Cafe de Desiree

June 30, 2012

Being a Cyclist in the City-And Surviving it

Filed under: Uncategorized — desi83 @ 9:44 pm

Cycling in Murfreesboro is quite an adventure, especially when you’ve recently heard about a couple of cyclists getting run over by careless drivers. I am finally braving it, though. I spent $700 on a Trek road bike about a year ago. I put it on lay away since MOAB was so gracious to allow me to do so. I just never seem to have that kind of money sitting in my bank account without it being sent away to pay bills. I rode in the safety of a 1000+ group of people in the bike-a-thon last October, and I practiced by driving to safe places outside of the city with my bike crammed in the back seat of my car in the months prior. However, a couple of weeks ago, I realized how ridiculous it is to invest in a bike like that to use it only once a year. It deserves to be ridden all over town. I’m being green and saving some green of my own by doing so.

I rode to my mom’s house last week, and at first she was impressed. Then came the lecturing. It was too hot. Well, I had water. It was too dangerous. Well, everything in life is dangerous, and I can’t live in a bubble. It was a silly thing to do. Well, sometimes I’m bored and have to do silly things for my own sanity. It felt great to ride that far and in the traffic of the city. It was a little accomplishment. When you are fighting to accomplish the big things in life and finding nothing but obstacles, little accomplishments fucking matter. I was covered in sweat and my hair was matted, but I felt rejuvenated. She wanted to go to Whole Foods, so she gave me a hair cut and styled it as much as it could be styled, and we were off. I hoped that I didn’t smell too bad after sweating.

I rode again a few more times, the most recent being today. I got up early so that maybe it wouldn’t be in the triple digits when I started. Of course, my early isn’t that early. It was 9:30 am by the time I left my house with my bandanna around my head underneath my helmet and my backpack securely fastened on my back. I had my half gallon water bottle with me, so I was ready to take on the heat and traffic. 9:30 am on a Saturday, the traffic was bad and the sun was beating down on me. However, the wind gave me sweet relief as I zipped down the small hill on the main road headed to my destination. I got to the red light where I had to turn, and I prayed “Please don’t let them hit me” the whole time I turned right into the main intersection. I made it, and there was a wider shoulder for me to ride through on this road. Then, an extra lane appeared and a truck veered over a little too close to me. I panicked and headed for the sidewalk almost tipping my bike over in the process. I got onto the sidewalk and stopped for a moment to gain back my senses. I could see Hastings, my destination, just a few down on the right. I continued on the sidewalk, feeling much safer away from the traffic. I turned into the parking lot and parked my bike next to the building. I have yet to purchase a bike lock, and honestly it’s only worth it if you aren’t planning on being gone long. I had a cheap Wal-Mart bike stolen a few years ago from my apartment, and it was locked to the stairwell. Those ass-holes really worked to get that bike. I hope they wrecked on it. Okay, that was probably a bit harsh, but I was seriously pissed about that.

Anyway, so I decided to stay in the outdoor seating area and read the book I’d brought with me, Jane Austen’s Emma. It’s a romantic comedy from late 18th century England. It’s surprisingly funny, and it causes me to randomly speak in the dialect of that time. So, there I was, enjoying my book on this beautiful day when an old man started trying to make small talk. Seriously, dude, I’m reading. You can see that. Then, he starts to smoke. I cough in hopes that he’ll get the hint, but he doesn’t. At least he stopped talking to me. Then, a woman sits down and starts smoking while talking on the phone. I stopped, breathed deeply, coughed, and decided to keep reading for a bit longer. They would leave at some point, and the cigarette wouldn’t last forever. They eventually wandered off, and I was left there, in this perfect moment by myself.

I peddled back after realizing all that I have to do today. I once again savoured the coolness of the wind as I rode down the street, and I had to cross the street twice this time. I crossed over with no problems. I had to be on the right side of the road. Then, I sat for what seemed like 10 minutes at the next intersection. The light turned green so I went, completely forgetting all of the people turning left and right, all turning where I was crossing. Shit, I’m going to get hit, and it’s going to be my fault. I had already started crossing, so I couldn’t stop. “Sorry, I misjudged,” I said to no one in particular. I approached the street safe and sound, and I realized that I was being too uptight about it. I see cyclists all of the time riding right in the traffic. I think if I stay on the shoulder and follow basic traffic laws, my chances of getting ran over and having my body splattered all over the intersection are fairly small. Like I said before, you can’t live in a bubble all your life. So, I am going to keep riding, as safely as possible.


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