The One About Hands Free Summer Cycling and Drivers Who Don’t Understand Circles

Riding hands free feels great but I usually don’t even try it unless I’m on the trail. City streets are a too unpredictable for me to take my hands off the handlebars. I saw a biker last week who clued me in to how it’s done in the city: ride against traffic! This way you can see the cars approaching and can switch to using hands when needed.  Here’s video:

Today on the ride home I was digging the reduced humidity. Riding through less water has to make the ride easier. Less friction perhaps? Anyway, the ride was great and by the time I crossed the DC/MD border I knew I was home free. Not so lucky today.

As I approached the Mount Rainier traffic circle in the left lane I was scanning for cars already in the circle. No cars were there but there was a driver in the right lane who was also scanning for traffic before entering. We both decided it’s free so it’s go time. We simultaneously enter the circle in our own lanes and the driver of the SUV starts to cut me off. There isn’t anywhere to go except the curb or to slam my breaks which doesn’t seem smart (no time to see what’s behind me) so I yell out, “Hey! Watch out!!” She then scoots back into her lane and she continues traveling east on Route 1 while I continue to ride in the circle and exit on 34th.

So, lady in the black SUV, please don’t change lanes in the tiny traffic circle. It’s a two lane road not a single road for your SUV. If you must change lanes, don’t do it without looking to see if someone is there. I have a flashing headlight, a day-glow orange bike and an orange safety vest. I’m visible but you do have to look outside of your automobile.

2 thoughts on “The One About Hands Free Summer Cycling and Drivers Who Don’t Understand Circles

  1. Hey Evan!

    Just saw you on a NYT video about camera cyclists. and wanted to warn you about the way you are using you camera on your forehead. Wouldn’t it be better to use a helmet mount (on top of you helmet)? If you fall with your forehead straight to the ground you might get really hurt because those GoPros are pretty stiff!

    Cheers and keep up the good work!

    1. Good point about falling face forward.

      I was going to do that but my helmet has so many curves that I couldn’t find a spot to securely affix it. If I had a smooth front to my helmet I’d stick it up there.

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