Saturday, July 9, 2011

No George Bailey moment for me

In the classic Jimmy Stewart movie It's a Wonderful Life, banker George Bailey, in a fit of depression, decides he's worth more dead than alive and contemplates jumping off a bridge. Though I've fought the gloomies a time or two myself, and know I'm well insured, I have no plans to call it in early and off myself.

This further extends to my propensity to ride a bicycle in traffic on a regular basis. No, that's not a death wish, it's a cantankerous streak. I'm out there to make a point, to inform people about cycling. I want people to see me. I want people to know that some of us do use bicycles to get around. I want to be seen in the less likely places, the suburbs, the shopping malls, busy multi-lane thoroughfares. The more people see me and others like me, the less likely they will see another cyclist as strange and unusual. The more that drivers see another cyclist on the road with them, especially in an odd place or at an odd time of day or weather condition, the more accustomed they will get to dealing with that.

To some extent this is an ambassadorial tendency, a desire to set a good example for cyclists. To a similar extent it is also a badass tendency, a willingness to get out there with an in-your-face-ness, in essence saying too bad that I'm slowing you down four whole seconds on your headlong rush at 15 over the posted speed limit like the majority of drivers do.

Whichever the case, I do it more effectively as a breathing cyclist than as a spot on the pavement. If I do end up as moosh, let's just say it was not what I had planned.