Yes, it's back to school time her the land of the Hub and Spoke. So, I just want to wish all my co-cyclers good luck navigating our pothole-infested streets, and shout all the following advice at you (or if you prefer, just read the law, for pete's sake):
1. GET A FRAKKIN' HELMET.
Okay, don't. Strengthen the gene pool by dying early because of your stupidity. Seriously, though, get a helmet. Please. Ninety-four percent of all disabling head injuries associated with cycling could have been prevented if the injured party had worn a helmet.
2. GET OFF THE FRAKKIN' SIDEWALK.
The sidewalk, people, is for PEDESTRIANS. Not cyclists. Your travel space is immidiately to the right of the vehicle, between the moving traffic and the parked cars. You are also allowed, by law, to be in the general flow of traffic, but you will get honked at more frequently.
3. SIGNAL, YOU MORON.
Do you like it when the car doesn't signal and cuts you off? No, I didn't think so. And guess what? No one likes it when you don't signal. Learn your hand signals and use them.
4. INDICATE PASSING FROM THE REAR.
This one is so easy. In heavy traffic? Just give a polite shout to the cyclist ahead of you, "Oh your left/right!" Then pass. Easy. Polite. Safe.
5. DON'T RIDE TWO ABREAST.
I know it's fun to talk with your friend while cycling home. It's leisurely and nice and pleasant and all that. But it's unsafe and illegal. Don't do it.
6. DON'T RUN REDS.
Run a red light and get hit? Guess what? It's your fucking fault. I don't care if the street is a one-way, it's your fault, same as if you're in a car. Don't do it. Save a few minutes, and save a life—wait on the green.
7. TAKE OUT YOUR EARPHONES.
Your sense of hearing is a valuable ally as you cycle about town. It can tell you if there are cars on your left, cyclists behind you, etc., so please: Do not wear your iPod/iPhone/etc. when biking.
8. PACK SAFELY.
Yes, it's all well and good to swing your TJ's bag over your handlebars. But it's unsafe. It interferes with your brakes and your weight distribution. So if you want to haul luggage while you haul ass, get some saddlebags. The nice people at REI in the Fenway will set you up.
9. STAY OFF MEM. DRIVE.
There is a marked bike path next to the sidewalk. Please use it.
10. SHUT UP AND RIDE.
Using a cell phone while on your bike is just stupid. Don't.
That's about it....oh, one more thing: If you're a bike messenger, just be kind to this pokey, porky old gal when you pass me, okay?