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Now typically, as in pretty much always, wisdom and skill is bestowed upon me by those who are smarter, more experienced, more worldly, more talented, and just plain better than me. But today my friends; TODAY I get to give back. Today I will bestow upon you a gift from my bag of goodies. Ladies, gentlemen, and Garvey...I present to you…THE DE-DOORING URBAN-BIKER SIDEKICK.

Allow me to explain…

I have spent most of my life practicing martial arts. I have formally studied under some of the finest and highest ranked teachers in the United States and the world. I have trained and competed in Korean, Thai, and most recently Japanese styles. Now why am I telling you all of this (besides wanting everyone to think I'm super-duper awesome and wish they were me)? Due to this extensive training I have found that I have many physical reactions to situations that are immediate and automatic at this point. It's as though they are innate (and yes everyone smarter than me ((all of you)) I know it's not ACTUALLY innate. As in I wasn't born with it. But my point is it almost feels that way.).
This most recently became evident in my urban commute.
I live on the north side of the city. My route is Clark (starting @ around 5300 N.) to Halsted, and then east on Lake. It takes about 45 minutes each way. And besides the inhalation of truck, construction, and other assorted industrial fumes that are surely killing me, it's a lovely ride. With one exception. CAR. DOORS. Yes, those commuters who have furiously rushed to work (but of course had time to stop and get their quadruple vente, no foam, soy latte…one splenda ((no please or thank you.)), latte in one hand, cell phone in the other…texting, who are SOOOO important that they needn't think of anyone but themselves when rushing from their vehicle to their cubicle so that they can keep their jobs and make just enough money to make their $600.00 a month car payment (precisely twice the amount of their student loan payment and ¾ of the amount of the their Illini wall covered, Lincoln Park apartment. Well, ¾ of their portion of the rent. Their three roommates cover the other portion. Super expensive but it's totally worth it because it's within walking distance of BOTH Duffy's AND Durkin's! SCORE!) on their new convertible Saab.

Smell trouble? Me too. But not for me! For him/her! That's right. Armed with the power of the DE-DOORING URBAN-BIKER SIDEKICK I'll respond in an instant! No need to stop…or really even slow, if you time it properly. I'll continue on my way while the weekend warrior is left massaging his shin for the next 10 minutes to be followed by an insta-bruise and swelling that makes him ask, "Do you think I should go to the ER? (His inner-monologue: " Oooh! Miller Lite and Vicodin…"). You too can defend yourself against these boils on the butt of humanity (random Steal Magnolia's shout-out!!)

Let me break it down for you:
1. You must first gage the height of the car/car door. Since you've been paying attention all along, you'll already know what you're dealing with by the time it happens.
2. The height of the vehicle will determine whether or not you can stay seated or if you need to rise and balance on your leg that remains on the pedal.
3. Once that is determined you will put your weight on the leg furthest away from the car while at the same time bringing your knee closest to the car up toward your chest.
4. Lean slightly forward at the waist and focus on pivoting your inside hip so that if you were to now extend your leg out to your side your shoulder and your heel would be aligned . I will explain why this is important in a later step.
5. Now that your knee is cocked (pulled toward your chest), you're leaning forward slightly, and your hip it rotated forward, your hips should be open, giving you the power and the positioning that you need to execute your strike swiftly and efficiently.
6. The moment you see the door beside you begin to open you should be in this position.
7. Then SNAP the leg out to the side. The following is CRUCIAL for your success: The striking foot must be flexed with the toes pulled back. The heel MUST be over the ball of the foot with your big toe pointing at, let's say 7:00-ish. Do the best you can (if your hip is properly rotated forward as previously instructed, this should already be the position of your heel.). If you are directly beside the car you are to strike with the outer-ridge of the foot. If the door is slightly behind you, you are to use your heel to strike. This is technically a "back-kick" and not a side-kick. But it is equally useful and appropriate in this circumstance. And Finally, AS SOON as you strike the vehicle you are to IMMEDIATELY retract your kick to your starting position.
8. Shout expletive of your choice.
*NOTE* In the event that the door has been completely opened in front of you and you haven't the option of going around and are forced to stop, deliver this technique to the knee/shin/stomach/chest/face (whatever flexibility allows) of the impeding driver. Then, shout expletive.

I hope this has been useful. I wish you luck. Remember this technique will require practice. I suggest "borrowing" the keys to a friend's car who surely won't mind that you're practicing on their door. I suggest Garvey. She's very generous…and humble. In fact, so much so that she'd be embarrassed if you even asked first before you took her keys. She'd rather you just take them and not make a big deal.
If you'd like me to clear up any of this technique or further explain, please don't hesitate to contact me. Happy Commuting/saving the environment/saving money/not playing into the hands of the big oil companies!!!
Rachel Meriwether

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Comment by Ken Gray on October 12, 2009 at 7:22am
I'm with Leah,,,video. That would be too cool. Thanks,
Comment by Rachel on August 6, 2008 at 2:30pm
i think i can arrange that. all i need is a lovely assistant. volunteers?
Comment by Leah on August 6, 2008 at 1:41pm
rachel - can we please get a video of this??
Comment by J Mills on August 6, 2008 at 12:41pm
Absolutely beautiful! HAHAHA!!! Love it.

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