I am terrified of my bike
For those of you who don’t follow us religiously (what’s wrong with you?), I recently bought a new bike, which is its own story. (I did replace the bike, thanks to Two, with the exact same thing).
I love my bike. I think it’s beautiful, with it’s lovely pannier and rack and light, it makes me so stinking happy just to see it. But I’m terrified by it, so I’ve ridden it so very little. Poor, sad bike.
See, I grew up in southwestern Virginia in the middle of no stinking where. Rush hour traffic doesn’t exist, traffic jams happen when you get behind a tractor, and I’ve seen multiple folks riding to the store on their lawn mower. It’s perfectly acceptable to let your kid run around all day, riding their bikes up and down the river, and you don’t have to worry about their safety.
And that’s what I did growing up, Nessa lived pretty far away, Justin was further, and the only logical way of hanging out was to bike it. I grew up on my white and blue bike, then graduated to a lime green mountain bike. But 16 came around and I got a truck (an amazing, antique, red-orange truck, I might add), and I feel out of the practice of biking. Then I went to college, to a small campus, lived on campus, and the process of unlocking a bike and locking it back up would have taken longer than actually walking to class. Radford was not a biking school (and, i’m not going to lie, it’s really stinking hilly, and we’re lazy). I got out of the practice of biking.
Flash forward ten years and I have huge bike lust. Atlanta is relatively flat, compared to the Blue Ridge Mountains, and I love the speed and agility of biking. And darn it, I wanna be a cool kid, too! However, I’m so mortally scared of biking in this city that I’ve ridden very little in the two months I’ve actually had my bike. In fact, I think I’ve ridden twice. I make lots of excuses. It’s too hot. It’ll be faster if I drive. I don’t have a stinking bike rack anymore. Truth be told, it’s because I’m afraid of riding on the streets, and I live no where near a bike path. I live on the I-85 access road for crying out loud, I might die!
Last weekend a cyclist was doored, causing the 23 year old girl, who rode her bike everywhere, to be hit by a bus. To make matters worse, the woman who hit her left, saying it wasn’t her fault. To be doored is just what it sounds, the woman opened her car door as the cyclist was riding by, knocking her off her bike and into the bus. She died at the scene; the driver went to a baby shower.
People in cars don’t care about people on bikes, they see cyclists as nuisances. I’ve seen many drivers yell at cyclists, telling them to get out of the way, off the streets, etc. And in the war between cars and bikes, cars win. It never works out well for the bike. I’ve been there, I was hit by a car in high school, and trust me, the car, which ran a stop sign, didn’t feel a thing.
So until I can work through my irrational fear of biking in Atlanta, or they start adding a lot more bike lanes and get rid of all the cars, me and the bike will have a love/ hate relationship. I love her, but I hate myself for never riding her.