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Gear Prudence: Are people ethically obligated to immediately dock an improperly docked Bikeshare bike or can they take advantage of this and ride it to their final destination? “My friend” came upon an undocked bike and, though he’s a Bikeshare member, he didn’t have his fob or credit card on him. “My friend” (OK, me) didn’t want to wait a half hour for the bus. Isn’t it actually better to dock the bike after a 25-minute ride to a different station than to just ignore it entirely, racking up even more late charges for whoever didn’t dock it properly? —Slightly Troubled Ethics, At Least
Dear STEAL: This isn’t exactly stealing a loaf of bread to feed a starving family. While you eventually docked the bike, you also rode on someone else’s dime, and that’s not cool. Each Bikeshare trip is timed from the moment the bike is freed to the moment the bike is docked AND the green light comes on. If you don’t see a green light when you dock, the bike can still be wrested free and the trip isn’t technically over. In this case, you took advantage of another Bikeshare user’s carelessness (or misfortune) and likely ran up charges well beyond what they would have incurred had they docked properly. While docking after your 25-minute ride is better than not docking the bike at all, you had the opportunity to do the right thing by docking the bike immediately but instead were a selfish opportunist. Absent the zombie apocalypse or equivalent emergency, don’t ride a bike you didn’t pay for. Come on. —GP
Gear Prudence: Why are bicyclists obsessed with coffee? It seems like the only thing my bike friends want to do is ride to coffee shops. I like riding with them, but I don’t drink caffeine and find these stops to be so tedious. We can’t even go 10 miles before one of them is like “espresso?” Ugh. Maybe I should just ride by myself. —Can Outdoor Friends Fathom Enjoyment Elsewhere
Dear COFFEE: Maybe you should! If these java joint jaunts don’t genially jibe with your jam, jettison the jamokes. No need to subject yourself to a widely popular leisure activity enjoyed every day by millions of people, bicyclist and not. Sip your preferred beverage solo or find new friends less besotted by brew.
Many cyclists like coffee because caffeine is a stimulant and the go juice helps them go farther and faster. Other cyclists enjoy coffee because they also enjoy it in their non-cycling lives. Coffee is a popular drink, socially acceptable to consume at all times of day. Coffee shops tend to be nicer places to stop than gas stations or convenience stores for bathroom purposes. For others, getting a cup of joe provides a nice pretense to ride. Anyway, GP should not have to explain why people like coffee. —GP
Gear Prudence is Brian McEntee, who tweets @sharrowsDC. Got a question about bicycling? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.