The Good & The Bad: Biking in PDX when it’s sunny

When I wake up to sunshine and blue sky, it makes me really (really) happy. For starters, I don’t have to load on all the extra gear to bike into work, shoe covers, raincoat that doesn’t ventilate properly, rain tarp for my bag. It’s very nice to not have to worry about all that stuff… yet at the same time, I get this sense of dread: it’s sunny = 100x more cyclists on the road.

Don’t me wrong – I like the fact that nice weather causes people to ditch the bus and cars in favor of the bike. It’s the huge number of people who bike in Portland that allow for policy change, road infrastructure development to include cycling lanes, safer intersections and lights. At the same time, it also means more people who don’t normally bike are on the road – and often they have little regard for “cycling etiquette” and sometimes, blatant road rules. This takes me back to many of the “13 things I’ve learned…” post.

Take for instance, the tall dude wearing loafers this morning on my commute in. First off, I passed him. When someone passes you, they probably have been gaining distance for some time and should remain, in fact, ahead of you. Another hint that Loafer McGee was being an idiot – rather than see cyclists come to a complete stop and unclip for a STOP sign, Loafer McGee just CRUISED right on past with no regard to the cyclists obeying traffic laws OR potential oncoming traffic at the 4-way intersection. Now the stop sign is relatively new (for at least a month now), so Loafer McGee might not have realized it was there… way to bike in an oblivion. But above that, there were 2 cyclists unclipped and waiting their turn to go when he shot passed us. No, the lucky bastard didn’t get hit by a car (though I wish he had at least a bit of a scare put into him), but perhaps tomorrow his douchiness won’t be so lucky.

Aside from Loafer McGee, summers are the best to ride in yet the worst if you are like me: impatient, speedy, hate waiting for slow cyclists to get into the right gear at an intersection, and overall do not enjoy overcrowded bike lanes.

Reasons I Love / Hate Summer Cycling:

1. I get yelled at more during nicer weather because fair-weather cyclists hate being passed within any proximity (sorry, learn to go faster)

2. Less-experienced cyclists for one reason or another tend to think they are above stop lights / signs and the obvious queue of cyclists. No – you don’t get to cut in line – didn’t they teach you anything in kindergarten?

3. I love not having to wear so much rain-gear… it makes me feel feathery and light

4. I don’t have to slow down as much around the corners

5. Passing becomes a major pain in the ass.

6. I refuse to put one of those little annoying bells on my bike. If I’m squeezing by you with little room, I’ll at least (in the sweetest voice I can muster) let you know I’m on your left. And then I will show you what it’s like to ride in the right hand side of the lane

7. I do sweat more, which doesn’t bode well for going into work…

8. I start to plan out various times to bike to and from work so I can miss the droves of cyclists all biking home.

At the end of the day, I really do wish I was one of those patient cyclists who could mosey along without a single mind that I’m getting passed, hitting every red light and happy to go 10 mph. But I’m not. I ride my bike because it’s faster than riding the bus, not because I like to mosey along. (Photo below is about 5 more people than normal at that intersection…)

 

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