Two Wheels - Six Strings

Random news and thoughts about various two-wheeled projects and music, especially my band, Skull Full Of Blues.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Sleigh Bells Jingling, Jon Is Rambling On...

One thing I've figured out, over the past couple of years, is that how you dress on a bike greatly influences how drivers treat you in traffic. If you wear cycling-specific clothing, the drivers seem to assume that you have too much leisure time, and you're just out playing in traffic trying to annoy them.

Dress in regular street clothes, however, and the motor-driven seem to cut you some slack. I don't know if they assume you have a DWI and feel sorry for you, or what.

Still, I don't like to ride without bike shorts, so I wear them. But, I hide them under cargo shorts or rolled up pants. Lately, I've been wearing some shorts which reach about halfway down my calf, since they keep my creaky old knees out of the morning breeze.

I tend to smile a lot as I ride, too. Sometimes it's because I have the sun in my eyes. Usually, it's just because I enjoy the ride.

I am amused by the different reactions I get from people walking on the neighborhood streets as I ride through. There are 4 or 5 people I see almost every morning, walking their dogs at various points along my ride. Some of them now actually smile and return my, "Good morning!" as I ride by.

A couple of them just look at me like they don't comprehend why in the world I would expect them to answer. My favorite, however, is this one older lady who always looks the other way so that she not only doesn't have to answer, she doesn't even have to acknowledge my existence.

What's really strange to me, though, is how unfriendly most of the cyclists I've encountered have been. I can understand that the full-lycra crowd probably takes exception to my lack of boy-racer trappings, and the meth-addict/DWI crowd has their own concerns which take their attention. But, even fellow commuters seem reluctant to return a wave or a greeting.

I put a bell on my bike, a couple of weeks ago, so that I could announce my presence to the people who run, with their dogs, right down the middle of the street. (For some reason, this is common behavior in the neighborhoods I ride through at 6:00 AM.)

I took the bell off of a bike I rescued from the trash, and had to disassemble it and lube the mechanism to make it work. I apparently lubed it a little too well, because now it quietly rings itself at every little bump or vibration. If you have seen the condition of Denver roads since the series of snows we had last winter, then you can probably imagine how often that is.

I find the gentle ting-a-ling soothing as I ride down the street. It's my alternative to an iPod on the bike.

Still, I don't know why anyone would avoid speaking or waving to a guy jingling his way down the street on a hot pink fixed gear mountain bike, wearing manpris, and grinning like an idiot.

I would at least wave before I looked the other way!



At 9:16 PM , Blogger Peugeot rider said...

Now you just need some mandals to go with your manpris...

At 10:07 PM , Blogger katina said...

Bwah ha ha ha! that is one of the funniest pictures I've ever had in my head. Seriously. Ever!


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