I have found that the skill set you develop with a lot of urban riding comes in handy in many other situations.
I used to cross the street like all the other people crossed the street. That is when the guy in front of me went, I would stare at my toes and blindly walk out behind him. Now I cross the street like a biker. I keep my head up, I look both ways (and not just on the curb, I continue to scan as I cross), and I only go when I am ready, not when the herd is ready. This practice saved my life just a couple days ago, a lady ran a stop sign, and turned right into the crosswalk I was already 2/3rds across. Lucky for me I was ready for her, as she passed I screamed “watch out!” into her open window. She was terrified, my heart rate never climbed above its normal rate.
Driving a car is a nightmare, but once in a while you have to. I have found that when I drive I am much more aware of my surrounding now. I even find myself looking over my left and right shoulder instead of using the mirrors (force of habit I guess). But the main benefit I gain from my biker skills is I know about how fast I need to go to get to the lights on time. I know when I am going to get stuck at a whole bunch of reds, and I relax and enjoy the radio. Now if everyone else out there could ride a bit more car traffic might improve. One bad thing about riding a bike is that I feel totally comfortable being about a foot away from cars…something other drivers often seem to think is dangerous when I am in a car. I guess when you are in a car its not ok to get really close to other car drivers, but totally ok to get really close to bikers.
I have found that I have a lot more patience after years of riding my bike. I am not always in such a rush to get everything done RIGHT NOW! I think riding a bike has allowed me to experience life at a much more sane speed, and this has seeped into my daily life.
I used to hate going up stairs, now its just like climbing a big hill.
Being a year round bicycle commuter gives you a whole new ruler to measure weather by. Only -10 degrees, at least it isn’t sleeting! The amount of crap I have scraped off myself over the years on my bike has made “bad weather” a very relative term. Sure people look at you like you are crazy for riding in the snow/rain/sleet/slush/etc but you get a whole new sense for what your body can do, and what it can survive. I have also found out that I appreciate good weather much more. Its a truly wonderful thing to be riding on that first nice warm day of spring, with the breeze in your face…it should be a crime to experience that joy any other way than on bike.
These are just a couple of the areas of my life in which biker skills have been useful. How about you, anything you learned on a bike turn out to be useful in other areas? Do tell.
Tags: bike skills, how to track stand, life skills, useful
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