I love bicycling. Despite the traffic, and the potholes, and the sometimes rain, and the sometimes assholes who try to convince me that I should be riding on the sidewalk, not in the lane. I’m hooked on the speed, the flexibility, and the freedom. Not to mention the free parking.
I am not an aggressive driver, but I assert my rights on a bike, and sometimes even go beyond them. The city in which I live has lots of low traffic, 1 or 2 lane streets, and when no cars are coming bikes run red lights and stop signs. I’ve heard in Portland the bikers shamed each other out of this but out East we are still reveling in speed. My city is still coming out of an era of high street crime, and as a young white woman it’s easy to see muggers around every corner. Being on the bike won’t always keep me safe, but it feels good to know I could out-bike an assailant on foot. The last few times I’ve been out on foot by myself, either walking or running, I’ve gotten catcalled. I don’t know that I would call it harassment, the comments have not been lewd, though they have called attention to my body, and I’m expecting it so it’s a relief when it’s not worse, or just words and not actions. I know I’m lucky to experience so little of it; I don’t confront them. When I’m on foot, I’m on defense. When I’m on a bike, I’m on offense. I will yell at people, punch their cars, flip them off. I get angry. It feels great.