Stay the course and hold the line

It’s that time of year when more bikes start coming out. Cyclists are riding to work and lots of them are prepping for a tour with some big miles. Even if you’ll never kit up, pin a race number on, or turn a pedal in anger, some racer skills will help protect you and other cyclists. Flying around a blind corner, turning abruptly and other sketchy moves that’d take down a pack in a race can have the same effect at Seattle to Portland, on your commute, or an event in your area.

Last week, a woman was roaring down the Swing Bridge nearly right into me as I was coming up onto it (possibly setting a personal best on her commute). Later a commuter swung wide into a blind corner nearly clipping me and another came just whizzing out across the yellow line. I don’t know if it’s rusty skills, maybe they have no skills, or don’t care, but staying the course and holding your line is a good thing to do even if all you ever ride is a tourist bike path.


The yellow-line violator reminded me of a group we rode up onto once and the women went into a near panic because I was behind her. First it was nervous glances, then a “hey don’t ride so close” mixed with the insistence that she had a 3-ft quiet zone around her. “Cool with me,” I said and rolled on by. I also thought, maybe she should reconsider her sport of choice or not ride on roads where other cyclists ride.

Sure, sure, people can ride how they ride, but I think cyclists sometimes we forget how dangerous our sport is and at the very least, situational awareness applies. Example: we’ve got draw bridges in Seattle with metal grate decking that’s slick, hard to ride on, and has led to very serious bike crashes.

I cringe every time I see a cyclist riding that deck. Saw one just last week.

What’s the sketchiest thing you’ve seen on a ride?

Photo uploaded by pelleb