Cycling vs. Driving … set the mood:my favorite game – the cardigans

June 13, 2006 at 1:03 am 1 comment

cycling.pngMy decision to refuse the use of a motor vehicle still stands, perhaps more now than ever. Public transit is not as glamorous as it seems (see my previous post on a regular Ottawa bus experience), and since our fair city is rather outdoor-ed friendly, I’ve decided to cycle to work as often as possible (my ass seems to max out at four times).

This is all fine and good. I actually look forward to climbing out of bed at 5.30 in order to get to work for 7, whereas previously I would loath having to get up so early in order to hand over 45 minutes to a hot, crowded, smelly bus. I would arrive at work exhausted; the rhythmic hum and bumps of the bus had the same effect on me as putting a baby on a washing machine. Now, I arrive feeling refreshed and somewhat de-stressed.

The city however is surrounded by a lovely “greenbelt” which literally cuts the brains, the life of the city off at the middle, leaving the suburbs, or the lower half, feeling distant and of another world. They don’t refer to my development as K-hole because of the ambiance – I believe it literally is the ass of the city, having sprung up directly below the Belt.

There are only a handlful of ways to get across the Belt.
1. The highway. As much as the idea of the highway being open only to cyclists and busses, I doubt that will happen any time soon.
2. NCC pathways. There are several of these running throughout the Belt, which connect to other paths which allow our city to be so cyclist friendly. However, two women have been killed in said paths, and several accosted or harassed, so I tend to stay away when I’m alone.
3. Main, heavily driven streets connecting parts on the other side of the highway to other suburbs further in the Belt – too far out of my way, would add another hour to my ride.
4. Main, heavily driven streen stretching from my side of the highway all the way downtown, connecting to the main NCC pathway along the river.
5. Side road that is a GIGANTIC hill, one side is worse than the other, but both are pretty unfortunate.

So, I take #4 usually. However, the downside is that, at one point, there is a train bridge that crosses above the road. At this point, the two lane road, which has on both sides paved shoulders that are an additional lanes width (very good), the shoulders drop off and are overtaken with two cement supports (bad).

Just before the bridge on both sides are signs that indicate to those who bother reading them (they are in both french and english, so there is a lot of printing) “DO NOT PASS CYCLISTS” with a big picture of a car passing a cyclist and a red line through it.

It seems obvious to me that this would be the case; there is no shoulder, so the cyclist has to momentarily merge into the motor vehicle lane, cars are big and fast and kill people, bikes are not. And yet, I keep getting passed, even honked at, at this point in my journey home.


At first, I just screamed at them. Then, I took to giving the finger and yelling. I’m now contemplating brining limes with me to chuck at the cars. Robin said she liked limes, and I agree, they are a highly enjoyable citrus fruit, so I think I’m going to buy limes, allow them to rot, then bring those with which to peg cars.

Oh, and another thing, it seems to me, that cars, with their torque and acceleration and whatnot, that if a car is coming, sees that a cyclist, who is trying to cross or merge or whatever but clearly does not have time to get in, would SPEED UP in order to pass by quickly rather than continue to putt putt along. DON’T GET BITCHY BECAUSE I NEED 30 SECONDS TO GET SOME MOMENTUM WHEN YOU’VE GOT A QUAD-FREE ACCELERATION SYSTEM THAT COULD ALLOW YOU TO EASILY BYPASS ME.

Anything else? Oh, people who drive CIVICS are always – always – bad drivers and assholes. Think you are a great, courteous driver? Don’t buy a Civic.


Entry filed under: , rants.

Bad Habits… set the mood: sympathique – pink martini Dropping the hanky… set the mood: extraordinary machine – fiona apple

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. jessicraft  |  June 13, 2006 at 4:16 am

    Don’t even get me started on the civics. Just wait, some dipshit who drives one is reading this and is going to freak out at you – civic drivers also have NO SENSE OF HUMOUR. I remember making a comment about civic drivers being assholes years ago to which one ungentleman responds, “oh yeah? my mom has four, does that make her four times the asshole?” and I said “YES.”

    I know what you’re talkin’ ’bout, that part of the road SUCKS. What kind of jerk-ass would try to go past a cyclist there??? Be careful, man. Should have some reasonable sense of “they won’t hit me” but drivers, especially the Ottawa breed, are complete fuck-os. Except for me, my driving rules.


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