Cyclist shares road bumps, bike thieves included

Column by Cassidy Herrington

In addition to solid calf muscles, cyclists need thick skin.

The life of a cyclist is a ride on the fine line between life and death. On and off the road, a cyclist encounters more problems than an occasional pothole.

Although Lexington is increasingly more “bike friendly,” negligence and numerous inconveniences pervade.

I am a bicycle commuter for various reasons, mainly because diesel [yes, I drive one of those] is expensive, and I seldom need to drive more than one mile to get from one place to the next.

Other advantages ride with the decision, such as environmental benefit, additional cardio workout and sculpted calves, obviously.

The most frequent obstacle I encounter belches from the exhaust of a four-wheeled cousin, the automobile. Frequently, drivers disregard my presence at four-way stops, claim the bike lane as their territory and merge without looking.

Rather than force cyclists onto the crumbling edge of the road, the bike needs to be incorporated as part of the road traffic. Besides, we do not take up much space and we represent one less parking space to fight over.

However callous a car can be toward a cyclist, nothing grinds my gears more than a bike thief.

Last year, a heartless crook kidnapped my bike from the porch of my apartment, so I know the distress associated with a pilfered bike. I had a registered permit and a solid steel combination lock, but the thief still managed to take off with my noble steed.

Let it be known, bike thief, your due fate is coming to you. Since Dante wrote about his travels to hell in the 1300s, centuries before bicycles roamed streets, he was unable to depict the horrors of the tenth circle of hell — the abominable realm of the bike thieves.

On today’s story covering bike permits, the UK Parking and  Transportation Servies attributed bike permit requirement to a decline in theft, but in my case, the permit was a lost cause.

I commend PTS for its efforts to help cyclists, but permits should be optional, not a requirement.

The university’s “green” initiatives extend to biking, but fall short with the requirement of registering bikes.

If a student has an unpaid parking ticket, for example, they are not permitted to register for their bicycle. If they leave their bike parked without the necessary “tramp stamp,” their bike will be impounded.

Certainly there are better options for enforcing responsibility in regards to parking and transportation. Cyclists should be rewarded for their decision to abandon the extra two wheels, rather than endure punishment and further inconveniences.

And honestly, bike towing is extreme punishment for an absent sticker.

On and off the road, the cyclist spins into obstacles – despite his or her good intentions. In such circumstances, a helmet is not enough armor for the modest heroes.