Riding in a city can be tricky stuff. First there’s the cars and how to behave around them. Then there’s the potholes and how not to tumble into them. Finally, and perhaps most challenging, your own naughty self to contend with.
Helmets. Bike lights. One-way streets. Stop signs. Night riding. Relating to fellow commuters who may or may not be running said stop signs as they shoot down one-way streets, sans helmet, in the middle of the night. It’s complicated.
Although I wore a helmet from the start, I admit it took me about two years to complete a contract with myself to stop at every red (it’s so easy to just fly through.) Stop signs are fuzzier: I slow significantly but rarely stop (unless it’s a four-way) because of the effort it takes to get started again from a dead halt. Several years and some nasty verbal clashes have convinced me to self-ban screaming at drivers who pull rude or unaware moves (like the dreaded right-hook.)
I do harbor a few guilty cheats. For one, my apartment sits at the bottom of a steep hill, so I ride the wrong way every evening to get home. My other guilty cheat, discovered when I observed another rider take the easy way into Brookline after crossing the BU Bridge and Commonwealth Ave., was recently resolved, much to my delight!