This is a short piece on bicycle commuting in Austin that rings very true. I need to get me one of those horns he's talking about. The thing about sidewalks though.. if there's sidestreets and driveways I'll agree you're better off on the road. But on a long open stretch like where Lamar flanks Shoal Creek - you'd be a fool to risk the narrow lanes when the sidewalk is right there. You give me lanes wide enough and drivers not so hell bent on shaving 1/10 sec. off their commute, and I'll cede the sidewalk to the pedestrians.
Better yet just widen it out a bit, paint in a line and we can keep everyone happy.
While I'm here: 4 way stops. Drivers, thank you for being so gracious as to wave me through, but please just let the system work. If you and I both follow the rules, there'll be no surprises and we'll be on our way in no time.
Cyclists. If you're on the road, the rules apply to you too. Weaving through traffic, launching through red lights, forcing cars to slow to let you cross - these things piss people off. When I'm the next cyclist behind you they've no idea what I'm going to do and I'm suddenly the bad guy. All I did was choose to cycle that day.
Cyclists. If you're on the sidewalk - don't be an asshole. Don't swoosh past people, don't make them step aside. Slow to a jogging pace if you need to pass.
Right on red: which murderous planner conceived of this? How can timing pedestrians crossing with turning traffic be ok?
Riding in the dark. We all get caught without lights, or without batteries sometimes. But know that if you're not lit up, you're practically invisible after dusk. I prefer a white helmet for these reasons... still need to get me a good jacket or stripes/
Paniers or saddle bags: you have no idea how nice it is not to have a bag on your back until you've tried them. No more awkward weight and sweat patches; you can cart a towel, change of clothes, spare tube and tools plus the work papers and lunch back and forth without thinking about it. If you get creative with the bungee cords, you can pack the groceries in there too.
Bugs: dusk brings bugs, especially near green patches. What do people do about bugs? A mask? It's hard to hold your course when you're choking on bugs.