City Paper is not for tourists
Gear Prudence: I just moved to the eighth floor of a big apartment building. This means I have to take my bike on the elevator every day. I’ve definitely been on there with other people, and even though there’s plenty of room, I still get dirty looks. But realistically, I’m not supposed to wait until the elevator’s empty to ride it with my bike, right? If there’s enough room, shouldn’t these people just stop hating bikes and get over it? —Living In Faulty Tower
Dear LIFT: Generally speaking, bike haters should get over it, both in this and in all contexts. But GP hasn’t seen sufficient evidence that it’s the bike that they hate. Maybe it’s you! Do you play loud music late at night? Do you reek of cologne? Is your bag festooned with buttons endorsing odious political views? You can blame a bike for a lot of things, but not everything. That said, if riding the elevator with a bike really is causing neighbor trouble, you have a couple of options to forestall it. Before boarding, ask the other elevator occupants if they’re OK with it. Bikes, after all, can be kind of gunky, but GP suspects the overwhelming majority of residents are quite reasonable and more than willing to oblige. Say “sorry” and “thank you” as appropriate and maybe even too much. And make sure your bike doesn’t come anywhere close to touching a fellow occupant or blocking the buttons or door. If it looks cramped, don’t cram in. That’s a jerk move. —Gear Prudence
Gear Prudence: I’m an avid whistler. I love whistling and I especially love whistling during my bike commute. But the other day, I was whistling a tune, as I do, and another bike commuter told me to stop because “it is very annoying!” So rude! Shouldn’t I get to whistle as much as I want? —Bicyclist Loves Own Whistle
Dear BLOW: Sure, whistle away. Whistle until you’re out of breath. Whistle so much that passersby think it’s a factory shift change or a train is about to enter a tunnel. Just put your lips together and blow (through stop signs). Whistling while bike commuting accomplishes a few things: It entertains you, in entertains those around you (assuming you’re musical enough to carry a tune), and it develops lung capacity, which in turn makes you a stronger cyclist, capable of riding farther and whistling louder with each successive jaunt. GP suspects the other bike commuter wasn’t so much annoyed with the noise as jealous of your ability to push air from your mouth to emit a high-pitched, likely sharp racket. Next time (if ever) you’re criticized for whistling, stop. Just sing the song you were whistling instead. Be sure to butcher the lyrics and remain woefully off-key. That’ll show him. —GP
Gear Prudence is Brian McEntee, who tweets @sharrowsDC. Got a question about bicycling? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.