Gear Prudence: I’ve been bike commuting the same route for the past year and I keep running into this guy, who I happen to find very attractive. However, I’m very shy and our relationship right now solely consists of the two seconds of passing each other on 15th Street each day. How do I turn this into something more? —Longingly Ogling, Very Eager
Dear LOVE: What if you and the would-be love of your life have only been kept apart this whole time from the lack of good fortune to be riding in the same direction? And instead of making flirty eyes as you pull up alongside at a red light, you’ve been condemned to forever pass each other without uttering a word? Orpheus and Eurydice, Abelard and Heloise, you and “bike guy who rides in the other direction”—these are the deeply compelling tragedies of love doomed by fate. But how can you escape?
Crash into him. Just go full speed ahead, swerve, and take him out. You can see how he handles it. Is he kind? Will he be understanding? While you’re waiting for the ambulance, use the time to get to know each other. Share contact and insurance info. (GP sees no way in which this doesn’t lead to everlasting love.) Or conversely, you can pull a quick U-turn and try to chat at the next red light. It’s kind of a long shot, but chatting is definitely less disruptive than crashing. —GP
Gear Prudence: At red lights, I always patiently wait my turn in line for the cyclist in front of me to go. Lately though, my commitment to this has been tested because I keep stopping behind people who use the red lights to look at their phones. When the light turns green, they’re not looking up and don’t go. Should I pull around? Or should I wait for them to finally notice and go? —Quite Upset Electronics Users Encamp
Dear QUEUE: GP admires your commitment to your principles, but you needn’t dwell too much on whether it is a violation of etiquette if you were to pass. It’s totally fine, because looking down at your phone when the light turns green voids the underlying social contract of first-come, first-go. True, it’s far better and far safer to check for a text or reply to an email when stopped at a red light than while on the move, but anyone who does so needs to be mindful that their place in queue is preserved only so far as their attentiveness maintains it. If you must, you could say “excuse me” or clear your throat, but realistically, the path of lesser resistance is the one that takes you around the occupied cyclist. And if you’re inclined to check your phone at red lights, please be aware that these lights turn green eventually and you shouldn’t expect endless patience from your fellow cyclists. —GP