Wednesday, May 23, 2007


The day after racquetball is not a biking day. The legs are very, very sore, from heel to quads. A friend needed a ride which put me on the road between the bike and car commute usual times. This is where I saw the "new guy" on a bike. He was obviously comfortable riding, wearing a shoulder bag and riding a faux mountain bike.

What struck me was his lack of awareness of his surrounding. His comfort was not from commuting. The best guess is a bmx rider in his younger days. On the commute, there is one section, between a quarter and half mile that if there is going to be an incident, it would be here. The three foot fog line fades to the edge of the road. Here the vehicles cruise at around 40-45MPH. It's the most likely place a biker would get squeezed. This 20 something commuter was without a helmet, which is neither here nor there. It was the headphones.

As stated, he seemed not to have a care in the world, but also he was really enjoying whatever he was listening to. Sitting back in the saddle, one hand on the handlebar, and was weaving just so slightly, to the music, and was oblivious to his impending predicament.

The no helmet and the headphones are his choices and if he is willing to do that fine. However, there are times when it is very very foolish, and riding adjustments need to be made. Then again, maybe he did realize the spot he now found himself and adjusted to his new surrounding. Lets hope so.


  1. people jogging or riding on the MUP with headphones, hogging it by taking the middle, cheese me off a good deal. I'm thinking of getting another compressed air horn to use for these nincompoops whose tunes you can hear thumping out of their tinny headphones from 20 feet behind them.

    One thing is certain, they'll never hear "on your left!" or the more appropriate "Quit hogging the path!"

    I predict you won't see that guy many more times. Tuning out your senses to the whizzing-by of two-ton steel missiles does not make them any less present. On a side note, without a helmet, his demise will likely be quick and painless.

  2. Hope he learns, to live and ride another day.

  3. I sometimes use head phones when in SF, but I ride differently. I use my eyes, go slow and hide from cars. Sometimes I stay on the sidewalk.

    When it looks risky -- I pull them out.

    I never use noise cancelling or blocking head phones on a bike.



  4. One word - insane.

    or actually - deathwish.

    Apart from safety issues, I don't understand the incessant use of headphones while riding, etc. I enjoy hearing the world around me. Being part of your surroundings is part of the joy of the bike.