When commuting by bicycle, one often does not think of racing strategies – not unless one is a seasoned bicycle commuter, possibly. For sometimes competitive bicycling and bicycle commuting may not seem so dissimilar, especially in a large metropolis like New York City where even the motorists race against each other!
It’s a fanciful stretch, to be sure, but not one that is entirely impractical. Though a movie (taking place in hilly San Francisco, no less), the 1979 Kevin Bacon vehicle “Breaking Away” was not totally making things up in showcasing some wild rides through urban traffic. It’s the type of trip bicycle messengers will probably encounter, using the corresponding kinds of tactics only they would attempt, but it’s racing in all but name only.
Now this is not a politically correct thing to say in many cycling circles – definitely not the type where people are all decked out in spandex and shades, where you must wear helmets even when merely walking your bike – but riding in the streets can be quite competitive, though it’s hard to see how pedal power can win versus the internal combustion engine. And of course it’s no contest ordinarily, except when city streets and rush hour traffic can be utilized to provide the cyclist the advantage in many situations.
Or, in two words, racing strategies.
The kind that might seem quite similar to any used at official competitions but which are adapted specifically for urban commutes. Every veteran cyclist has his or her database of these, stored inside the mresistors of their brains – indeed, within the very fiber optics of their nerves.
A seemingly reckless attitude to the p.c. police, who seem to forget the generally dangerous circumstances surrounding many’s first childhood attempts at bicycling, but it’s the reality : urban bicyclist commuters have more in common with professional racers than the image-makers would like to admit.