Since I have been an avid cyclist for too many years to count, I find myself, from time to time, in a position to pass along bits of information which can be beneficial to people who are new to the cycling environment. I am by no means a cycling “expert” but I am told by many that my advice is very informative and, in some instances, when recited in court, has proven to have helped people avoid being convicted of criminal charges by reason of insanity. My “Don’t Ride Your Bike While Hooked to an IV Bottle” defense, to date, has been used a total of 27 times by pedestrians who were tripped or strangled while walking down the street.
But space will not allow me to carry on about all of my courtroom victories. There are new issues to cover, and none more serious that the one I’m going to be discussing in this article: Bike Riding While Carrying Sharp, Pointy Objects.
When riding your bike in a double pace line and carrying a pair of scissors in your hand, DO NOT USE THE NORMAL HAND POSITIONS WHEN SIGNALING FOR TURNS! Doing this could prove quite harmful to the rider next to you (depending, of course, on which way you are turning and on which side the rider is – but why take the chance that your brain is going to figure all of that out in mere split seconds?) This rule also applies even if you are carrying that little kiddy-type, rounded end, plastic scissors. If you are accustomed to riding while carrying scissors but do not know what a double pace line looks like, then see to it that you ride completely by yourself until you have gained a little more cycling experience in group riding. In fact, once other cyclists see that you are riding while carrying a pair of scissors in your hand, you should expect to hear helpful, instructional comments such as, “Get the heck away from our group you total idiot!” The same consideration should be given if you find that you frequently ride your bike and carry such things as a fork, a garden spade, a letter opener, a metal spatula (most cyclists will be somewhat forgiving if you are carrying the easily bendable, plastic spatula), a fire place poker, a knife, a rope, a candle holder, a revolver, a lead pipe, or an ax. (What am I saying? Who would be stupid enough to carry an ax while they are riding a bike?”)
While on the subject of sharp objects, let me also say: be extremely careful when riding your bike in your bedroom if you are holding a sharp object (such as the pair of scissors mentioned above) – especially if you are riding your bike on the bed and jumping up and down at the same time. (Many track cyclists practice this, I’m told.) This can be very dangerous! If you were to lose your balance or accidentally come unclipped from your pedal, you most probably would POKE BOTH OF YOUR EYES OUT!
To quote my idol, Dave Barry, “I’m not making this up!” – Last year in Duluth, Minnesota, two teenage boys were riding their mountain bikes while jumping up and down on a trampoline. When dinner was ready, instead of calling them into the house, their mother brought their dinner out to them while they were still riding their bikes on the trampoline. Usually this would have been no problem for the boys to ride, jump, and eat all at the same time. Unfortunately, this time their mother had fixed steak fingers, carrot sticks, and asparagus spears for dinner and, after a couple of attempts of trying to eat this dangerous food, sure enough, you guessed it – THEY BOTH POKED OUT THEIR EYES!
Well, okay – maybe I did make part of that up. Actually they had sloppy Joes, mashed potatoes, and boiled okra and they just ended up making a big mess. But still – food got all in their chains and derailleurs; all over the brake calipers – it was a horrible sight. They both wished that they would have had their eyes poked out instead!
Enjoy the ride!
(Note: If you have any cycling questions or an issue that you would like to discuss with Bertha Ashtabula, you can email her at BAshtabula@gmail.com. Please be prepared to take any or all of her responses with a grain – or two – of salt. More On Cycling would also like to take this opportunity to stress SAFE cycling and does not recommend any sport which involves riding a bicycle while carrying a pair of scissors, regardless of whether they are the sharp, pointy kind or not.)