Monday, August 20, 2007

Do you know why I stopped you?

There is a bike stop from time to time that needs comment. One occurred the other night when night had fallen and the total lack of bicycle lights makes my job like shooting fish in a barrel. Problem is there is no sport in that and I would just be giving in the guy that rants and raves about the police not enforcing the bike light law. And now a confession, I have yet to cite the rider of a single speed/fixie road bike. Not that that don’t do anything wrong, but first they are harder to catch and second I share a certain amount of kinship with them. I usually ask them if they know why I stopped them (they always know), ask them to tell me about their bike and send them on their way with a warning.

I looked up just in time to see some guy in a pick-up come to schreeching halt as some little pixie on a SS roadie was about to run a stop sign. The girl made a quick right, rode around the rear of the truck and into my waiting arms. She was about 5 ft tall, a really bad hair cut and a curved spiked thing through her nose.

“I need to talk to you”.
“Okay, shouldn’t we step out of the street where it’s safer?’
“Ah, yes, do you know why I stopped you?”
“You mean the truck?”
“Ah, yes and the stop sign.”
“Well I turned right.”
“Yes, but you still have to stop, even if you were turning right, which you weren’t”.
“Do you know what’s more dangerous than running a stop sign?”
“I was turning”
“Running a stop sign with out a bike light.”
"I have a rear light."
"You need headlight also.”
“I didn’t know that; I actually have one but I left it at home”
“Well, it’s not doing you any good there is it?”
“Tell me about your bike”
“How long have you been riding a fixie?”
“It’s not a fixie”
The absence of a brake lever fooled me. It is a SS with a Campy brake up front. The lever was on the top tube.
“Tell me about your bike.”
“Tell be about your bike.”
“I don’t know much about the frame; I bought it off Craigslist.”
“It says Triathlon on the side”
“Yes, I think it’s a Nishiki.”
Good Girl! She went on to tell me the hubs were “Sunshine”, “They were as good as Campy in their day”. I gave her a warning and she started to sparkle.
“Oh this really means a lot to me. I mean I had heard they were writing a lot of tickets down here, but it hasn't happened to me, so you don’t know whether to believe it or not. I’m going to be more careful because of this. Thank you. I’m really getting into bike thing. I was just learning to ride without holding the handlebars."

And so I let her go. I never did tell her that riding downtown at night, without a bike light and where there are stop signs and the police on bikes, is not the best place to learn to ride without holding on to the bars; or that riding without holding the handlebars actually has very limited applications. I let her ride away. Then it dawned on me. She has a front brake controlled with a brake lever not attached to her handlebar. And now she's learning to ride without her handlebars....And she's been warned to stop at stop signs....No, she won't.... I mean anyone would know..OMG!...What have I done!...

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