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Thursday, June 17, 2010

Unexpected Results


Well, yesterday went by without anybody responding to my sign. Here's a picture of it on the bike:



Riding around with that thing on the bike did, however, yield some results, just not the ones I had expected. The first one was that it seemed to me that most drivers were a little more deferential and careful as they overtook me. My feeling was that they suspected a trick of some kind, or were simply reminded that how we both "drove" was important. I expected at least a few to yell out their answers, but that didn't happen.


Secondly, I rode much more responsibly. Far from perfect, I had nonetheless thought that I was riding about as well as I could. I was wrong. I signalled more, waved more, smiled more, and took almost no "grey area" risks or liberties with the rules. That damn sign put me on my very best behaviour. It makes me wonder how everybody would behave if their phone number was displayed on their vehicle...







OK, I know that my Rantwick address isn't exactly my home phone number, but knowing that people may be contacting you regarding your on-road behaviour has a definite effect.



Lastly, I felt like a pretty big weirdo nerd freak. It is one thing to be odd using your blogging alter ego, but quite another to display your strangeness on the streets where you live to both friends strangers who probably won't get you. Some of the comments on yesterday's post comforted me that some people out there appreciated what I was up to, but as I neared home yesterday I saw something near the river behind Labatt's brewery that really put true weirdness into perspective:




That fish and line were simply too far from the bridge or the water for it to have been an accidental thing. I may have to call the City about it, if only because I ride past that spot often and its presence will creep (and gross) me out. I'm hoping a bird or something will take care of it for me.


Anyway, while that image seemed a little surreal and vaguely disturbing to me, it eased my mind about my weirdness. Compared to whoever hung that poor little river fish from a telephone line, I am super normal. A model citizen and psychologically stable dude. Right? Right? Tell me I'm right.







I'm gonna keep using the sign, maybe not every day, but often, in the hopes that sooner or later I'll get a nibble.
R A N T W I C K


16 comments:

Kokorozashi said...

The fact that carrying the sign around made you a better driver is a really interesting insight. Also, yes, you're sane, btw, it's everyone else that's crazy -- at least, that's what That Little Voice tells me.

I found this post particularly timely, because I spent this morning's ride noticing that I am willing to take risks on the Allez (due to its super-responsive handling, mostly) that I wouldn't take on Swift. Maybe I'll have a jersey or jacket or t-shirt printed up with a similar message so I can wear it whenever I ride the Allez, and thus restrain myself from doing dumb stuff :)

Keri said...

I was thinking this would make me really conscious of how I was riding. For our bike2work bike bus, we printed t-shirts with the bike/walk central florida talking points: "ride with traffic/RIDE BIG/Communicate" on blinding yellow. When I wear that shirt, I'm conscious of my riding, signalling, etc. because the shirt screams "look at me!"

The cool thing is I tend to get lots of friendly interactions.

Anonymous said...

omg wtf lol

Rantwick said...

Anon 508 - I checked my stats and it looks like you're from London... thanks for responding to my sign, I guess!

Big Oak said...

That fish is Douglas Adams-esque. Maybe its an SEP?

Rat Trap Press said...

I hope you get some responses to your sign. It's an interesting idea.

Rantwick said...

Big Oak - SEP? The only meaning I know for that is Someone Else's Problem... is that what you meant?

It was still there yesterday after work...

Big Oak said...

Yes, SEP is the force that drives the spaceship - I think Adams describes it as that feeling that you have when you see something that you immediately try to ignore and assume it is somebody else's problem to deal with.

I guess since the item was fish shaped (like the interpretor fish you stick in your ear), and was elevated in the sky, I got confused and thought immediately of the "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" trilogy. Maybe SEP isn't an appropriate analogy, but hey, I was up late last night and had to leave for work early this morning.

What on earth is that fish doing there anyway?

Big Oak said...

Oh, I see it is a small fish hanging from a curtain rod. I thought it was outside hanging up above that building in the background. My bad, nevermind!

Rantwick said...

That rings a bell. I read HHG a long time ago and don't remember all that much of it any more... as to what that fish is doing there, people do go fishing at that point on the river, but why anyone would hang it like that is well beyond my comprehension.

Rantwick said...

Strange little fish update: today the fish and the line were gone.

cafiend said...

I thought infinite improbability drove the Heart of Gold.

As far as soliciting other people's opinions, as a cyclist I have not really wanted to know what drivers think. I just do what I think is right and hope for the best. The ones who think I'm wrong for various reasons usually manage to communicate that on the spot.

Rantwick said...

Cafiend - I'm more interested in establishing even a little bit of Internet discussion that is helpful to drivers understanding why I do what I do... I'm not really concerned about approval either.

I guess that I never get to answer those who honk or yell "on the spot", and that is partly what I'm after.

cafiend said...

My on-the-spot (or on-the-fly) answers to critical motorist input are often brief, including various forms of sign language. Not really a dialog, although I have on occasion managed to catch someone and get into further discussion. Sometimes this proves instructive to us both. Other times it just extends the incivility.

In any Internet discussion you run the risk of hearing from those who want to push an aggressive and uncooperative agenda, and attracting trolls who just like to stir up controversy to watch people get mad. Even with that, it provides the opportunity for a lot of participants to contribute. Good.

Doohickie said...

I'm going to start wearing a sign like that too. I mean, exactly like that. You know....

"HOW'S MY
DRIVING?
--------
RANTWICK.
BLOGSPOT.
COM"

That ought to confuse a few Texans. And one Ontarian.



[latier]

Rantwick said...

Doohickie - Please tell me you're serious. That would be my kind of messed yp.

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