The Chainlink

The Sun-Times ran a piece on this today.

To the "worst things" list, I'd add:
* Wrong-way traffic coming at me in the bike lane.

To the "best things" list, I'd add:
* Not being in close proximity to people coughing and sneezing on a bus or train.
* Being able to make as many stops as I want for take-out food, shopping, etc. without worrying when the next train or bus will come.
* Stopping to smell the roses - literally. Few things can improve your day like pausing to enjoy a really beautiful garden along the way.

What would you add to the lists?

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To the CONS I would add having to worry about bike theft.

To the PROS I would add discovering new places like restaurants and bookstores. Riding by in a bus or a car you don't really always notice everything you pass by.
A big CON for me is not wanting to ride on weekends anymore, after riding to and from work all week.
A colleague brought in the article for me.
One observation I made to him was that all the positive ("Joy") things were centered around the writer, while all the negative things ("pain") were influences from the outside: bad/drivers/cyclists, etc.
I guess it didn't dawn on the writer that at times she might be the pain in someone else commute?
Best: A chance to observe urban wildlife up close. In the past couple of weeks, in addition to a multitude of rabbits, I've come within a few feet of a deer and a beaver. It was really cool.

Worst: A chance to observe urban wildlife up close. A couple of years ago I was upended by a raccoon darting across the path (he got up and ran away, I had to buy a new helmet). And the deer was a buck with a small rack, and I was worried that he would turn toward me rather than away.
Vando - Good point about bike theft. I've been fairly lucky as far as that goes. I had a seat stolen once, but never a whole bike. For most of the years since I moved back here, I've worked in buildings with bike rooms or, in one case, where I could bring the bike into the office. BTW, the bike rooms got there because of tenant demand. If there isn't a bike room in your building, keep asking.

I like the freedom and ease of discovering new places a LOT. So many times when I wasn't in a hurry to get home, I would take a meandering route and try some streets I hadn't taken before. It's usually been a good experience.
I think this list is pretty good, but reading the comments is eternally more entertaining:

Are these people out of their MIND???!?!?! Me,and many other drivers have to put up with you absolute MORONS that think it's ok to ride your F_ucking bikes down the middle of the roadways!! Causing vehicles to swerve into on-coming traffic almost causing an accident EVERYDAY i see this!! Incase you morons don't understand why there are roads with VEHICLES on them,it's because it's for MOTORIZED VEHICLES STUPID!! NOT for bicycles!! WHAT are you thinking?! (Besides law-suit)but it's hard to sue when your DEAD!! HOW can this not be a LAW you can't ride your BICYCLE down the dam.n street???! I thought it WAS the law!! I CAN'T BELIEVE their allowed to do this!! That is stopping the natural flow of traffic!! Are you people really convinced you are smart??! UNBELIEVABLE!!! How are you bicyclists going to handle an accident when you get your DUMB AS>SES run over??! You have insurance to ride it on the roadways? I can't wait till one of you end up under a truck,and THAT will be the end of you spandex wearin freaks!! If you think I'M gonna swerve,and hit inocent people in another car(or a MOTORCYCLE) to miss YOU when i just came-up over a hill,and there you are.....THINK AGAIN!!!and they say "idiot DRIVERS???!" It's a road for VEHICLES!!! MORONS!! GET OFF THE ROADS!!!

and then 11 minutes later, they add:

Here's some good advise for some of you bicyclists..."be careful who you swerve your bicycle into,and give them the middle finger"!! Your gonna do that to the WRONG person on the WRONG day,and get your AS.S BEAT!!

hehe. I'd say another PRO is taking up close to ALL of this person's mental capacity (they might not have very much). Bikers must hugely influence their life to have induced this rant. keep riding, or as they would say "rid[ing] your F_ucking bikes down the middle of the roadways!!" such anger, wow....

keep riding
it is in fact those types people that are my biggest con on the road. the absolute unmittigated rage released by a driver trying to get ahead of you to the next red traffic light is quite laughable. but these people and those who wish to make our bike commute/ride miserable... by taunting us with gestures and verbal lashings muted by their car windows, by purposely driving close as to push us off the road, or cutting us off for no purpose, and new teen drivers who think themselves better for driving and hoot and holler at cyclists...thats what enrages me. im getting hot under the collar just thinking about it.
Clark, i believe your observation is apropos of almost anyone who leaves comments on any particular online news article...

No matter the subject, i find it best NOT to read the online commentary.

Clark said:
Oh YES Sam...let's keep ridin' our "F_ucking bikes down the middle"....

Why is it the complete morons, who can't even spell or parse a sentence, who are the people that seem to be the most outraged on that "Comments" section appended to the bike commuting article in the Sun-Times? I wonder if our illiterate citizens are also the most easily enraged drivers too...?

Sam Schild said:
I think this list is pretty good, but reading the comments is eternally more entertaining:
"Are these people out of their MIND???!?!?! Me,and many other drivers have to put up with you absolute MORONS that think it's ok to ride your F_ucking bikes down the middle of the roadways!!...." hehe. I'd say another PRO is taking up close to ALL of this person's mental capacity (they might not have very much). Bikers must hugely influence their life to have induced this rant. keep riding, or as they would say "rid[ing] your F_ucking bikes down the middle of the roadways!!" such anger, wow.... keep riding
Iggi,

I find that annoying at times, but sometimes, it's just hilarious. They're just kids out having a good time. Mood really determines how you react to a bunch of teenagers hooting and hollering while passing you.

iggi said:
it is in fact those types people that are my biggest con on the road. the absolute unmittigated rage released by a driver trying to get ahead of you to the next red traffic light is quite laughable. but these people and those who wish to make our bike commute/ride miserable... by taunting us with gestures and verbal lashings muted by their car windows, by purposely driving close as to push us off the road, or cutting us off for no purpose, and new teen drivers who think themselves better for driving and hoot and holler at cyclists...thats what enrages me. im getting hot under the collar just thinking about it.
Hahaha...

Nice observation Clark. I've noticed that too.

The type of people who enjoy throwing the word "moron" or "stupid" around also tend to have a poor command of the English language. To me, it undermines their intent to position themselves as intelligent people.

Take this lovely example:

"Your gonna do that to the WRONG person on the WRONG day,and get your AS.S BEAT!!"

Anyway, I do agree that if bikes stayed in the bike lanes and cars stayed out of the bike lanes, everyone would get along better.

That said, drivers need to realize that the real danger for bikes comes from the right (getting doored, for example), and what Sam may be interpreting as "riding in the middle of street" is actually keeping a safe distance from the parked cars.

The City of Chicago bike guide specifically instructs bikers to "stay out of the door zone," so Sam needs to realize that bikes are fully entitled to maintain a safe distance from parked cars.

To put it another way, I sure as hell am not going to risk a broken collarbone so some driver can get home a few minutes faster.



Clark said:
Oh YES Sam...let's keep ridin' our "F_ucking bikes down the middle"....
Why is it the complete morons, who can't even spell or parse a sentence, who are the people that seem to be the most outraged on that "Comments" section appended to the bike commuting article in the Sun-Times? I wonder if our illiterate citizens are also the most easily enraged drivers too...? Sam Schild said:
I think this list is pretty good, but reading the comments is eternally more entertaining:
"Are these people out of their MIND???!?!?! Me,and many other drivers have to put up with you absolute MORONS that think it's ok to ride your F_ucking bikes down the middle of the roadways!!...." hehe. I'd say another PRO is taking up close to ALL of this person's mental capacity (they might not have very much). Bikers must hugely influence their life to have induced this rant. keep riding, or as they would say "rid[ing] your F_ucking bikes down the middle of the roadways!!" such anger, wow.... keep riding
to clarify, I am aware that I am entitled to the entire lane, and do keep a safe distance from doors and other possible hazards coming from the right. I wasn't interpreting anything about "riding in the middle of the rode" that was a quote from those comments, same person. I feel like I'm sinking to that person's level even by spending this much time talking about the comments. Reading comments left on articles is generally not all that fruitful, because, most of the comments aren't very intelligent, but they can be entertaining :) like these ones are, and the only reason I brought it up.

And, really, I'm sorry that person gets so enraged about cyclists, not for myself, but for them. I'm happy riding my bike past traffic and through traffic, safely, always safely, I do my best to ignore people like that. But, when I can't ignore them, I find it best to laugh. Getting mad doesn't help--it's easy, but it doesn't help. I'll use the entire bike lane, and more when necessary, and they'll get mad, and hopefully they don't hit me. I'll do everything I can to keep myself safe, from cars behind me and to my left and from that which comes from the right.

That being said, the PROS of bike commuting greatly outweigh the CONS. Even when people like those leaving comments on this article are, reluctantly, "sharing" the same roads.

Brett Ratner said:
Hahaha...

Nice observation Clark. I've noticed that too.

The type of people who enjoy throwing the word "moron" or "stupid" around also tend to have a poor command of the English language. To me, it undermines their intent to position themselves as intelligent people.

Take this lovely example:

"Your gonna do that to the WRONG person on the WRONG day,and get your AS.S BEAT!!"

Anyway, I do agree that if bikes stayed in the bike lanes and cars stayed out of the bike lanes, everyone would get along better.

That said, drivers need to realize that the real danger for bikes comes from the right (getting doored, for example), and what Sam may be interpreting as "riding in the middle of street" is actually keeping a safe distance from the parked cars.

The City of Chicago bike guide specifically instructs bikers to "stay out of the door zone," so Sam needs to realize that bikes are fully entitled to maintain a safe distance from parked cars.

To put it another way, I sure as hell am not going to risk a broken collarbone so some driver can get home a few minutes faster.



Clark said:
Oh YES Sam...let's keep ridin' our "F_ucking bikes down the middle"....
Why is it the complete morons, who can't even spell or parse a sentence, who are the people that seem to be the most outraged on that "Comments" section appended to the bike commuting article in the Sun-Times? I wonder if our illiterate citizens are also the most easily enraged drivers too...? Sam Schild said:
I think this list is pretty good, but reading the comments is eternally more entertaining:
"Are these people out of their MIND???!?!?! Me,and many other drivers have to put up with you absolute MORONS that think it's ok to ride your F_ucking bikes down the middle of the roadways!!...." hehe. I'd say another PRO is taking up close to ALL of this person's mental capacity (they might not have very much). Bikers must hugely influence their life to have induced this rant. keep riding, or as they would say "rid[ing] your F_ucking bikes down the middle of the roadways!!" such anger, wow.... keep riding
An hour or more to my day, plus (generally) enjoying even the commute.
$900 a year saved (to spend on bike stuff, of course:-)

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