There is an episode of the old television series Bonanza where Ben Cartwright and his sons travel to another town to sell cattle where events there perpetuate “alternative facts.” They arrive in town without cash due to a robbery, so the locals think they're destitute. Hoss is tricked into drinking a high alcohol beverage and causes a disturbance so he must be a worthless drunk. The deception culminates when Ben is lured to a barn, knocked unconscious, and hung by a rope to look like suicide.
For everyone to get along on the road there are a series of rules of the road that apply to both motorists and cyclists. Examples of rules include riding on the right side of the road, passing on the left, signaling intentions, obeying traffic signals, and yielding to pedestrians in cross walks. But there is also etiquette not codified in law that we do to help each other out. Examples are providing directions when someone asks and offering to assist if someone has a mechanical problem. With the advent of COVID-19 and our way of life changing there is some new cycling etiquette that we can adopt that will not only help each other out but may save lives:
Did you know that a bicycle is about 6 feet long? This means by riding a bike and keeping a few feet away in front, behind, and beside you, you can easily meet the current public health guidance of keeping a 6 feet distance from others to reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19. Of course, while on a bike, besides the 6-foot distance to be safe it is good to continue to use regular cycling best practices of obeying traffic laws, being alert and being predictable.
During this unprecedented time of uncertainty, there is one certainty—cycling makes sense! Whether you are riding to work, the grocery store, to a restaurant for take-out, or just for some exercise, riding a bike allows you to avoid crowded buses and subways, touch fewer public surfaces, and ditch the car. Now that that it is Springtime, it is great to be outdoors!
Guidelines recommend solo riding, or if with others, to keep a reasonable distance.
One of the most well-known names in bicycling is Schwinn and the fact that the Schwinn company was founded and the bikes manufactured in Chicago makes it extra special to us. According to Mike Santomauro, Working Bikes volunteer and board member, and Trevor Clarke, Executive Director, speakers at the March 11 Chicago Cycling Club meeting, an initiative focusing on Schwinns has resulted in the refurbishment of over 350 donated Schwinn bikes that have been accumulating in their basement. These bikes are now available to return to the streets of Chicago.
In the National Public Radio (NPR) podcast “How I Built This” the host, Guy Raz, always asks the entrepreneur at the end of the interview whether they attribute their success to luck or hard work, intelligence and skill. It always surprises me when a guest says they were just lucky, i.e. they were in the right place at the right time, it happened by chance, or they were mysteriously born under a lucky star.
St Patrick’s day is coming and we will be celebrating Irish history and culture and trying to find a Leprechaun to get some of that famous Irish luck. If you find yourself stepping over cracks in sidewalks, throwing salt over your shoulder, and saying “rabbit, rabbit, rabbit” on the first day of the month then you might be like cyclists who have habits they believe gives them luck on the bike. Here are some of the superstitions of professional bicycle racers:
When Corey Trager was hiking alone on the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) along stretches where he did not see more than one person the entire day what did he think about? At the Evanston Bicycle Club meeting on Feb. 18, 2020 he confessed that his thoughts went in two directions, one was to the comfort food he planned to enjoy at his next supply stop and the other was hearing the Jeopardy theme song "Think!" in his head.
At the Chicago Area Bicycle Dealers Association (CABDA) 2020 midwest bicycle industry show on Feb. 12-13 bicycle retailers walked through the exhibit hall, met bicycle suppliers and spied new products. Following are 5 that I selected as new and worth taking notice of:
In the movie The Last Crusade Indiana Jones is after the Holy Grail, and what better place to hide it than in an ornately carved sandstone temple façade which dates back to the first century AD in Jordan? The Al Khazneh, in Petra, Jordan is a real-life place known as "The Treasury." Just like Indiana Jones, Thomas Berube and his nephew visited this tourist attraction in Petra, Jordan getting in touch with their inner Indiana Jones. Thomas shared photos and stories of his trip with the Chicago Cycling Club at its Feb. 12 meeting.
Sharon Kaminecki and others comment on adventures in bicycling and other stories