The Zow of Grim

I can clean up pretty good sometimes. This is me.

and this is my whip.

Venturenaught: Krankenberry

And this is my backup whip.

Leisurenaught: Calypso

I don’t ride fast. I like being on my bike too much to rush things. Everything that I believe about biking can be summed up by the Road Hierarchy Pyramid.

The Equestrian is a bit of a wild card, I know.

I ride my bike between 50 and 100 miles a week. My area of travel is mostly focused to the northwest of Greater Boston. Without fail, though, every weekday, twice a day I commute through Porter Square

Porter Square: amazing photo by John Whittington

Harvard Square

Harvard Square: photographer unknown

and Coolidge Corner

Coolidge Corner, Brookline: photographer unknown

My route sends me over pedestrian walking bridges, through four lane intersections, around rotaries – you name it, I do it. I see the best and worst of people on this journey – mostly drivers, but also pedestrians and cyclists. Think of me as a scientist. Every day I conduct the same experiment, and every day I observe the outcome. I myself am the only constant in this equation: I take the same route, I follow the same rules (rules of my own devising, I’ll get more into that), and I do it at the same time every day. With this information I hope to create a realistic picture of exactly what it’s like out there for your average cyclist on the roads of Metro Boston.

I stop at red lights – all of them. Whether I stay stopped depends on circumstance. Would it be safer for me to proceed and get out of the way, or to stay put? I stop for all pedestrians, regardless of the lights or crosswalks. I even make a concerted effort to stop when they step out ten feet in front of me when I’m doing 12 miles an hour. I don’t make that much of an effort to hold my tongue at that point, however. I don’t have a bell, so I yell quite a lot. I refuse to ride on the sidewalk, no matter how many people command me to do so from the windows of passing vehicles. I will break this rule only to gain access to a ramp or bike path, and then at walking speed or if the only alternative is riding in highway traffic with no shoulder. These are my own personal rules for myself. I don’t expect other cyclists to follow them, because everyone has a different riding style, and I think that’s just fine. I do expect drivers to respect the rules of the road, because no matter what driving ’style’ you rock, you’re still piloting a vehicle that weighs more than a ton. My bike, though a bit on the husky side (shh, you’ll hurt her feelings!), weighs less than a large dog. Even with me on it, carrying full messenger bag, we don’t break 200lb, so I’d have to be going pretty fast (which, as I said, I don’t) to do much damage to anyone aside from small children and the elderly. Highly threatening, I know! Just wait until I make myself a pair of Carpunching Gauntlets. ( +3 vs Paint Job, +5 vs Side View Mirrors)

Tally Ho!