Boise has a reputation for being a bike-friendly city, but we're not all spokes and strokes just yet. The other day, I was coasting down the sidewalk along the left side of Capitol when I saw something terrifying struggling up the hill. She was about 50, and her ride was a fairly fancy, fairly new mountain bike, but she looked about as comfortable atop it as if she were riding a bucking blowfish bareback. I slowed as I passed, but this sweaty straggler needed more wiggle room than I could give, and she veered sharply into my left front handlebar. Ka-frink! My back tire somehow instantly went flat, her bike tipped over safely to the left and I went hurtling into head-on-traffic. Luckily, no cars were passing us at that moment, or I would surely have been Hemi-d right into the great beyond. But since I'm still here for the time being, let me toss a few impromptu suggestions out there, from one occasional pedal commuter to another.
First, if you can't power up a hill in a straight enough line to pass a field sobriety test, please get off and push. It's embarrassing, I know, and we've all had to do it at one point--but get over it. I promise I won't laugh until I'm almost out of hearing range. And second, ride with traffic on the correct side of the road, dammit! If I had been riding on the right side of the street like I was supposed to, instead of into traffic like the taintbrain that I am, the incident would have been very different. I would have watched Crashy McSuckbike tip over like the guy on the tricycle on Laugh-In and yelled "Look that up in your Funk and Wagnalls, Crashy!" from across five lanes. Instead, I've spent the last few days laying in the office lawn chair, listening to the sound of the editorial staff rolling their eyes simultaneously as I stammer, "But you guys, I almost d-d-d-died!"