Thursday, January 29, 2009

The city never sleeps...

Back in the days, when I could rant and rave about dangerous drivers without knowing what it's really like to get mowed down by a car, I wrote this little rant about bicycle lights. The next day I went out to buy a battery operated front light which served its purpose for almost 2 years.

Last Christmas I noticed that the plastic casing was broken and those rechargeable batteries are not that reliable when it's freezing. I can't really trust them to last a back and forth ride to work.
But worst of all, drivers don't notice the light. Either that or they just think, small light equals bike... f**k it I ride a steel cage I win.

So I went to my trusty LBS to check for something a little more powerful. Turns out that more powerful, means also more expensive but when you're spending money on safety then you don't want to cut corners; brake pads and lights must not fail.

A couple hundreds of Euro lighter (no pun intended) and Mr. exhaustbreather can burn 720 lumen of respect in the drivers retinae.

Guess what! It worked like a charm for at least a couple of days, then drivers got used to it and now they ignore me again, just like in the old days. Soccer mums making right turns without indicators, grandpas dooring me, ...

Lumen seem to devaluate even quicker than bank shares. So what should I do? Go out and buy me a couple of 950 lumen light? And what with the cycle bell? No driver hears that, so you go get an air horn, which you swap again for a battery operated model...

Next thing you know you have so much light and sound pollution (on top of your regular funes) that the city truly never sleeps.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The dirty look...

I don't know what it's like in other countries but around here it seems like all policemen and -women are trained to look at you as if you are guilty of the most hideous crimes known to mankind. I had it happening again this morning, waiting at the traffic light (you know I never jump a red light) I had the 2 police men on bikes giving me the most foul look, which I eventually happily returned.

Our little staring competition got interrupted by the light turning green. as I sped of I could not but wonder what the heck those boys in blue had been looking at.

Was it my bike? Now that would be stupid, they were riding bikes themselves, they could as well ogle their own steeds.

Was it the filter mask I was wearing? Could be, but then I might as well look funnily at them 'cause it's surely strange to ride without a a filter mask in urban traffic when it's this cold. All the exhaust fumes will make you turn blue in the face.

Was it perhaps my outfit? Was it the first time they saw someone ride a bike sporting Chrome Shins? At least I don't ride around with a handgun on my hip. Just imagine; me sporting a handgun instead of my trusty Shins...

Then again, it will never happen; I'm not formally trained in giving people the suspicious you-have-done-something-wrong-and-I-am-going-to-figure-out-what-look.

All the selfish and stupid drivers can sleep safely at night (and in traffic).

Monday, January 19, 2009

Blue Monday...

...or should I say wet Monday? Second week of 2009 and already got my first bike shower. I made my first ride of the new year one the 2nd of January with all my favourite singletracks frozen ROCK solid. The second ride out on the 4th ended with an over-the-bars from yours truly, and a bent derailleur hanger for my beloved rocky.
The second week of January was all snow and frost so I opted to commute by car 'cause bicycles lanes around here are, of course, not salted. Apparently cyclists don't pay taxes or something, and therefore deserve to break their necks.

And now we're back to the normal winter routine; five degrees Celsius and pouring rain. It's great to be back on the bike.

Before I forget; Happy New Year. May we all spend more time riding and less time in traffic jams, hospitals and emergency rooms.