The Chainlink

I love that everyone is out riding their bikes nowadays.  Ever since Hurricane Katrina ripped this country a new one, “transportation biking” has blown up.  It’s nice, really.  Used to be that if I saw someone on a bike in the city, I probably knew who it was.  Now, forget it.  That’s good stuff, man.  Also, I will say that on the average, bikers have gotten much prettier over the last five years.  That’s a complement to the ladies, thanks for riding. 

BUT, I gotta say that I am getting appalled and angry by some of you guys and girlz.  As a veteran Shitcago bicycle messenger, I witnessed how Chicago jaywalking grew like a Texas forest fire in the 80’s.  The bike messengers of the late 80’s and 90’s brought cuttin’ lights to an artform.  Then car drivers thought that they could get in on the action too.  During the 90’s cars started running lights and stopping for nothing.  Plus they were gettin’ angry about it.  Chicago streets are just traffic soup and everyone thinks they are the ladle.

So what am I sayin’?  People follow examples.  Plain and simple.  Messengers make cutting traffic look good, simple, maybe almost safe.  So you try it a couple times.  Wow, what a rush, right?  Now you are getting bolder.  You try bigger intersections at busier times of day.  You start to get the feeling like you are the kid in The Matrix bending spoons with your mind.  HHHOOONNNKKK!!!!  Wake up!  Truck’s coming and you are in my line.  Why?  The point here is that Messengers do it cause we need to save time.  Messengers spend years learning the rhythm of the street lights, the direction of the traffic, and the unpredictable pedestrians, etc.  Getting paid on commission means nobody is paying you to waste time.  But hey, what am I really sayin’ here?  Some people just ain’t cut out to serve up the cuts and don’t know how to say “enough”.

Hell, I have probably run more red lights than anyone.  I am no one to talk.  But this is my area of expertise.  Sure this city is covered by more asphalt than anywhere.  Sure we have tons of roads, but they all go nowhere.  We have intersections every 200 feet that cause opposition to movement every 10 seconds or less.  I get it.  Cycling is momentum.  Everyone wants to keep rolling.  But there is a huge difference in coming up on a stop sign where there are no cars, after careful calculations, you proceed thru the stop sign and a pro messenger operating on six lanes of traffic at 4:45pm on a Friday at the end of the month.  So here it is; I am sick of almost getting hit by other bikers doing stupid sh!t for no other reason than, what? I don’t get it.  Back off.

Anyways, you could all make my life better, maybe yours too, if you all would start working these tidbits into normal life.

1.Pretend you are invisible.  This means you should never make anyone else hit their brakes.  Trucks can’t see you and can’t stop even if they did.  Cabs don’t care anyway.  Bikers don’t have insurance.  Kids are innocent.

2.Right of way.  Yield to those less than you.  Always go behind the pedestrians.  Always give kids extra room. 

3.Share the road, a tube, a smile.

4.Why are you cutting?  Do you have 10 packages in your bag with 10 people waiting for you and an angry angry dispatcher on your radio?  Didn’t think so. 

5.If you got hit by another bike, and the accident was your fault, whose insurance would pay?  So quit trying to cut me off while I’m riding or walking with my kid.  Geez. 

Street cred don’t come easy and it ain’t cheap.  Spend it wisely.  Peace.





Thank you to the posters whom understand what I was trying to express originally.  


Here is the only problem worth addressing in this thread: I have noticed a rapid rise in bikers running red lights, specifically this year.


So if you’re going to respond further to this thread please explain to me why people who are not messengers cut thru red lights.  Not why other people run red lights.  Just you, yourself, specifically, why do you run red lights?


Seeing as you do run red lights, what do you think the right thing to do is if you cause an accident?  Or how about just making another biker crash?  Is there any code of ethics you follow when you see another biker in the intersection who you just screwed?


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Hi, Original Poster here, I appreciate the help from the people who understand.  Also, I appreciate the wishes for safety.  But I am not exactly that worried about the increased backlash from drivers.  It’s more worrisome to think of rolling through a green light and having another biker attempt to cut through the intersection in front of me and as a result I get into an accident because he/she thought he/she would follow “my example” at some point down the line.


So yeah, do what I am telling you and don’t follow my example.  Better yet, don’t follow me in traffic either and think you are going to race me or whatever.  I find holes for myself, not for you too.  Ride the way you need in order to get where you are going.  But calculate, don’t follow.  


Some of you were clearly insulted.  Like you are god’s gift to urban cycling or something.  Get over it.  I am an asshole, I love it.  I hear that all day long. And I still like my job, I take pride in what I do, and I do it well.  What’s your excuse?  Where did I attack you and say that you can’t ride for crap?  Don’t you realize that there will always be people better than you at what you do no matter who you are?*  Is it my conceit or your jealousy that’s putting you in tunnel vision mode?  


Sure bike messengers are the problem, along with the jaywalkers, and the distracted/incompetent drivers etc.  DUH!  But for some of you, I can see the foam frothing at the edge of your mouth as soon as someone mentions something about a bike messenger.  Here watch:  bike messenger, bicycle messenger, courier, biker, messenger, bike messenger.  Feel your lip.  See, told you.  Foam.  


So maybe share why you ran a red light and how did it make you feel?  Do you remember the first one?  


*except Air Jordan, of course.

He has a few, yes a few valid points but most of it is preachy doasItellyouI'mbetterthanyoustaythehell outtamyway. I say STFU and mind your own business.

Somehow by using the rational of being a "professional" entitles him to break the law in order to make money, so that would hold true for cabbies, delivery drivers, ceo's of corporations, and anybody else that wants to.

David Lieb said:

Sounds a bit like "shoot the messenger". 

Folks, you might not like what he has to say, but he does make some valid points and he is a professional. Does that make running red lights ok? No more than for the rest of us, but then I have long since given up trying to tell other people how to act. Ya know the line about teaching a pig to sing? (It wastes your time and annoys the pig.) Don't be offended by the way he tells you to ride more predictably and less aggressively, just do it. And BTW be glad you are biking in the City of Chicago. It has come a long way and it is way ahead of the surrounding areas. I live in Des Plaines and commute down Northwest Highway; Chicago streets (not counting downtown where I have very little experience) are much friendlier!

I don't care to take part in this conversation because I've never wanted to emulate a messenger's style of riding.  I'll do my best to stay out of your way, and please don't hit me, either. It sounds to me like you're really worried about hitting other cyclists and pedestrians. Thank you for that. 

And thank you for this hilarity:

"poop in the pants pace."

I hope to have occasion to use this phrase soon. Be safe. Stay funny.





don't feed the troll



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