Ninja Cycling

So many readers have whined at me as if I were some kind of Oprah of the cycling world just waiting to help people.

“What have you given us,” they complain, “that Mr. Forrester has not given us? At least he has given us a way to cycle in places where cycling is not encouraged.”

It was as if Forrester and his devote followers have kept cycling alive, during the dark ages of the 70’s and 80’s like Middle Age monks keeping writing alive.

Nothing can be further from the truth.

As I said, before, nobody rides VC.

By nobody, I mean less than half a percent of cyclist, who make up 1% of commuters nationally. This is a very small number!

Where did I get this number? From counting. If Forrester can do an experiment where he is the only subject, and the experiment can be conducted once, in secret, and we all have to hear about the results for decades after, I can do my own personal experiment where our number (n) is much higher, and I’ll blather on about it. In my commuting for 3 years, I have seen only 2 people riding VC: 1 gorgeous, androgynous Godzilla, and a homeless person.

All the roadies were on shoulders or riding in pelatons on the OB bicycle path which is supposedly super dangerous, but nobody tells them that. They very happily drive their bicycles (for VC nuts, this means that they actually load their bicycles onto their car and drive the car–welcome to Normal SpeakTM aka English). As I was saying, they drive their bicycles to the end of the path then they race up and down the bicycle path. I almost NEVER see them the entire stretch of my ride to the beach on the 50 MPH roads which is supposed to be AWESOME for taking the lane. When they do ride on Pacific Highway, they are on the BUFFERED BIKE LANE. Haha.

Anyway, what has kept the flame of cycling going?

Ninja cycling (or NC for those in-the-know).

NC is almost, but not quite everything that VC is not.

NC is not anything specific, but it’s everywhere; it’s all pervasive. Chances are you probably did some NC as a kid until you took a class that taught you to be thick.

NC is not a hard and fast set of rules, but it is fluid, adapting oneself to the circumstances.

VC cyclists want to be seen; NC cyclists want to be invisible. If you are invisible, you don’t get harassed by police or otherwise.

Hear someone getting harassed? They probably didn’t ride NC.

VC wears flourescent; NC wears black.

VC blames the cyclists, always; NC takes the cyclists side.

VC has a book or hard and fast rules, NC has no books. NC cyclists are too busy cycling to read a book on cycling.

VC is a limited path ridden by the very few; NC is for everyone with a bit of common sense.

VC has a limited view of transportation; they can only count to two. NC has an unlimited view. There are many, many ways of getting around and cycling might not be the best. You might need to put your bike on a bus, for example.

VC thinks that bicycles are either motor cars or pedestrians. NC knows that cycles are a third category, they are neither, but they are also BETTER. But not always.

NC allows for riding on the street, sidewalk, with traffic, against traffic, in malls, through alleys, bike lanes, cycle tracks. NC cyclists are safe anywhere.

VC teaches one to ride in traffic to “stay alive”. NC teaches you to ride only when you are inherently safe. If you aren’t safe, don’t ride.

VC teaches you to ride in the street according to rules of the road. NC knows that riding a bicycle in the street where you are much slower, forcing faster vehicles to slam on their brakes and then squeeze by you is a total violation of the rules of the road.

VC has hard and fast rules. NC makes up rules as it goes along, it innovates and contradicts itself.

VC claims to teach one to ride logically and consistently. NC knows that humans are inherently illogical, and those who claim to be logical suffer from MORE illogic than most because they are blind to their basic nature and don’t account for it.

NC teaches on to ride based on one’s perceptions, feelings, and in touch with one’s environment.

VC teaches on to fight for their “rights to the road”. NC will always have rights because it is invisible. Something that can’t be seen can’t be taken away.

VC teaches cycling according to the LAW. NC teaches cycling according to compassion. NC cyclists will yield when they don’t have to. If a tree falls when it’s not seen, who knows? If a stop light is run when nobody is there to activate it then what. Such are the NC koans.

VC wears funny clothes and shows off every time it rides. NC is too busy riding to brag. It wears ordinary clothes and walks among us. You won’t know an NC cyclist if you saw her off her bike. Perhaps she’s somebody that you know?

VC thinks that the narrow few should cycle, NC is for everyone: homeless, fixies, BMX, even wheel chairs can roll NC.

VC is fearful that it will lose it’s rights; NC is confident that it can adapt to any situation.

VC revels in its strength and courage, NC offers refuge despite fear and weakness.

NC cycling has been around for as long as there is cycling. Long after VC is a distant memory, we will still be here, riding NC.


2 Responses to “Ninja Cycling”

  1. Steve A Says:

    Forester STILL has only 2 r’s. If you do not believe it, go to any library and check the spelling of the author’s name on any of the “Hornblower” series of fiction books. Alternately, look on Wikipedia. Their author was the father of the man you enjoy talking about so much. BTW, John’s dad enjoyed referring to cyclists as “road lice,” which raises questions about relations in THAT family. Consider it “trivia of the day.”

    • Fred Says:

      Um, are you serious, dude? I thought 2 R’s meant “reading and writing and NO rithmatic”.

      Are you seriously coming here to run a spell check?

      I find that highly amusing.

      Thanks for that. 🙂

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