Maniac or Moron?

Inspired by Kent, my second post to CBB is the introductory “About Me” post to establish my bona fides (or lack thereof).

I think the ultimate conceit of any cycling blogger — especially one who writes about commuting — is that anybody actually pays attention to what passes for advice. I think many of us that have been commuting by bike for a while pretty much have it figured out. It’s not rocket science, after all. Most of us know that a quality bike results in a better commute. You’ve figured out how to dress for the weather. You know how to find a good route that avoids the nasty roads.

Many of us tend to be fairly opinionated, whether we blog or not. Take the lane or ride on the MUP? Helmet or no? Run the stop signs or ride strictly legal? Mountain, road, or hybrid bike for city riding?

So a little about me: I’ve been a year-round, all-season bike commuter since the mid-80s. When I lived in Texas, I once had something like 100 straight days of 90° F+ heat on my 20+ mile commute from Irving, across the DFW Airport perimeter road, through the Mid Cities of Euless, Bedford, and Hurst and to my home in Haltom City. My shorts and jersey were literally white with salt from my sweat.

In central Illinois, I commuted 20+ miles from my small town home across thousands of acres of corn and beans to my high tech job in the city. I’d duck in fear from my exposure during sudden lightning storms, and I learned what worked — and didn’t work — while biking through blizzards and extreme cold, down to minus 40 degrees.

When I moved to Colorado, I intentionally chose a house within reasonable biking distance to work. I learned to appreciate year-round mild weather. I bought a mountain bike and mounted a studded tire for the few days of the year we have snow and ice.

Now I’m in California, which is approaching a transportational cyclist’s dream land. Bike commuters are everywhere, and motorists in the Bay Area expect to see us and are, for the most part, courteous to cyclists.

I’ve been doing this for a while, but I hope I don’t ever think I have it all figured out. I tend to have the narrow, hard-headed personality of many bike commuters, but my aim is to come to this with an open mind and I hope you do too. For example, I used to think bikes are the only way to get around, but today I ride public transportation almost every day (with the bike to get me the last couple of miles). I never understood the utility of fenders until the past couple of years. The other day, I disclosed the joy of riding slow, which many of you already knew about.

In case you didn’t follow the link to Kent’s blog, he mentions George Carlin’s famous quip about morons and maniacs — anybody driving slower than you is a moron, anyone faster than you is a maniac. As cyclists, some of us also categorize everybody except ourselves as morons or maniacs. Let’s see if we can all stretch ourselves a little. I hope to become a little more maniacal and a little more moronic in the year 2007.

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