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Posts tagged: bicycling

What makes people happy?

There are countless answers, of course.

But based on my experience of doing a few errands this morning, one thing on the list is seeing me in my parka and saying, “Not riding your bike today?”

What’s on this lad’s mind?

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Let's assume that she is not his mother.

A) Cycling safety. B) Bike seat comfort. C) Something his friend Max said about girls during recess. D) Other. 

Road hazards — Northwest style

Almost wiped out on my bike this morning when taking a turn on a stretch of road covered with about an inch of pine needles.

Reminded me of a Nov.1st years ago when my friend John Kafentzis said driving to work had been made challenging that morning by a smashed-pumpkins glaze on the roads.  

Question for city-streets bike riders

What's the hardest paved-streets hill within the city limits of Spokane?

Just wondering

What would a cyclist-hating Spokane motorist yell at these lads?

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The correct answer? How about “Move over once, move over twice”?

Having a feline as a backseat driver

On my way home this afternoon, before I even got out of downtown, I saw another cyclist.

She looked like she might be in the 18-21 age range. She wasn't wearing a helmet but she had on a backpack.

Inside the backpack was an adult cat. Only the head of this gray and white pet was visible out of the top of the pack. My first reaction was a silently disapproving “That's not a good idea.”

But as I studied the scene from a distance, I realized the cat seemed perfectly calm. Maybe he or she has been riding with that girl since kittenhood.

Wonder what sort of backseat driver that cat is. What does it say to the girl as they cruise along?

“If you see a tuna stand, be sure to pull over.” 

On the eve of National Bike Month

Maybe it would be helpful if we could all agree on a couple of things.

Some cyclists are asses.

So are some of cycling's critics. 

Just for the record

It's possible to consider yourself a bicyclist and not enjoy beer that tastes like aspirin-flavored liquid tar.

There seems to be some confusion about this. So I wanted to clear it up.

Profiling

Here's my theory about why you never see the police cite those flouting the ordinance prohibiting bike riding on sidewalks in downtown Spokane.

Sure, the cops are busy with other things. But I think the real reason they don't spend time on this is the fact that they know not one of the offenders would or could pay a fine.

To be fair, many of these law-breakers might not be aware that they are in violation of the municipal code. I say that because I would further speculate that many of them couldn't name the president of the United States.  

The bicyclist’s dilemma

Anyone riding a bike on city streets around here routinely encounters motorists inappropriately stopping and offering to yield the right of way at intersections.

It seems safe to assume that the majority are just being nice. But it does present a problem.

If you accept the offer to go ahead, you are only reinforcing this counterproductive notion of treating cyclists like pedestrians. (When, in fact, they should be treated like people in cars.)

But if you want to decline the offer, that poses a dilemma. How do you indicate to the driver that you wish him or her to proceed ahead while you stay put? Hand gestures, of course. But what kind?

Nobody likes drivers at intersections who signal to other motorists in an impatient, annoyed way. You know, as if the other driver's presence on the planet is a huge inconvenience for them. So obviously, cyclists don't want to be like them.

But if your gestures are indecisive or open to interpretation, that can cause its own problems.

Here's what I do. I smile in a weary way and wave at the driver, as if to say “I see you and realize you are offering me the chance to go in front of you.”

Then I make a sweeping “No, thank you — after you” motion with my right arm.

Often it works. Sometimes it doesn't.

Remember when I said the majority of drivers are just being nice when they offer to yield? Well, there's a reason I didn't suggest that all drivers are.

Some motorists regard all cyclists as a pain the ass. These drivers want to send the message that bike riders are so erratic and such a nuisance that they have to be coddled and given special treatment even though they have no business being on the road.

There's a temptation to say that there is another hand gesture more appropriate for communicating with them. But the cyclist would have to be a mindreader to know when someone is trying to be nice and when someone is engaging in performance forbearance.

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About this blog

Features writer Paul Turner is a columnist for The Spokesman-Review in the Features department. He writes "The Slice" column, which appears six times a week and produces general features stories for the Today section.

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