Bike commuting thoughts

I've wanted to write something about how my attitudes have evolved towards being a CYCLIST, and even more so a DAILY COMMUTER CYCLIST, but instead I just puked most of it out on some poor unsuspecting newb soul in a reddit comment thread. So here's some copypasta:
Wear a helmet. Always. Any reasons for not wearing a helmet fall in the same category as not wearing a condom for a one-nite-stand. AKA bad, stupid, reasons that are only going to screw you over in the long run. If your budget is limited, go to Goodwill, they have shitloads of helmets, always.
Get lights. It's getting lighter, but if you're heading home around 5 you will be riding in the dark for a few weeks here, and once again, no good reasons for not having them. I personally prefer a bright-as-fuck helmet-mount light so I can spotlight drivers that look like they're going to pull a stop-tional when crossing a bikeway. Don't skimp, get something bright, front and back.
There is mental adjustment to bike commuting that takes a bit, and different people make the adjustments different ways. Some look for the path of least resistance, aka lowest traffic routes. Some become shining paragons of traffic safety. And then some turn out like me; low level scofflaws. But here's my philosophy in a nutshell: NONE OF THE INFRASTRUCTURE YOU WILL BE RIDING ON WAS BUILT WITH YOU IN MIND, AND ALL OF THE BIKE INFRASTRUCTURE THAT EXISTS IN PDX IS A SHOEHORNED AFTERTHOUGHT. It's some of the best shoehorned afterthought in the nation, and I appreciate all of it. But really, most of the time, when there are conflicts with drivers, it's not really your fault, any more than it would be the fault of a Mormon for not having fun at a nightclub in Old Town. It's just not built with that in mind, yet the laws explicitly state that theya re your roads too. So when conflict arises, and if you ride long enough, it will, do not take it personally. Yes, that motorist may be an asshole, but he/she is just frustrated because everything he/she has been taught since 16 is being subtley fucked up by the ever-increasing amount of bikes on the road, and it's freakin' their minds, man. So, with that in mind, I'd suggest following two simple rules:
  • Be alert, because, for the most part, not being alert can get you killed, while only requiring a trip to Leif's for the other guy, and
  • Don't let the rules of the road/emotions and interactions of drivers force your decisions to keep yourself safe. I will put myself smack in the middle of a lane where there's no chance in hell I'm going to be able to keep up with traffic if A) the traffic behind me has plenty of time to see me and slow down, and B) by not doing so I might put myself in a position where once said traffic catches up to me, I might be in danger riding on the shoulder.
And they can keep honking all damn day. I am a cyclist honey badger.
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