Polite Pedaller: Proper riding etiquette advice

The Polite Pedaller: Proper Riding Etiquette from the dandyARCHIVE

Illustration by Chucky Cent

Double up

I ride my bike every day and feel lost without it. The other night I met a great guy. We went out to dinner and hit it off. But when we went to leave the restaurant I discovered, sadly, he did not have a bike … and I wasn’t about to walk home. Should I dump him or double him?

Signed, Lonely biker


Double up if you can! That’s what I always say, anyway. If you ride a big sturdy Dutch bike, putting your new beau sidesaddle on the back rack is an option. A slightly less safe route is to put him on your handlebars — like Snoop Dogg in the beginning of the Gin & Juice video. Of course, you could just walk home, then plan to convert him into a bikester inside the month. If he won’t pedal around town with you after you help him find a ride then cut the dumpy chump loose. (This reminds me, I have to get those homie haulers installed…).


Give the poor boy a chance. I mean, if he drives a gas-guzzling SUV then politely stop returning his calls. However, if he was simply planning on walking you home — a romantic gesture on a hot summer night — then you should take turns pushing the bike on your way. Maybe he is just waiting for you to invite him on a tandem ride!


Last Sunday I was riding with my tree-hugger friend Hannah and we stopped in the market for some groceries. The bike posts within sight were full, and the only place to lock up was to a boulevard tree. As I pushed my bike towards the skinny, slightly pathetic trunk, Hannah grabbed my seat and stopped me. She told me my U-lock would hurt the tree and insisted I hunt for another spot. I told her to go build a wooden bridge to jump off and get over it. I locked up, and carried on. Was I wrong?

Signed, T(r)eed off


Kensington is gnarly for bike parking, so if you found something that isn’t a patio railing or someone else’s bike then I say, go for it. Those poorly planted trees all die prematurely due to dehydration anyway. Be warned though; bike thieves in Toronto will stop at nothing — including cutting down a little tree to get your bike.


It is important to respect the feelings of others, especially in their presence. Ultimately, no one knows what that tree feels. More importantly (sorry Hannah), a defenseless tree can do nothing to stop a saw-wielding bike thief from snatching your ride and destroying your living bike post. Don’t be lazy: walk a little further to find a spot to lock up.

~ This installment of the Polite Pedaller originally appeared in dandyhorse issue #3 (Summer 2009) which you can find here ~

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