Converted from paper version of the Broad Ripple Gazette (v04n16)
Beats from a Broad Ripple Rat - by Lisa Battiston
posted: Aug. 10, 2007
If you know me, you know that I do not like bikes. As in bicycles. And it's a silly phobia, but ask anyone. You will not see Lisa Battiston on a bike.
When I was 9 years old, my then-7-year-old brother RJ and I were biking around our northern Kentucky suburb when he flipped over his handlebars and broke his right arm in a fluke accident involving his sandals and the bike chain. It was not pretty and there was a lot of crying and a lot of Big Sister Pride in running to go get help. I refused to ride my bike after that.
Until my family and I went to Maui several years ago when I was in high school. We had the fantastic idea to bike down an active volcano with a big touring group. It was fun and beautiful and fast and exciting.
Until the man biking down the volcano in front of me biked off the road and flipped into a hole (not THE volcano's hole, but A hole is still sort of a big deal). His face was all bloodied and. . . Well. I haven't been on a bike since.
So Ashley Plummer, your fearless associate editor and my roommate for the past five or so years, took up cycling about a year and a half ago. Little did I know the wonders of the sport. Well, I still don't know the wonders of the sport. She's often bugged me to get on a bike and go cycling down the Monon. Tempting, but no. The fear bestowed in me with all of these falling, bloody, biking people is a strong one I don't care to break.
Now, I really respect cyclists. Most of the time. Biking is a great transportation alternative, it's a great work out and, let's face it - it's just fun. If you really get into it, you can go out and buy lots of aerodynamic jerseys and shorts and you can even spend over a thousand dollars on a really sweet ride (this is where I kind of raise my eyebrow because, frankly, my car's worth a grand, and I seem a little confused, but, whatever).
But, okay, seriously. If you're going to be biking in the street, act like any other vehicle. I don't care how many of you there are, but if it's a 25 mph zone, you better be going 25. And if you're turning left, signal for god's sake. If you want to be treated like a vehicle, act like one. I can't count the number of times I've almost run into careless, cocky cyclists barreling into a turn with no warning, coming into traffic without looking and not stopping or slowing when they should.
I don't want to lump all cyclists together, though. When I just mentioned to Ashley what I was writing about, our other roommate's boyfriend burst out of a bedroom, crying, "WHAT?! Why do you hate cyclists?!" Okay, some cyclists (more than likely most) are very conscientious and getting run over is certainly on the forefront of their minds (or, rather, not getting run over). I suppose I'm speaking mostly to the fixie kids.
You know who you are. You yelled at Ashley when she didn't have the correct pant leg rolled up when cycling. You went out and bought a fixed gear just because all your friends had one. You started to cycle because everyone else was, because it was cool to, because it was fashionable. And you people are dangerous because I keep almost running over you.
However, this is an old topic. I still see a lot of the fixie kids not watching for my car, but most of them have talked about selling their expensive bikes for Vespas. Or they've gone beyond talking and actually have. Maybe with the Vespas you'll at least wear a helmet.
Hail the fashion fixie kids! But you know once you've joined a trend? It's already begun to end.