- Blood and bike parts all over the road are bad for the cause, always, no matter how cool you looked upon entering the intersection.
- Pissing off Mr. & Mrs. Average Motorhead inspires them to join Mr Anonymous on his comment rants, stand up and fulminate against bike infrastructure at city council meetings, and yell nasty things while buzzing the next cyclist they see, which might be me or Gina. Worse yet, it turns them against ever trying to get on a bike themselves.
- Question: What's the difference between an arrogant jerk in an SUV and an arrogant jerk on a bicycle? Answer: 4,000 pounds, and not a damn thing else.
But I did get a hint from several encounters over the past two weeks.
In each case, I was riding along a road with numerous controlled intersections, heading across town on my trusty Bottecchia fixie. In each case I ended up in the company of fellow riders going the same way. Some were on road bikes, some on hipster fixies, all were in their mid to late twenties. And all were blowing red lights, repeatedly, for miles on end.
How did I know they were doing this? Because, despite my habit of waiting at red lights till they turn green, I repeatedly caught up with them at the next red light. Which they ran. For miles on end.
It finally penetrated my aging brain: They were slow! They couldn't match the acceleration and cruising speed of a scrawny 57-year-old on a fixed-gear. That must be why they kept running reds, stupid as it is. They were just desperately slow.
It seems to me that the answer, then, is not running reds, but getting some legs. Isn't it?
Of just not hurrying so damned much.
One way or another, I hope they figure it out.
Because a cycling culture is a terrible thing to waste.