Thursday, July 19, 2012

Who loves cyclists?

There are odd, cyclist-hating people running around these days.

Yesterday, I was cycling home from work, taking a different route to stop at a small organic market. Part of that route involved a one-way-road going ... not my way. So I used the walkway for about 20m. No living human being was using the walkway. There was just one bored waitress standing next to it, near the tables of the cafe she's apparently working in. Doing nothing. Just as I approached her, she started to move ... sloooowly, across the walkway, got a menu, and moved back ... sloooowly ... which was just the moment I had reached her. At which point she stopped, looked at me - I looked back, smiled - and she told me to get off the bike, because I'm not allowed to drive my bike on the walkway.
I continued driving without having said anything. I had no heart for a discussion, since she didn't seem like a person with whom discussing makes much sense.

Of course, she's right. But granted that there was no one using the street, I wasn't running over or endangering anybody, and granted that I share the bike lanes with:
- cars
- lorries
- pedestrians
- joggers
- roller skaters
- skateboarders and
- wheelchair users
I'm inclined to see certain roads as shared space and not privately owned by certain types of roadusers.
And, let's be honest, this whole thinking of "This is my stuff and this is your stuff and don't touch my stuff or I'll be angry" has made this world a somewhat annoying place to live in already.

But that was yesterday. Today is a different story.

A story I still don't understand...
I was cycling to work. Fully legally on a small road that is used by pedestrians, dog owners (yes, they are their own category), cyclists and - very occasionally and in a restricted way - cars. So I was cycling, and at some point I noticed a man somewhat ahead of me. First he was walking, then he stopped. I came closer. He turned around. Still I came closer. Then he lifted his fist in a quite menacing way, as if he wanted to punch me or throw a stone at me.
"Hm", I thought, giving him the benefit of the doubt. "I'll just try and see if I get hit by a stone."
I didn't get hit, neither by a stone nor by a fist. But as I drove past him, he yelled "Drive nicely!!!"
Nope, I wasn't going particularly fast. I'm not a speed biker, I'm a pleasure biker. A pleasure biker who has no clue what's up with people these days...

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Hellfire reloaded

And here they came. I knew there was something wrong with not sweating like hell at 30 degrees on a bike. Today, the last 500 metres, I was dripping. The last 500 metres is basically 5 minutes up a hill. The reason why is because today there was a carrotmob in Linz in 7 shops. So I bought two pairs of linen trousers for my vacation in Japan (30 degrees will be heaven over there), some foodstuff and borrowed, ahem, 10 books from the library. Thus I had some additional weight on me. Nevertheless, I was full of endorphines from the nice carrotmob-shops (and the books!). They all offered free carrot cake :D

Monday, July 02, 2012

In the fires of hell

It's hot. Since I'm currently learning Japanese, that would be あついです。 Temperatures are at 33 degrees Celsius, plus or minus 4 degrees. I expected to DIE, cycling home from work today. I didn't. Actually, I enjoyed it quite a bit. Mostly the bike is moving by itself, and there is WIND. How awesome is that? Granted, the last 800 metres were a bit tougher and less fun, because they go uphill. But the rest of my 8 kilometres were more than enjoyable. I can do with more fires of hell, if they feel like this.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

There's nothing better...

...than getting a radiant smile from a fellow cyclist on the way home from work.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Bike quotes

'When I go biking I am mentally far, far away from civilisation. The world is breaking someone else's heart.' Diane Ackerman 'When the spirits are low. When the day appears dark. When work becomes monotonous. When hope seems hardly worth having. Just mount a bicycle and go out for a spin down the road, without thought on anything but the ride you are taking.' Arthur Conan Doyle 'Think of bicycles as rideable art that can just about save the world.' Grant Peterson All of these quotes are great ... but this one might fit me best: 'Get a bicycle. You will not regret it, if you live.' Mark Twain Gotta love sentences that start with "if" ;-)

Thursday, April 26, 2012


I think I've managed two weeks of biking without almost crashing into anything (well, except for two schoolgirls, but they weren't looking, so it was their fault). I also saw someone today who was cycling worse than me. That must mean I'm improving. Yay. There've been lots of people running in the past week, probably because of the Linz marathon. It's also been raining a couple of days, so I missed out on two days of biking. Which just makes me happier when I can finally get on the bike again. Two things I've noticed: - I'm becoming much more considerate for the needs of cyclists now (e.g. when I'm walking) and try to make space for them in areas where I know it can get crowded and annoying (even when I'm not seeing any cyclists). Everybody should switch between driving by car, by bike, walking and taking public transport, just to know the needs and obstacles of other people. That surely would improve the tolerance on the streets. - I'm saving shitloads of money. Because I'm not stopping at the bakery or the supermarket on the way home or to work, I've spent 100 Euro less on food this month!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


I've been pondering on the greatest dangers to the urban biker:

- Cars
- Pedestrians
- The street itself (border stones, I hate you)
- Road works

My bet is on the last point. All crashes and near-crashes I've had so fare were due to road works. My second bet is on the street itself - sometimes combined with cars. Usually cars that block the bikelane. They certainly make biking more of a hassle. I think for the next election, I'm rooting for the party that promises to provide a better biking infrastructure.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Born for biking

Willkommen zurück.

Seit einer Woche fahre ich Rad. Das war mein Neujahrsvorsatz. Diverse Faktoren haben dafür gesorgt, dass ich mit Stichtag 26. März damit anfing, mit dem Rad in die Arbeit zu fahren. Das schöne Wetter war ein Punkt dabei.

Das Fazit der letzten Woche:
- Beim Radfahren bekomme ich viel stärker mit, wieviel Leben es in den Straßen von Linz gibt. Und das überträgt sich. Freude schöner Götterfunken könnte mein Soundtrack für jede Fahrt sein.
- Bisherige Abschlussliste: 2 Kinder (eines zu Fuß, eines am Rad) und ein Taxi

Die Kollision mit dem Taxi war heute. Es lag nicht daran, dass mein Bruder mir am Wochenende sagte "Fahr auf der Straße, nicht am Gehweg. Die Autos haben viel mehr Angst vor dir als du vor ihnen." Ich war tatsächlich dabei, von der Straße auf den Radweg zu wechseln, als mir der Randstein in die Quere kam - und ich auf dem Taxi, das halb hinter dem Radweg stand, landete. Der Taxifahrer war ein echter österreichischer Kerl. Kümmerte sich natürlich sofort um sein Auto. Wenn mir eine junge, attraktive Rothaarige auf der Motorhaube landen würde, wäre mein Auto nicht meine erste Sorge.

Mal sehen, was ich noch so ramme. In der Palliativmedizin heißt es, man soll nicht dem Leben mehr Tage geben, sondern den Tagen mehr Leben. Für's Radfahren gilt wohl das selbe Motto.