Get our free newsletter
Gear Prudence: Here’s my problem with bike commuting: I’m a competitive person by nature, and every day this one guy rides up behind me, zooms right past, and leaves me in his dust. I am not slow either. But it just gets to me that he is so much faster. And even when I try to chase him down, I don’t get anywhere close. It just bums me out and makes me not like biking. Am I crazy for letting this get to me?—Rider Invariably Vanquishes And Leaves
Dear RIVAL: The dreaded bike nemesis. If you ride the same route long enough, you’ll pick one up eventually and will have to become accustomed to the superior speed of a stalwart cyclist. GP had a bike nemesis once too, but once her training wheels came off, that slowed her down plenty. But here’s the thing about your being a competitive bike commuter: It’s dumb and you should get over it. Sure, no one likes being passed, and being bested by the same person on a daily basis can lead to a festering emotional wound. But it’s important to grasp two things: 1) You are not and will never be the fastest cyclist in the world and 2) Despite this, it is perfectly possible to live a happy and fulfilling bike commuting life. Accept this. Consciously turn off the part of your brain that associates bicycling with racing, and you’ll become a much happier person. —GP
Gear Prudence: Halloween is coming up and I have no ideas at all for costumes. You’ve helped out people before (sort of), so do you have any ideas for a truly desperate cyclist?—Halloween Approaches, Undecided Needs To Eventually Decide
Dear HAUNTED: Of course! GP loves Halloween. It’s the only day of the year when people put on costumes and pretend to be something they’re not. Well, other than Bike to Work Day.
Expect many costumes this year to thematically coalesce around topics political. While “Ken Bone on a bike” is better than “Ken Bone not on a bike,” both are pretty awful. If you must try to be election-themed, dress like Dag Otto Lauritzen, the 1989 winner of the Tour de Trump (a real bicycle race). Wear, um, whatever bike clothes you want because literally zero people know what Dag Otto Lauritzen looked or looks like.
• Group costume: You and a thousand friends go as the line to get into REI
• Dress as the Ghost of the L Street Cycletrack (dearly departed between 16th and 15th Street)
• Dress one friend as a chicken and another as a boxer and you wear a red CaBi shirt and call yourself collectively Bikeshare and Tysons.
Regardless of your costume, have fun. People who ride bikes are given so few opportunities to wear outlandish outfits, so you’ll want to make the most of it. —GP
Gear Prudence is Brian McEntee, who tweets @sharrowsDC. Got a question about bicycling? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.