Flying Solo

26 Feb

2012-02-26 14.09.02

My first ten years of biking ((1990-1999) were almost exclusively by myself and because there weren’t many people riding then in general, particularly in the early-mid 90’s, I got harassed a fair (read: unfair) amount.

After I started biking with my boyfriend, now husband Mark, that all changed. I actually was amazed how much it changed. I always knew I got harassed in part because I was female (partly too because cyclists were rare creatures then and drivers didn’t know what to make of us on the road), dressed in snug clothing, usually riding alone, but I didn’t realize how true that was until I started riding with Mark.

And yes all those solo male cyclists were also wearing snug clothing, taking up space on the road that drivers felt entitled to, interestingly none of them had the kind of vulgar comments yelled at them that I had yelled at me.

The experiences of first riding alone and then with Mark were like night and day. It was and is rare that we get yelled at, passed too closely, and safe to say not one sexual slur. Not quite cycling utopia, but a welcome relief after all those years of that type of harassment and worse.

Fast forward to today: My first solo ride in quite a while on the road (not trails) without my biking buddy and nothing unpleasant until I was almost home.

The jerk that laid on his horn and passed me ever so closely didn’t take the joy I felt away but it did remind me of how things used to be. I should add that for the most part drivers here are very courteous and respectful towards us. We show them the same type of respect and courtesy by riding predictably and stopping at stops signs and red lights. Oklahoma law requires that drivers give a cyclist at least 3 feet of clearance when passing and in the last couple of years a good amount of signage reminding drivers of this law has helped.

The fact is many more people bike now than when I first started and with more cyclists on the roads the safer it is for all of us: drivers, cyclists and pedestrians.

Today was a beautiful day, and I enjoyed my 2 hour ride but I really missed my partner. It’s much more fun to share things like a bike ride with your best friend.

Hope you were able to get out and enjoy your bike.

3 Responses to “Flying Solo”

  1. Bobby Carpenter March 20, 2012 at 6:39 am #

    Catching up on some of your post. This was a nice read. Great job!

    • Susan March 21, 2012 at 10:53 am #

      Thanks, Bobby!

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