the falls (sometimes literal) of biking

So yesterday I was the advocate of biking to work and everywhere else I could, but as I was biking home, I was thinking that I’d be amiss if I didn’t share some of the negatives biking has to offer, too, speaking mainly from my experiences this year.

First, and possibly the most obvious, is the weather. If it was always clear skies, this would be no problem, but that’s obviously not the case. Although I’ve definitely done some biking in the rain, I don’t recommend it. The worst case scenario is that you bike somewhere and then while you’re there/before you return home, the rain comes and it won’t be stopping any time soon. If you’re @ work, you might be able to leave the bike there and get a ride/take the bus home and pick the bike up the next day. If you’re out and about, though, (or just don’t care about getting wet,) you just have to grin and bear it, knowing that once you do get home you’ll be able to put on some dry clothes. In any case, because you can never fully predict the weather, you have to be ready and willing to get a little wet sometimes.

The unpredictability of weather also means you can’t always count on riding a bike. For me, that usually meant getting up a little bit earlier in case it was raining and I needed to take the bus (which is actually slower than biking when you add the walk to the bus stop and the wait for it to arrive). When planning on biking somewhere in advance, you must either be flexible enough to change the date and/or time of the trip or have the ability to find an alternate means of transportation should biking prove impossible.

And like a car, your bike can break down unexpectedly. One morning after I had filled up my tires with air, I arrived @ my bike to realize one of the tires had popped (I probably filled it too full). Luckily we had a spare bike I was able to ride, but there’s always the possibility that your bike may break down wherever you might be and you’ll have to figure out how to fix it or get it to storage — I guess this is similar to what can happen to a car, so maybe it’s not so bad after all.

And then there is the possibility of an accident. Unlike the situations when you’re riding in a car, if you happen to be in a bike accident, especially when you’re sharing the road with cars, there’s really no such thing as a fender bender. My personal experience was early in the year when I was using a cross walk and the front tire of my bike was run over by a man trying to make a turn. I got his number and information but didn’t report the accident and was never reimbursed for the cost of my repairs. My housemate Aaron has had worse experiences, wrecking a few times because of the bad pavement and was recently also clipped by a car, causing him some minor yet still severe injuries and severely damaging his bike. It is dangerous to bike on roads, and one must always follow traffic laws and WEAR A HELMET!

Maybe I’ll add some more later, but that’s all for now. I still think the benefits outweigh the possible negatives, but there are always two sides to every coin, so I thought I’d give those to you here.

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One Response to the falls (sometimes literal) of biking

  1. eric bjorlin says:

    As a side note, when I tried to leave work after writing this, my front tire was flat and I had to take the bus where I needed to go. This is the kind of think I was trying to avoid by writing the whole “what can go wrong when biking” post. Isn’t irony grand?

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