Every day for me is a mini miracle.

My husband may not know this but cycling to work (to downtown Calgary) is a rather large risk I take twice a day. I have zero bike paths that I can ride on to get to work. On my way home, I get to ride on the 10th Ave SW bike lane for 2 blocks. I have to “share” the road.

I ride for multiple reasons but here’s my mini list:

  • I don’t get nauseous on my bike. Taking the bus, even for the short 15-20 min ride, can ruin my morning with nausea. I often get off the bus early if I take it home and walk the rest of the way.
  • I don’t have to wait for the bus. I don’t have to run for the bus. I don’t have to stand up on the bus.
  • It’s cheaper than taking the bus.
  • I get a teeny bit of exercise every day. I do have to go up UP 8th St on the way home!
  • Peer pressure. I’ll admit it. Many people in my office cycle and I really had no excuse not to. It only takes me 20 mins to get to/from the office.
  • I can leave work whenever I want to go home. I can leave the house whenever I’m ready to go.
  • It makes me feel better than I’m not contributing to more emissions…  Although it will take a while for me to make up for the manufacturing of my bike but we’ll forget about that for the moment!

(Just to clarify! I do take the bus a lot… I am very good at getting to all corners of the city on the bus. 😉 I can also be found on the CTrain a couple of times a month. But, given the choice, I’ll choose the bike.)

Today I had three close calls. It was a BAD cycling day.

Dear drivers,

I ride a bicycle. I am smaller than you. I cannot go as fast as you. I am allowed to be on the road. I do not believe myself superior to your driving a vehicle but do expect to be treated with a ounce of respect.

Please do not vroom and urch. This is the maneuver where you squeeze by me at rather high speed, only to come to a complete stop right in front of me. This particular maneuver not only scares the living daylights out of me, but is completely unsafe for both of us. If the light is red, please don’t vroom and urch. Go around me when it’s safe. I’ll see you at every red light anyway so save the extra gas instead of revving the engine..

Please don’t drive so close to me. Today, an SUV came within 6 inches of my handlebars. I know that because I felt the air compress and my heart skip several beats and my life flash before my eyes. It’s a good thing I’m pretty calm on my bike because if I had panicked, I could either careen into you, careen into the parked car on my right, or slam on my breaks which would also cause my bike to swerve. Please don’t do this. I value my life. I don’t think you want to live your life knowing you killed me by getting too close.

Please don’t try to turn right or speed across the intersection immediately in front of me. I may ride slower than a car but trust me, I’m going faster than you think. Today I had a car proceed in front of me from a stop sign. I had the right of way. I slammed on my brakes and yelled at you.  If you are that driver, please consider that if I was not so lucky, I would have been under your car or have run into your car. As it was, I didn’t miss it by much and there are skid marks on the street to prove it. I know you had to wait for the car that was ahead of me to clear the intersection but I was right behind that car and you could NOT fit between that car and me to cross the intersection, no matter how small you thought your SUV was.

Please don’t block the bike lanes. PLEASE! Pretty pretty please!! We have a bike lane on the north side of 10th Ave SW in the afternoons. Today there was a parked car. That meant the hundreds of cyclists that head through there had to merge into heavy traffic to get around the parked car. Also, PLEASE don’t pull out into the bike lane to make illegal left turns.  Yes, you know who you are too. I’m the cyclist with the pretty blue bike and the very loud pink shirt that you decided you needed to pull in front of, block the bike lane, and cause me to give you the evil eye. I yelled at you inside my head and considered hitting my fist on the side of your car as I was close enough to do that. Do not block the bike lanes!!!

Drivers. My bicycle and I are not going away. I love riding my bike! It gives me tremendous freedom to get from home to work to the library to the ice cream shop. Thousands of people bicycle downtown each and every day. There are more people cycling now that I can ever remember. We have to live together. We are not going away. Just think about how bad the traffic would be if those thousands of people decided to DRIVE to work instead of CYCLE to work every day.

Drivers. Consider riding your bike to work or to the store or anywhere! Maybe you will love it and start riding more. Maybe you’ll understand how there is nothing between you and the pavement and how scary it is when cars vroom and urch. I do my absolute best to share the road with you but when you scare me, it’s hard for me to be sympathetic.

I hope I make it tomorrow.