The unofficial frenemies list of Toronto cyclists
Guest blog by Cassandra Kardos
My bicycle has really changed my life. I see the world differently because of it. I am on a bicycle in my dreams when I sleep. Sometimes I jolt awake because I hit a pedestrian or Purolator truck in sleepy world.
Some people think my bike is my boyfriend (I would tell you this is not true but I don't want to hurt its feelings). When I can't bike I feel like my legs are missing. I save quite a bit of money thanks to it. It is probably my most useful possession, one for which I am most grateful.
Here are some of my quick thoughts about the bike and my relationship to it in the city right now.
Friends of Cassandra on a bike
Alleyways: shortcuts make me feel bad ass.
Late nights: no cars, open road.
Slanty bits on sidewalks: Onto the road and off of the road. They are like an outstretched hand saying "come hither" as they allow you to swerve away from angry traffic and back on to the road at the right time. Sweet sweet little ramps, oh how I love you. [Eds Note: dandyhorse supports rolled curbs! Make Toronto accessible.]
Smooth pavement: Feels so good.
Optimal wind conditions: Like an angel that carries me on its wings to my destination.
Other cyclists when someone is injured in transit: They have come to my rescue at lightning speed and in those moments they are my comrades. They are fellow bicycle warriors who know the trials that a cyclist must endure. It’s so beautiful.
Enemies of Cassandra on a bike
Poor wind conditions: This can make what would be a five minute commute into an hour long battle against an invisible hand that pushes you in every direction except for the one you are trying to go in.
Streetcar tracks: Anyone who has ever been stuck in these knows there is nothing more terrifying.
Other cyclists (much of the time): My nemesis (nemeseses?). Oh, the road rage that ensues. I find myself taking part in scenes that could be out of Mad Max. However it’s not always the fault of other cyclists, it’s my fragile ego that gets crushed every time someone passes me.
Pedestrians: It’s as if bicycles don’t exist to them. They never look, they just walk like zombies out in front of you as if you are a ghost who will just pass on through them like vapour.
Taxi cabs: I am pretty sure these guys score points for every cyclist they almost or successfully kill. Some sort of sick game.
Potholes: Self explanatory. They are death traps and I curse the city every time I hit one and end up hurting myself.
Teenagers: Just … just yeah. Sometimes young’uns think it’s funny to push their friends into bicycle traffic. It’s freakin' hilarious.
Pigeons: They really like to fly at my face or make me swerve into traffic. I think they must conspire about it. Maybe they working together with the cab drivers.
Police: FUCK DA POLICE. (Note to self: I should remember my bike lights.)
Ice patches: They work wonders for your prayer life. Do not hit the brakes, and do not pedal if you want to live.
Rain: Pretty obvious, though I do relish in how bad ass it feels to be that one crazy person still on their bike during a downpour. I probably just look like an idiot though.
Anyone who gets too close: Cars, other cyclists, maybe the occasional horse. These moments of terror leave me angry and grateful that I still have my life. However, I am guilty of getting a little too close to others on the road so if you see me doing this, feel free to yell at me…or run me down, if you can catch me that is.
Bicycle yuppies: The folks who travel in packs and bike for sport. They are all so shiny and spandexy, it’s annoying. They are not truly my enemies, I am just jealous that I am not a part of their high-speed, aerodynamic clan.
Frenemies of Cassandra on a bike
Winter: Snow sucks, but it means less cyclists on the road.
Bicycle lanes: They feel safer, but they attract other cyclists. I h*te other cyclists.
Construction: Construction sites can sometimes mean going places cars cannot. Sometimes they are deceptive death traps.
Bike Mechanics: They save my life, for a price of course. Also they tend to be arrogant. I still love them though.
Bicycle paths: See "bike lanes."
Residential streets: Sometimes they have less traffic which is always nice.
Big freaking hills: Going up them I kind of want to die, coming down them I wonder if I am going to live but you still might catch me grinning in adrenaline-fulled bliss.
Cassandra Kardos is a student who relies on her bicycle to go anywhere and everywhere, especially on unnecessary and lengthy journeys. Having used a bicycle to get around for the past eight years she is now fused to her bicycle and has become a human/bicycle hybrid.
Do you have a bicycle-related rant to share? Email firstname.lastname@example.org and we might publish it. Next up: How to react when catcalled on your bike.
Related on the dandyBLOG:
COMING SOON: What to do if you get catcalled on your bicycle.