It seems like most people I meet along the road to work have the rules for bike commuting pretty well figured out, in fact, most of my research comes from observing the natives. Just in case though, I thought I'd outline some of my research so that others may benefit.
1) Kharma doesn't work
Buddha was a smart dude, but he had it wrong, kharma doesn't work... As such if you ever see someone broken down on the side of the road with a flat, or pushing their bike on a flat, you should never ask if they need help or if they have everything they need. It won't come back to you some day and the last thing you want to do is waste a patch and 5 minutes of your time.
The one exception would be a hot chick who has it all under control, by all means stop for her and hang around in the spandex. Bonus points occur when you mention you were doing CP12 intervals that your coach prescribed, but you felt strong enough that you were doing them at CP6 intensity.
2) Never say hi
On the road, cyclists are about as loved by drivers as GW Bush would be at a Save the environment rally. So it makes sense that you should never say hi to other cyclists as you go by them, from either direction. Sometimes a cordial wave is ok, but waving is like turning on your blinker before you turn when someone is waiting at an intersection, it shows weakness and you must avoid that. Saying hi also takes precious energy and might throw you above your heart rate zone, you don't want that! The absolute best scenario is just to stare straight ahead and pretend like no one is there.
3) Everything is a race
Let's face it, competition is in our blood, and there is evidence of competitions of great magnitude throughout the ancients. So it makes sense that we carry on the tradition at every opportunity. Someone stops at a light with you, make sure to clip in and beat them across the street. A hill is coming up, keep looking back to see if they are gaining. When all else fails...
4) Remember the 3 Amigos
This is really an extension of rule #3, but it's also a segway in to rule #5. Do you remember the scene in 3 Amigos where El Guapo tells Martin Short, Chevy Chase, and Steve Martin that they will die like dogs? No? Let me highlight it for you.
3 Amigos: Tell us we will die like dogs
El Guapo:...You will die like dogs
3 Amigos: No we will fight like lions
Remember this one when you are out there making everything a race. Chase someone down even if they are faster than you. As you catch them at the limit of what you can do, STAND and HAMMER! Put some distance on them. When they maintain a constant speed and catch you again, well, it's time to resort to #5.
5) Never admit defeat
If someone catches you as you are riding along and violates rule #2 by saying hi, be sure to mention that you rode 300 miles in the last two days and have a big sprint day tomorrow that you are resting up for. The ride today is an easy spin to stretch out your legs. If the other rider persists in talking to you and you are out of breath, mention "this is my corner" at the next intersection and turn off.
There you have the bulk of my research thus far. I am sure there is much more to be learned and I am anxious to complete my studies.
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