Tears in the Fabric.


Cycling: Standard Operating Procedures for Passing.

  1. Stay to the left. Pretty simple.
  2. When a fellow cyclist approaches from the rear and signals they would like to pass, stay to the left. If you are not already riding on the left hand side of the sidewalk, make haste.
  3. When a rider approaches from the front , guess what, either stay to the left or move to the left.
  4. At no time should one veer to the right unexpectedly.

So, what happens when these procedures are ignored? Pure comic gold.

Consequences: Accidental Humor.

Picture yourself cycling along your standard Japanese sidewalk. In front of you are two twenty-something, female cyclist riding down the middle of the sidewalk. Since it is not possible to squeeze by, you ring your bell. The comedy begins.

Girl A, on the left, attempts to veer right, while Girl B, on the right, dives to her left. They collide and veer off at odd angles, over correct and end up a few inches from smacking into each other again. Startled, wide-eyed looks pass between them. Girl A’s look says, “What the hell are you doing?” Girl B’s look says, “What the hell do you mean?! What the hell are you doing bumping into me!” Girl A’s eyes shout, “What? Move to the right!” Girl B’s eyes blaze, “No, you move to the left!”

They joust.

Not wanting to be left out, I ring my bell again and veer to my right. This spurs them into action and they both manage to go left.

2 Comments so far

  1. Michael(tm) Smith (unregistered) on November 11th, 2005 @ 1:15 pm

    For pedestrians, try the following sometime. The next time you are walking down a sidewalk and hear the familiar “ring ring” sound of an approaching bicycle behind you, immediately stretch out your arms and make an airplane or eagile form — randomly moving from side to side on the sidewalk with your arms outstreched.

    If find that bicyclists seem to enjoy the surprise of this. Well, OK, not all of them. And I’m not sure “enjoy” is the right word. But they definitely do seem to notice it.

  2. D.L.A. (unregistered) on November 11th, 2005 @ 11:07 pm

    Mr. Smith, you are assuming that cyclist bother to ring their bells. Maybe, and I hope you agree with me on this, one should just take on eagle form at random times during a stroll.

    Truly surprising.

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