I find that my favorite rides are the ones that I return from being neither dead nor maimed. This is priority one for every single one of my rides, and so far, I have been fortunate enough to never been made dead. I try to accomplish this by avoiding heavily traveled roadways. If you look at the max of my rides on Strava, you will find that I pile up a lot of miles on the Saddle River Bike Path (SRBP). I do this for a few reasons: I get to yell at geese and scare them out of my way, I can monitor the goings on of the SRBP regulars (stern-faced, prematurely grey-haired guy has lost a lot of weight!), and I can add car-free miles to my training total. And while the SRBP is very enjoyable, it is unchallenging from a cycling standpoint, and every pretend bike racer knows that riding up hills is the key to mightiness.
In order to be mighty, it is imperative that one is not dead, and I’ve spent a lot of time developing strategies to avoid being dead. I use routes that don’t have a lot of traffic, I have the flexibility of schedule to ride at times where there’s not a lot of traffic and I ride very defensively, assuming the worst case scenarios from the drivers I encounter, which actually makes for a pleasant experience, as the overwhelming majority of drivers behave very rationally and in a manner that doesn’t make me a dead person.
And this is good, because it would undoubtedly be a bummer for all involved were I to become dead on a bike ride. My family and friends would probably miss me, stern-faced, prematurely grey-haired guy would have no one to show off his weight loss to and I assume there would be a real mess for the driver who hit me to clean up—I’m sure it’d be a pain to power wash away gooey bits of me and my pink bike clothes off the grill of a BMW, not to mention that the driver would probably have to file an insurance claim—what a hassle! I certainly wouldn’t want to go through all that. And I type that because I understand—this may come as a shock to some drivers—but I DRIVE TOO. Crazy, right? It’s as if I’m a person.
But that’s can happen when we’re all out on the road together, we foolishly separate ourselves into groups according to the mode of transportation we’re using instead of realizing that we’re all on our way somewhere together—you’re on your way to a colonoscopy or going to the store to stock up on pleated pants (these are the only times I drive, so I assume that’s what other people are up to), and I’m on my way to mightiness and to yell at geese I encounter on the bike path. We are travelers together, and the best way to arrive at any destination is not dead. So let us agree that we will not grind one another into pulp as we make our way to our destinations, because eventually we all have to get out and walk—and you wouldn’t want some lunatic on a bike to run you over, would you?