Biking USA – Orlando Style


Many of you know that I ride a bike to and from work. Pretty much I ride a bike everywhere that I need to go. You may also know that Orlando, where I live, is not what I’d call a biker-friendly city. Few places in America are. And the alternatives to using an automobile for commuting are few. Mass transit here exists but is largely a joke when trying to reach most places. But that’s a subject for another blog.

This time we are focusing on the experience of riding a bike in O-town. And since road rage for a biker could very easily turn into road rash I thought a more passive aggressive approach might be best for venting some of my frustrations with my commutes.

  1. Shards of glass from broken bottles. I’m not certain why it is necessary for some people to break bottles on the sidewalk but it is enough of a problem that there are at least a couple of mine fields I have to navigate in my commute. A few times I have halted and brushed the glass into the grass , which I’m sure presents an entirely different hazard for someone or something walking along the side of the walkways.
  2. Wild animal obstacles such as deer, armadillos, tortoises, cranes and – my personal favoraite, – kamakazi geckos. Unlike the cute little guy in the Geico commercials, these are small lizards that regardless which side of sidewalk Ithey happen to be on and whichever side of the sidewalk I am riding my bike, they will invariably make a mad dash to the side furthest from them thus exposing them to the great probability of being run over. I really try to avoid them as I do not like harming any living thing but sometimes its unavoidable and the carcass becomes a feast for the ants that I see the next day as I ride through. Yet, undaunted other geckos play their version of frogger, which we will call Lizzer, with my bike tires.
  3. No matter the direction iI raide it is always into the wind. Yes, I get it that if I am doing twenty miles per hour that means that even on a calm day that is at least a twenty mile-per-hour headwind. But it always seems the wind is actually blowing in my face even when I stop the bike.
  4. Pedestrians sharing the sidewalk tend to be text messaging or wearing earbuds – sometimes both – and not paying ay attention to my calling for their attention so that I can safely pass by them. Then they seem upset that I scared them or that I would dare use the same sidewalk they walk on for riding a bike. Well, you talk to the city about putting in bike lanes. I’ve tried. They claim they need to have enough biker demand in an area to justify it but I feel it is more a matter that if they built the lane more people might use bikes for short trips. Heaven forbid that a city might be laid out with some intelligence for that the people who live in it are not totally dependent on automobiles. Again, that’s a subject for another blog.
  5. Spider webs in the dark are a periodic hazard that allows me to demonstrate my superior no-hand bike pedaling ninja skills. Unfortunately it is also dark and very few people have ever witnessed the spectacle. It is quite impressive though.
  6. Trees branches overhanging the sidewalk are largely invisible in the dark, even with a bike light. They are just low enough for me to run my head into because the people who maintain the landscape trim the trees to accommodate those on foot and people who are not basketball players.
  7. Other bikers and/or joggers coming the opposite direction are also a problem, especially if the sidewalk is narrow. It’s hard to judge distance and whether there is enough room, so usually one, the other of both take to the grass and hope that there isn’t any of the aforementioned shards of broken glass hidden.
  8. School Crossing guards with school kids in the queue present one of those strange situations. If you wait to cross with the kids the drivers who are waiting look at you funny. What’s a fifty-something man doing going to school anyway?
  9. The busier intersections having walk lights that cycle whenever the oncoming traffic is halted. And then the countdown starts when you are in the middle of the intersections as if to subtly say hurry up your slow ass. Cars wanting to make a right turn on red think the biker is waiting to cross in front of them so they sit miffed that I’m not going with the light – in the other direction – before it occurs to them that I am waiting..
  10. And my favorite, the 9:30 PM pup chase. You see, my neighbor lets his two dogs out to do their business and if I happen to come home around that time, both dogs give chase. They have ambitions of catching me, though I’m not sure they would know what to do with me. Refer back to my ninja skills. One of the dogs has long enough legs to give a decent pursuit provided he was in better shape. The other’s legs are shorter than his grand ambitions of catching me.

There you have it., the ten things I least like bout riding my bike to and from work.

Me crop 2

#biking #commute #humor #alternativetransportation

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