My bicycle commute shall inconvenience no one.
This is a fundamental principle that all Business Casual Bikers should hold close to their incredibly healthy hearts. Remember that you as an everyday bicycle commuter are rolling in the benefits of your bicycle nirvana. You are getting valuable fresh air to breath every morning and afternoon; you are getting obligatory, stress reducing exercise everyday; you are never waiting in seemingly endless bumper to bumper traffic jams; you are not blowing any smog out of your tailpipe; you are not needlessly spending your hard-earned money on fuel and car maintenance. I could go on forever (and I plan to on this blog). Because you are reaping all of these benefits every day, you are in a perfect position to tolerate a small amount of inconvenience. Thus, I strongly recommend that you do not pass any inconvenience on to anybody else.
The possibilities of the inconvenience factor may creep in when, for example, something unexpected happens. Let us say you have a flat tire and you are 10 miles into you 14 mile jaunt home from the office. Your options include:
OPTION 1. Walk
OPTION 2. Take the bus (if you live in a city with this option)
OPTION 3. Call your significant other, family member, co-worker, etc. to pick you up
Note: There will be a future in-depth post on this blog to describe how to NEVER-EVER get a flat tire but I felt like releasing this post is a prerequisite for basically everything else.
Anyway, to abide by the Golden rule, OPTION 3 (call for a ride) is not generally an acceptable way to handle this situation.
OPTION 2, Take the bus: Remember, that as a BCB you have much more patience from all of your mostly stress free commutes and your laid back nature builds up over time so a minor, infrequent inconvenience can be handled with a shrug of the shoulders. I recommend that all BCB’s have at least a vague idea of which buses go where and approximately how often. If you happen to carry a cellular telephone with data features, you can use Google Maps and choose the public transit option that will give you the most efficient transit route home.
OPTION 1, walk: If you live in a city without a bus anywhere near you or if you are me, you would just walk home. A four mile walk is a light stroll that gives you a form of exercise that you might not otherwise undertake. But more importantly, you get the opportunity to observe the route that you normally ride from a different perspective. This can be a surprisingly valuable experience if you take the same route every day. You might find a shorter way than what you normally take. If time permits, just walk.
OPTION 3: The caveat to OPTION 1 is of course if you violate the Golden Rule (My bicycle commute shall inconvenience no one) taking too long to get home. Let’s say that your spouse has made dinner or is expecting you to make dinner. If I know this is the case I might allow for someone to pick me up. On one such instance, I actually hailed a cab (which was really lucky for the area I was in) and made it home approximately on schedule.
The Golden Rule should have an influence on basically all actions one takes while bicycle commuting so feel free to apply the rule broadly. Consider your interactions with cars: Some bicycle riders assume that they are entitled to as much of the road as a car would take. I DO NOT like this attitude and I hope that as the calm, cool, collective BCB that you are, you will agree with me that we can ride as far to the edge of the road as possible and even consider pulling over to allow cars to go by if the road is too narrow for the car to safely pass. There is no reason to further stress out the already stressed-out folks behind the steering wheel stalking your back side.
I don’t think that all bikes need to stop at all STOP signs all the time. This is more of a Silver Rule kind of issue (I hate to keep saying this but stay tuned), but the Golden Rule of course applies in all areas of the BCB life so if a car-driver really thinks its his or her turn to go, give them the Business Casual Bikers go-ahead wave.
As one of the inaugural posts of the Business Casual Biker website, I hope that this article sets the tone for the rest of the website. Thank you very much for choosing to read what I write and feel free to leave any comments below. I am particularly interested in other ways others have applied the Golden Rule in their commute.