15 Sep 2009 9:00 am   //   Filed under: Bicycles

The elements of bicycle style

Note: I’m riding in the Bike MS ride on October 4 (info) and so every post this week is about biking!

Here are a few of my personal rules for cycling in the city:

Keep your bike in good repair. A well-maintained bike is a silent bike. Every sound indicates some loss of efficiency.

Similarly, a cyclist should be quiet. You should glide through the streets unnoticed, slipping between pedestrians and cars with the stealth of a night bird.

Have a bell. Pretend it isn’t there. Install it a few inches away from your thumb so you aren’t tempted to use it.

Ride happy and calm. Never try to teach anyone a lesson while you are on a bike; it will not work. Oblivious people do not deserve to be scolded, yelled at or given the finger. You are moving so quickly that their ignorance is a blip on your timeline.

Safety is your job. Watch out for yourself and for others who share the road. Expect no one to watch out for you.

Understand your bike. Know exactly where it can fit and how it can maneuver. Ride like a fighter pilot: fast and precise, always in absolute control.

Ride often. Ride in heat and rain, wind and darkness. Ride on and on. You are a bat. You are a laser-guided missile. You are a comic book hero. With great power comes great responsibility.