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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    WA State
    Posts
    4,394

    Handling Yourself in Traffic

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    This wonderful little essay was written and posted to a local forum by Claire Petersky in response to someone who was nearly right hooked by a car. Lots of advice was posted about lane position and riding with traffic, but I enjoyed this response so much I asked if I could share it with all of you here. Claire graciously allowed it, so I hope it both entertains and informs you too!

    Instead of giving you advice about how to handle yourself physically on the road, I’m going to give advice about how to handle yourself psychologically. One of the things you have to realize is, as soon as you swing your leg over the back of your bike, you are Queen of the Road. You are the sovereign of everything from the yellow center line to where the pavement ends. All of it is your realm.

    This means that you use any part of the road that you see fit. You are not going to run alongside the curb like some guttersnipe. This is beneath you. You are going to ride on your road, the road that you command.

    Since you are of the highest nobility, it does not demean you, however, to let lesser vehicles pass. This is lèse majesté, or noblesse oblige (or some other phrase in French, who knows), that means that you are confident enough in your higher stature, that it is no flesh off of your proboscis to allow others little favors. So certainly, you can ride on the shoulder – it’s such a small thing for you, and it means so much to them. But just because you grant such favors from time to time, doesn’t mean that you cede your right to the road. No, this is truly yours, to take as you need it, for your own safety, and for the safety of all around you.

    Now, it is true, that occasionally, your royal presence will be noted with a horn. This is similar to the trumpets that would sound in medieval days, heralding the arrival of the king. Such tootling should not disturb or dismay you. When you hear these horns, you should acknowledge their salute. I recommend the wave perfected by her majesty, Queen Elizabeth II. It uses all the fingers of the hand, not just the middle one, and it looks as if you are screwing and unscrewing an invisible light bulb. So this is how it goes: honk; you give a big beaming smile to the motorist, and do the Royal Wave. Got that?

    One of the amazing effects of riding royally is that you are treated with much greater respect by other road users. When you cower in the gutter, you are treated like the muck that resides there: motorists give you the brush pass or right hook you at the light. When you ride with confidence in the road that is truly yours, then all acknowledge your sovereignty.

    written by Claire Petersky
    Last edited by Eden; 06-27-2007 at 02:21 PM.
    "Sharing the road means getting along, not getting ahead" - 1994 Washington State Driver's Guide

    visit my flickr stream http://flic.kr/ps/MMu5N

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    8,548
    great, Eden!
    Mimi Team TE BIANCHISTA
    for six tanks of gas you could have bought a bike.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    2,059
    Thanks for this!
    "The best rides are the ones where you bite off much more than you can chew, and live through it." ~ Doug Bradbury

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Bendemonium
    Posts
    9,684
    Kudos to Claire! That's wonderful.

    Yellow (aka Shirley on the Telluride trip as there were two Sue's) can give you lessons on the royal wave. Here are Laverne and Shirley holding court. I can't wait to try this on the next fanfare announcing my presence.

    Frends know gud humors when dey is hear it. ~ Da Crockydiles of ZZE.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Oslo, Norway
    Posts
    4,084
    Lmao! :d :d
    Last edited by lph; 06-27-2007 at 12:41 PM. Reason: huh? why no caps?
    Winter riding is much less about badassery and much more about bundle-uppery. - malkin

    1995 Kona Cinder Cone commuterFrankenbike/Selle Italia SLR Lady Gel Flow
    2008 white Nakamura Summit Custom mtb/Terry Falcon X
    2000 Schwinn Fastback Comp road bike/Specialized Jett

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Posts
    1,063
    Bravo! Bravo!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Orlando, FL
    Posts
    287
    Well done and spoken!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Middle Earth
    Posts
    3,997
    Just subscribed to this thread so I don't lose this articel

    Thanks Eden

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Limbo
    Posts
    8,783
    I've tried to do that wave before, now I know how! If only I could do it while riding.

    I had to do some photoshopping on this to make it PG rated. Mr. Willie was waving hello as well.
    2008 Trek FX 7.2/Terry Cite X
    2009 Jamis Aurora/Brooks B-68
    2010 Trek FX 7.6 WSD/stock bontrager

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Riding my Luna & Rivendell in the Hudson Valley, NY
    Posts
    8,409
    Quote Originally Posted by zencentury View Post
    I had to do some photoshopping on this to make it PG rated. Mr. Willie was waving hello as well.
    And he "just so happens" to be the happiest looking guy in the photo....
    Lisa
    Our bikes...OurBikes...and my mountain dulcimer blog
    Ruby's Website and My blog
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Pacific Northwest
    Posts
    3,474

    One more Claire P. gem

    Claire also wrote and posted on Cycling Forums the following totally delightful cyclist's version of the Passover Haggadah.


    Cyclist Haggadah

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    All who are in need of spring training, come and ride with us.
    All who are hungry, come and partake of our carbohydrate-laden treats.

    [The bottle of cytomax is held up and the blessing recited.]

    The youngest rider asks:

    1. On all other rides, we eat all kinds of bars. On this ride, why do we
    only eat hard, unleavened Power Bars?
    2. On all other rides, we might consume a wide range of fruits. On this
    ride, why do we eat bananas?
    3. On all other rides, we might not dip our bananas even once in our gu. On
    this ride, why do we dip our bananas twice?
    4. On all other rides, we ride sitting up straight. On this ride, why do we
    ride in a reclining position on recumbents?

    The answer my children, may be found in the story of Passover.

    This is the power bar of our affliction, which our ancestors baked 400 years
    ago.

    Many years ago, we were slaves to our automobiles, driving hither and
    thither, not knowing that a better way existed. If the Holy One, blessed be
    He, had not shown us the way of the bicycle, then we, our children and our
    children's children would have remained enslaved to motor vehicle. Even if
    all of us were wise, all of us understanding, all of us knowing the book of
    Effective Cycling, we would still be obligated to discuss the liberation
    through cycling; and everyone who discusses this liberation at length is
    praiseworthy.

    There are four types of children who ask questions on this ride: the wise
    one, the bad one, the simple one, and the one who does not know to ask.
    - What does the wise one ask? I don't know; I couldn't understand him
    either. Him you must send to a school for gifted children.
    - What does the bad one ask? He says, "What is this ride to you?" Because he
    excludes himself from the community of cyclists, you must exclude him from
    your ride, and he will go back to his employer and get paid double-time and
    a half for working on a holiday.
    - What does the simple one ask? He simply asks, "What is this?" You will say
    to him, "This is a bike ride."
    - As for the one who does not know to ask, you must go to his room, wake him
    up and say, "Next year, come to the bike ride on time!"

    These are the Ten Plagues which the Holy One, blessed be He, brought upon
    the motorists, namely as follows:

    [When saying the ten plagues, spill a drop of cytomax from the sports bottle
    itself ten times for each plague:]

    High gas prices
    Congestion
    Registration fees
    Pollution
    Pot holes
    Expensive parking
    Speeding tickets
    Sedendary lifestyle
    Obesity
    First-born getting a driver's licence

    How many levels of favors has the Eternal One bestowed upon us?

    If we would be wearing padded bike shorts, but not have clipless pedals, it
    would have been enough.
    If we would have clipless pedals, but not at least Shimano 105 components,
    it would have been enough.
    If we would be equipped with at least Shimano 105 components, but not a
    delicious post-ride dinner, it would have been enough.
    If we would been served a delicious dinner and no dessert, it would have
    been enough.
    If we would eaten dessert, but not have a hangover from too much carousing,
    it would have been enough.

    (Pick up the cytomax and say Thus how much more so should we be grateful
    to the Eternal One for the doubled and redoubled goodness that He has
    bestowed upon us! We do wear padded bike shorts, we do have clipless
    pedals, and we do have at least Shimano 105 components (and some of us have
    Ultegra and even Campy Chorus, and many other wonders), and we did eat a
    delicious post-ride dinner, and we did get dessert, and now we pray that we
    do not get a hangover from too much carousing -- let us say, Amen!

    Thus it is our duty to thank, to laud, to praise, to glorify, to exalt, to
    adore, to bless, to elevate and to honor the One who did all these miracles
    for cyclists before us and for us. He took us from car-driving slavery to
    bicycling freedom, from steel-caged enclosed sorrow to the open road of joy,
    and from bondage to redemption.

    Blessed are You, our God, Universal Ruling Presence, who has redeemed us and
    redeemed our ancestors, and enabled us on this ride to eat power bars and
    bananas. So too, God, our God and God of our ancestors, enable us to attain
    other rides and cycling events that will come to us in peace with happiness,
    and with rejoicing in Your service.

    This year we watch the Tour De France in the living room, next year may we
    see it in person!

    (with a tip o' the hat to Akiva and Ilene Miller)


    --
    Warm Regards,

    Claire Petersky

    Personal page: http://www.geocities.com/cpetersky/
    See the books I've set free at:
    http://bookcrossing.com/referral/Cpetersky
    "My predominant feeling is one of gratitude. I have loved and been loved;I have been given much and I have given something in return...Above all, I have been a sentient being, a thinking animal, on this beautiful planet, and that in itself has been an enormous privilege and an adventure." O. Sacks

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    I'm the only one allowed to whine
    Posts
    10,576
    snif! oh, this thread is just so.... beautiful!!!!!

    <wipes away an emotional tear>
    "If Americans want to live the American Dream, they should go to Denmark." - Richard Wilkinson

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    Mrs. KnottedYet
    Posts
    9,008
    ok, who hid the hard, unleavened Power Bar? Sends the kids to find it.
    Fancy Schmancy Custom Road bike ~ Mondonico Futura Legero
    Found on side of the road bike ~ Motobecane Mixte
    Gravel bike ~ Salsa Vaya
    Favorite bike ~ Soma Buena Vista mixte
    N+1 bike ~ Brompton
    http://madeinusareviews.blogspot.com/

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Pacific Northwest
    Posts
    3,474
    Um...by the way, I totally apologize for the thread hijack.
    "My predominant feeling is one of gratitude. I have loved and been loved;I have been given much and I have given something in return...Above all, I have been a sentient being, a thinking animal, on this beautiful planet, and that in itself has been an enormous privilege and an adventure." O. Sacks

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Orlando, FL
    Posts
    287
    That was great Salsabike! Just sent it to BF (while working and only daydreaming of tonights ride )

 

 

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