I feel naked on a bike. Exposed.
Exposed to car exhaust and other stinks. Heat and noise I would simply glide right through in a car with my windows up. Exposed to those attractive but suddenly all-too-abundant oleander branches overhanging the bike lane. Duck!
I rode to the library the other day and, as I was locking my bike to the rack, saw this and other graffiti in the plaza.
I’d never noticed that before, when I’d just sail in the front door from my van in the parking lot. Being bike-naked helps me remember that, yeah, a lot of people live exposed every day. Spending most of their time outdoors with no car to cocoon inside. If they’re lucky enough to have a bike, or doubly lucky to have a cargo carrier of some kind, they have to constantly be on guard against stealing.
Before going in to the library I decided to make a few phone calls from my cell. Normally I’d shield other people from the inanities of a one-sided conversation by making those calls in the car. But no, there I was in the plaza outside the library, going, “Thirty pounds of ground turkey? Yes, and we already got some instant oatmeal donated so you don’t have to buy that…” I was planning food for my daughter’s 3rd grade class camping trip. And anyone who walked by could overhear my boring business. Sorry to expose you to this, I thought.