The Middle Finger

This picture, unfortunately, is only a set-up and I did not ride my bike with friends on my front and rear racks. But I do want to practice carrying someone on my rear rack. I know it can be done, but it’s a balance issue that I need to work on.

Bike Taxi

Bike Taxi

I rode my bike out last night to Schubas to see Lenka. Again, I was the only one in my group on a bike. I got quite a few comments from strangers, probably because I was in a pedestrian-busy party area. Riding down Broadway a guy said to his friend, That is the most awesome bike ever. While taking the picture above a guy in a van called out, Nice ride! While unlocking my bike, a guy walking by said, You’re not going to ride that are you? It’s a gorgeous bike, but it’s not safe. Ride on the sidewalk. I was all smiles and thank yous, but being told what to do by a random man is high on my list of annoyances. It was 2 a.m. but by then I was very close to home and there were plenty of people out and about. About 90% of the cars on the road were cabs, which means not many drunk drivers.

Bike Parking

Bike Parking

Even though my ride home was short, I broke my most sacred cycling rule – never flip off a driver. I try to stay positive and not sink to their level, which helps me enjoy riding a lot more and hopefully fosters a more positive relationship between drivers and cyclists. But I’m no angel. A cabbie passed me on a narrow one-way street closer than I’ve ever been passed before – a couple inches closer and he would have knocked me down. Before I knew it, my middle finger was up. Maybe it was the three pints of Bass I’d had; maybe he just deserved it. I’ll try to be better from now on. But overall, a fun night.

For Trisha’s benefit, I will tag this post “beer.” It fits.

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18 thoughts on “The Middle Finger

  1. Trisha says:

    Yikes! sounds like he deserved it to me. I’m glad I’m not the only one who has to tether her bike to parking meters and street signs on occasion, btw.

  2. The pic with the sparkle is cool. Too bad it’s not an action shot. That would really be something to see. I too, am very familiar with being the only rider in the group, especially in the winter. But the parking is usually so much closer.

    Also, good reminder on giving women I don’t know, advice.

    I think you did the right thing in giving him the finger. He earned it.

  3. Double yikes! Three pints of beer + an angry ride in the dark.

  4. MelissaHopeS says:

    It was a little weird sitting on the front of that thing but once I was on there, it felt pretty safe. I tried to sit on the back, too and that was no problemo.

  5. Johnny says:

    Hey, if all you did was give him the finger for almost flattening you, you might congratulate yourself on showing restraint. :)

    (I know people who would have done much worse, as I am tempted to do very often.)

  6. msdottie says:

    It’s okay, Gordon, three beers in five hours for me is hardly BUI. And it’s never that dark in Chicago.

    Melissa, from now on we’re going to practice every time you come over :)

  7. meligrosa says:

    what a story, rollecoaster of comments :P
    anyways, love your outfit!!

  8. Val says:

    Passenger tip: when giving someone a ride on the rear rack, have them sit sidesadddle, with both feet on one side of the bike. It will be much more comfortable for them, and they will be able to get on and off much more easily. Not only that, but they will be able to see better, rather than staring at the middle of your back (not that it would be a bad view, just unchanging), and it is actually easier to balance that way. I learned all this by watching many Dutch riders and passengers – they know what they’re doing.

  9. msdottie says:

    Thanks for the tips, Val! I’m totally going to try this :)

  10. Just to add a little to Val’s wise advice: Unless the passenger is very light this is best done with a rolling start. First bring the bike to a walking pace and then the passenger walks/jogs alongside and hops on the carrier, perhaps with an arm at your waist or on the carrier for steadying. Passenger hops off whenever you must stop and then back on when you begin again. Little hills and bridges are basically the same drill except that you continue riding. A very good passenger will jog along and push a little to get you over the hill.

    I assume this is all totally illegal in the US but who cares?

    Have fun.

  11. Alex says:

    I realize I don’t know you, but I was just reading this post and I myself have been trying to learn to ride passengers on my rear rack after getting back from europe.
    I already have a rack, but should I buy a new, heftier one?

  12. Alex,
    Pretty much the only rear racks strong enough for an adult passenger are the ones found on Dutch bikes, old Chinese bikes and perhaps some special delivery bikes from elsewhere. Try this with most carriers and you’ll soon have a bent or broken carrier, but of course without a suitable rear wheel you’ll also be rebuilding that too.

  13. cycler says:

    Can we get someone to start importing Steco racks to the US? they’re cheap, they’re sturdier than anything you can get here, they look great with a vintage bike.
    I bought mine in Barcelona after about a year of trying to find a place to order one where the shipping wasn’t more than the rack!

  14. Cycler,
    Henry from WorkCycles here. You’ve got that right about Steco racks. They make most of the front and rear carriers for the quality Dutch bikes (including Azor and WorkCycles, but also many Gazelle and Batavus). We’re now going to begin distributing them in the US and Canada.

  15. cycler says:

    Does that mean that the shops that import Azors (Clever cycles and the Seattle and Chicago Dutch bicycle companies will be able to get them?) they weren’t getting anything except the front carrier last I asked, which is why I got mine when I went on vacation.
    I almost routed my flight through Amsterdam in order to be able to get a Steco! Fortunately I found a shop that carried them in Barcelona.

  16. Cycler,
    We’ll make Steco carriers and accessories available to all WorkCycles dealers and then it’s up to them to actually buy them. The Pickup frame-mounted front carrier, the “PTT” rear carrier on the Oma, Opa and friends, and the lighter-duty rear carrier of the Secret Service are all made by Steco by the way.

    Just to note all of the “Azors” imported to the US are technically “WorkCycles”… assembled by Azor. That’s why they don’t correspond to any models found in the Azor catalog. The super-strong wheels and many other specs are from WorkCycles.

    Some WorkCycles models the US dealer sell such as the Fr8’s are made in another factory, also in the Netherlands.

    I’m guessing you found your carrier at Bike Tech in Barcelona, which is owned by an expat Dutchman.

  17. Cycler says:

    I did get it at Bike Tech, which I knew was owned by a dutchman, but I never met him except via email as he wasn’t around when I came to pick it up.

    I’m glad to hear that- I had emailed clever cycles about getting an azor rear rack a long time ago, and they said that all they could get was the front carrier.
    Now when people ask me about my rack, I can tell them where to get their own without a trip to Europe.

  18. eli says:

    Hey Henry!
    Not sure if you’ll even get this, since this post was from so long ago…
    I’m probably going to buy one of your beautiful SS’s from the nice folks at My Dutch Bike in SF in the next couple of months, and I’m wondering about the rear rack. I know it’s not quite as heavy-duty as the Oma or the Opa, but would it be strong enough to carry a 140-lb person? It’s not a deal-breaker, it’d just be fun for my boyfriend and I to try it out.

    Thanks, and cheers!
    Eli

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