Should bicycling in the city be stressful?


Should bicycling in the city be stressful?:

It’s Thursday about 2:00pm.  The weather is very hot, about 95% humidity with temperatures in the high 80’s.  The dark grey skies looked as though the thunder, lightning and rain is about to let loose.  I cut my bike workout short.  The traffic is heavy especially on Maxwell.  Yates elementary school is off of Maxwell.  The fleet of school buses is on the move heading to Yates.  In addition to the buses and cars, parents are huddled on the corners waiting to give comfort to their love ones as they get off the bus.

Biking in the city is not a great stress relief.  City biking does help improve alertness, reflexes, and to keep focus in a 360 degree radius. The stress I encompass is coming to an intersection.  The light is green my way. Traffic is coming against me.  I wonder.  Do I take a chance if the car coming toward me is going to go straight or will it turn?  The car doesn’t indicate it will turn; just as I am ready to cross, the driver sees me and then turns on the signal.  Emergency braking, I pull on both rear and front brakes at the same time and come to a screeching halt in a stand up position.

I try to ride on the pavement if at all possible; even that is a challenge.  I need to be alert for broken glass; sometimes I don’t see it until I am almost on top of it.  One time I came upon some pieces of glass and had to quickly turn the handle bar to avoid the tiny shards of glass.  I barely miss the glass, only to come within inches of hitting a fire hydrant.

Other times you have people walking with their ear buds on listening to what ever, anything but to me.   I slowly come behind them and I call out “Coming to your left” Sure enough they look startled and do a quick move to the their left, then another quick step to their right.   It looks almost like a dance step.  They apologize and I smile and say no problem.

By R. Smith

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