Powers of Observation

Thanks to the trend in the weather that continues this Spring towards higher temperatures the month of May is warm and dry. As I continue to bike ride everyday to St Paul and back the amount of bike riders is steadily increasing too based on my power of observation. With that thought in mind I began to ask myself “what good can we derive from observing others behaviors?” When the weather is nice like it is there are swarms of bike riders  as soon as the weather person declares its a perfect day. And what happens when there is a chance of rain showers? The streets and bike lanes are deserted.

Powers of Observation

A funny thing happens to me when I mix it up in the masses of bike riders during the months of the so-called bike season. I can get overwhelmed by some of the “shit” I see and hear on the streets.  That is in particular from bike riders who have a lot to learn about their own body and this tool called a bike.

Two instances stand out this week while waiting at a long traffic light. One involved an older woman who believed her hands would be strengthened by applying her weight as she gripped her riser handlebars. Why she thinks this is therapeutic is unknown. What she will do is injure herself if she continues. It’s like people who ride in too high a gear that think the harder it is too peddle the more work out they are getting. Wrong. Bike riding is about knowing your body, observing your surroundings and adjusting to dozens of variables in the terrain, weather and traffic flow.

A second scene at a traffic light with a young woman on a step through ten speed racer with a backpack and shoes dangling from it had come to a stop seated  with one leg barely grounded tippy toeing in pointy toed shoes to stay upright. I suggested she would be more comfortable if she moved forward off her seat with both feet planted on the ground. She reminded me of my own wife who is learning to bike ride. When she moved off her seat it seemed like a small victory until she explained that now getting back up would be a pain because of the loose gear she was lugging on her back would get caught up somehow. My bad. Anyhow, got her to think!

Every year in Minneapolis there are more women bike riders and more places for them to learn about bike riding that is gender specific. They can learn from one another and don’t feel like some guy is telling them what to do. So, my apology goes out to those women and men that get unwanted advice from me, cause sometimes I can’t help myself thinking you really care to improve your knowledge and one day become a daily bike rider like myself.


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