Gear Prudence: I was out the other night and I locked up my bike at a bike rack next to another bike. I left and when I came back, the other bike had fallen over. I insist: I did not knock it over! It fell on its own! It was not my fault! And that’s why I left it lying on the ground. But should I have picked it up? —Fretful Evening, Left Laid
Dear FELL: It’s OK. GP believes you. Stationary objects totally fall of their own volition. Sometimes bike parking jobs are done quite poorly with a U- or cable lock strewn casually about a tube in such a way that the bike is not anchored in a substantial way. Or perhaps the original owner returned and decided to knock it over in an elaborate scheme to entrap and con you. Or maybe GP doesn’t believe you, and you just accidentally knocked it over. Things happen.
Generally with other people’s bikes, Bluth prison rules apply: No touching! But bike rack parking proximity doesn’t always mean this is possible. If in the course of retrieving your own bike you chance upon a bike that has fallen over (either from the net effect of your own actions or through other mysterious means), take a moment to render the other bike upright. It’s not strictly necessary, but it’s an easy pleasantry that might make you feel like a marginally better person at an extremely low cost in time and effort. —GP
Gear Prudence: I am not a klutz, but I also keep getting bruised every time I carry my bike anywhere. I don’t think that I’m overly banging into it, but I have all of these bruises on my legs and arms and it’s sort of turning me off the whole idea of biking. Why does this keep happening and how do I stop it? —Hematomas Unduly Ruin Travel
Dear HURT: This contusion confusion doesn’t seem excessively mysterious, but GP can certainly grok your frustration with it. Unfortunately, GP also isn’t sure how to better advise you than to suggest that you take a greater degree of care in wrapping yourself in the layers and layers of bubble wrap that literally all cyclists wear. Though negligible in the amount of harm they cause others in traffic crashes, almost every rider has found him or herself welted from a callous carry or some other hapless maneuver that brought hard metal tubing in contact with considerably less hard flesh and bone.
Seek remediation through mitigation. If possible, lift and carry your bike less. If you must carry your bike, go about it gingerly. As best you can, avoid tight spaces in which your bike might press against you unnecessarily. Think gentle thoughts. —GP
Gear Prudence is Brian McEntee, who tweets @sharrowsDC. Got a question about bicycling? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.