I'm not an expert, I just play one on the internet

By : Lowrah · September 16, 2011

Jen reposted some "rules from a cycling 'expert'" from Brown Girl in the Lane, and asked us, "What are you an expert at? Do you have any rules for cycling?"  I started to type up a comment response and got so into it that I thought it deserved its own post!  So here they are- more words from another "expert".

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Ding ding! Sign of an expert: I bandage my own boo-boos.

This post from the Surly blog pretty much sums up how I feel.  If you haven't read it yet, check it out!  The main message is that riding a bike is inclusive and no matter what your style, you're doing it right.

One of my big rules is, "Don't sacrifice personal safety for someone else's comfort." I try to do what is safe and fun and prudent for my style of riding. I take my commute fast, my tours slow, and I will yell like a crazy person if I think someone is not paying attention, and I won't feel ashamed about it. Take the lane with no apologies. Be assertive without being aggressive. (Works in progress..)

Here are some other "rules" that I follow.

  • Ride my bicycle.  Often!
  • Bell dinging- YES!
  • Smiling, singing, waving while riding- YES!
  • Always tell kids I pass that their bikes are "Super rad."
  • Everyone likes to hear they have a nice bike, so why not give out compliments at red lights, at the grocery store bike rack, anytime, all the time?
  • I try never to insult my bike- it's not too old, it's not too ugly, I have no shame about the patina of use and age on my machine and I don't feel inferior to fancy new bikes. Bike shame is a real shame.
  • Good fuel = strong engine. I like to feed my engine good food and lots of water.
  • Keep my bike in good repair.
  • Sweat is sexy.
  • When I hem and haw about whether or not to spend money on a fancy-pants component or on something cheaper/ inferior, I remind myself to value reliability and safety, and to consider the type of riding I do.  Sometimes the cheaper option is the way to go, but I've also spent more on replacing cheap stuff more often than if I had just gone with the better/ $$$ part...
  • Gloves, helmet, closed-toed shoes, brakes.  (I'm clumsy.)
  • No rules.  "If you obey all the rules you miss all the fun."  --Katherine Hepburn

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