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Road rash is a precious gift. Road rash is your friend. Bask in it, appreciate it, love it. Above all, learn from it
Even after a successful tuck-and-roll maneuver, the cyclist is left with a discomforting sense of the terrible force involved with hitting the street. The pavement is not soft. You never say to yourself, man, I want to try that again.
The Door Zone is a brutal, sadistic taskmaster. The Door Zone is a total beeyotch.
Getting "doored," as it is universally known in the language of cycling, is a violent, completely unpleasant experience. Unfortunately, it's also a rite of passage for urban cyclists, who remain difficult to convince about the treacherous nature of the DZ until they experience it for themselves. Then they never want to go near a door again.
Theoretically, the most effective stopping force that can be applied to a wheel comes at the moment just before the wheel locks up. This leads many to believe that the shortest stops will involve no skidding. On a bicycle, it doesn't work that way. The rear wheel skid is almost automatic when the front brake is applied correctly. Trying not to skid the rear wheel in a maximum stop is like trying to keep the eyes open during a sneeze.
The cyclists' struggle for visibility has been a noble and long-fought effort. Problem is, it hasn't worked. No matter how much tinsel and ornamentation we attach to ourselves, no matter how many flashing beacons we strap to our backsides, no matter what previously unseen degree of neon insanity we manage to surpass in our jersey selections, some drivers continue to look right through us, as if we were-that's right--invisible.
The dream of visibility is a sweet siren's song that will, eventually, lead us into the rocks. Not that visibility is a bad thing, mind you, we all love visibility. It's just that an attitude of faith in visibility puts the rider on a slippery slope on the way to complacency, which is a very dangerous place for an urban cyclist to hang out.
Consider the condition of some of the drivers locked in the typical urban traffic grid. They're trying to make a left turn, but all they see is an unbroken line of fast-moving vehicles coming at them, with no end in sight. They're late. They're hopped up on four cups of coffee.
They're about to pee their pants. They've been waiting to make that left turn since the Mesozoic Era. Actually, they've been waiting about 30 seconds or so, but to them it seems like a very long time. Like the dinosaurs of the Mesozoic Era, their eyes are bigger than their brains. Suddenly, a small gap opens in oncoming traffic. They're going to hit that gap if it's the last thing they do. They stomp on the gas and crank the wheel. This is the Gap Effect in action.
One big problem, though-there's a cyclist in the gap, puttering along.