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Gear Prudence: I’m a longtime bike commuter and one of the very few people in my office building who used the bike racks in the parking garage over the past few years. I use the same spot on the rack every day, without exception. A few weeks ago, I started noticing a new bike at the racks, but then last week that bike started parking at my spot! I know it’s not actually mine, but shouldn’t that other bicyclist have a little respect? How do I get my spot back? —Designated Individual Bike Space
Dear DIBS: It’s not YOUR spot. It’s never been YOUR spot. The spot belongs to the bike racks that belong to the office building that belongs to some real estate concern that belongs to some LLC that belongs to who the hell knows. And even though you’ve temporarily utilized it for years without fail, it doesn’t belong to you. Sorry, but you have to accept this. Change is hard, but look on the bright side—the new bicyclist has great taste in rack locations, and GP bets you’ll hit it off if you ever meet.
As for getting “your” (but not your) spot back, here’s what you do: Get a second bike. Next time it opens up, lock up the second bike. And then each day for the remainder of your professional life, swap out your real bike with your spiteful dibs bike. Petty? Sure. Effective? Absolutely. —GP
Gear Prudence: I don’t like bike food. Energy bars are disgusting, and there’s no way I’m putting some gross goo in my mouth. They’re supposed to provide “nutrition” or whatever, but they mostly just make me want to hurl. What are some good alternatives? —People Rave Over The Energizing Imminent Nutrition, But Always Retching Follows
Dear PROTEINBARF: There are two great promises of foods designed to be consumed while bicycling, and both of these can be replicated in non-gross ways. Primarily, the allure of these foods is in their nutritional value—calories, sugars, proteins, and whatnot—that helps compensate for the energy you’ve expended. Secondarily, these foods are meant to be convenient to eat during your ride. You could get great nutritional value with a medium-rare steak and a spinach salad, but it’s hard to imagine that fitting nicely in a jersey pocket. For the goo averse, consider something like dried fruits and nuts or trail mix. Another good option is a nut butter sandwich, but made on tortilla instead of bread. In fact, pretty much anything spread on, or packed into, a tortilla seems like a pretty good idea. Carrying stuff is good, but if the ride is long enough and you’re not in a race, don’t worry about stopping. Many long-distance cyclists eventually become genuine gas station gourmands. —GP