I settle the bicyclist vs. driver argument

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That’s me on the right not participating in STP 2010. Participation will change this year; the outfit likely will not.

By Michael Harthorne

Seattleites, I’m officially one of you now.

True, I’ve lived in Seattle all my 25 years, except for a brief stint in Bellingham – the “Private Practice” to Seattle’s “Grey’s Anatomy” (my girlfriend was in charge of the TV last night). But, something has always been missing.

Well, no more! I recently purchased a bicycle and am now training for July’s Seattle to Portland ride (STP to cool cyclists like me).
By getting back on a bicycle, I finally put an end to a 15-year tantrum I had been throwing following a ego-scarring family bike ride in 1996. I told them those gear shifts didn’t work.
Now, when I read about references to Mayor McSchwinn (good one, Internet commenters)  or cyclist-hating drivers or hipsters on fixies, I think, “Me too.” It warms my heart to finally have a dog in this fight.
All this is to say, I have finally settled the popular bicyclist vs. driver debate. It turns out, as is often the case with two groups who are hyper-passionate about something, both drivers and cyclists need to settle down.
During a ride from Fremont to Mercer Island and back last weekend, a few cars honked at me or drove by too fast and too close. But, I also watched cyclists blow through stoplights and stop signs or fail to signal (I may or may not have been guilty of that one or many times, as well).
So now that I am a definitive cycling expert (six rides in the last 15 years!), let me officially come down on the side of everybody relaxing about drivers vs. cyclists, and let’s talk about something much more important: spandex.
I may now be a true Seattleite, but I will not be wearing spandex. This aversion comes from another ego-scarring experience (I’ve had many). It’s a long story, but it involves high school, a crew uniform, a cold morning and an ex-girlfriend. Actually, that’s the whole story.
I spent the long ride to Mercer Island and back in cargo shorts and a hoodie, my new official bike-riding ensemble. Aerodynamics, breathability, water-proofness: these are for chumps like Lance Armstrong or some other famous cyclist (there’s probably one in France or Italy, right?).
To recap: Bicyclists vs. drivers? Debate over. Spandex? Open season.

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