like the minute you shout "left" they invariably move that way.

    I've taken to shouting "bike!", pausing, and then adding "on your left". "Bike" startles them, yet reminds them that that's actually what the bike path is for. After the initial jump, they start to focus on what I say next. It's still a 50/50 as to whether they move right or continue left, but at least I have their attention as I slow down to pass on whichever side they make available.

    Love the idea of the bell. It works great for Canadian geese too, especially since I can't bring my dachshund along to chase them away...

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