Lunch in Midtown, or Why Can’t We All Just Get Along?

Yesterday I rode my bike from the office to lunch for the first time (I don’t go out for lunch a lot, and when I do, it’s often within walking distance). A 1.7-mile ride isn’t far, and though temps were only in the high 30s it was nice to get out in the middle of the day.

Jerusalem Cafe

Jerusalem Cafe

The restaurant* had such a great mural on the side that I had to take a picture. Unfortunately, they had no bike parking.

The best I could do. Pinkie didn't get towed.

The best I could do. Pinkie didn't get towed.

The ride was through a busy part of town (down 24th, across West End, down Elliston onto Church, for those interested)  and I was the only cyclist I saw. Cars were  courteous and gave me lots of space, but I couldn’t help feeling like a curiosity. The ride was quick and I arrived in about the same amount of time as my friend who came by car.

On the way back I took 21st through Vandy and it was a different story. Just as many lights, just as much traffic, but drivers seemed impatient with me (probably because the lanes were barely wide enough to fit both a bike and a car, though there were two in each direction so they could have gone around). I heard some students talking about how I shouldn’t be on the road as they walked past me while I was at a red light. I got fed up with dirty looks and being ZOOMED around angrily and walked my bike for a couple of blocks at one point.

I do my best not to see cars and bikes as enemies, but rides like this make it difficult. I ride my  bike because I enjoy it, not to prove something, but sometimes I do feel like I am a stand-in for all cyclists as we try to stake a claim to just a small part of the city streets. Sharing the road is not a problem for me, whether I’m in my car or on my bike. I wish everyone felt the same. Unfortunately there are some roads better left untraveled by bike, and this is one of them.

*on a brighter note, the $7.99 lunch buffet was excellent. Highly recommend the lamb and rice, hummus and lentil soup.

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5 thoughts on “Lunch in Midtown, or Why Can’t We All Just Get Along?

  1. msdottie says:

    I am so mad at the a-holes who caused you to walk your bike. I’ve retreated to the sidewalk a couple of times, too, when things got too hairy. Some people are simply mean people, but I think many others could be reformed if they tried riding a bike every now and then. Too many drivers don’t understand how it feels to ride a bike in traffic.

    Great picture; fits the theme well.

  2. Jennie says:

    That is so rude Trish! Do you think that maybe if they started adding bike questions to driving license tests things may get better? I just don’t think people are that informed.

  3. parker says:

    riding through nashville as a commuter or a roadie can be difficult at times especially when cruising down some of our more narrow roads.
    i get pretty angry sometimes when people honk, yell, or get too close but it’s the way things are. working to raise awareness, and trying to make sure your tax dollars are getting spent on things like bike lanes and greenways are ways to help.
    walk/bike nashville works hard with local goverment to make some of these things a reality.
    but the main thing is to just keep riding. the more we’re all out there the more visible we’ll become!

  4. parker says:

    oh yeah, and jerusalem’s is awesome!

  5. Trisha says:

    You’re absolutely right on both counts, Parker — getting out there is the best way to be an advocate. And really, Nashville drivers are extremely courteous 90% of the time.

    And yes, Jen, I think a lot of it does come from people not being aware that bikes have a right to be on the road and not the sidewalk.

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