Gear Prudence: I’ve recently noticed at the bike racks in my office building a few bikes that don’t look like they’ve moved at all for a few weeks. There’s enough rack space for bike commuters, but it still seems wrong that people have just left their bikes at the office. How long should I wait before asking the building to remove them? —Slight Transgressions On Racks At Garage Everyday
Dear STORAGE: Out of sight, out of mind. It’s easy to imagine a scenario where someone suffered a mechanical malady, left a bike locked up in the work garage with the intention of addressing it, and then promptly forgot about it. Or maybe a coworker is using the work garage to hide a bicycle whose purchase wouldn’t be welcomed by a bike-fatigued spouse. “Another bike? Are you fucking kidding me?” is a conversation worth avoiding. However, a bike should not be left fallow and certainly not on a rack to which one has no specific individual claim.
I say one week. Any bike that definitely hasn’t been moved in seven days should be reported as abandoned and removed/exploded (or however your workplace handles such things). The building managers will likely leave a note prior to cutting the lock, so the owner will have a chance to intervene. And if he doesn’t, oh well. Use it or lose it. —GP
Gear Prudence: Biking is my main form of transportation. Sometimes I come dangerously close to being struck or knocked off my bike. This shakes me up, but it doesn’t stop me from riding. I know there’s not much to be done after the fact, but how do you mentally get back on the bike after something really bad almost happens? —Seeking Helpful Observations Or Knowledge
Dear SHOOK: Unfortunately, it’s a sad fact of bicycling life that there are scary close calls and even worse than that, actual collisions. It’s hard to know exactly the extent to which someone will be affected, so generalizable advice is elusive. We all rebound differently, and while resiliency is virtuous, I hesitate to suggest to anyone that they “get over it” in a manner or at a pace that doesn’t feel right. So, it’s complicated.
After a close call (which, thankfully, is exceedingly rare), I try to think about what happened without dwelling on it. Is there something I can do in the future to reduce the likelihood of it happening again? Try a different route? Use a hand signal? Take the lane? My only advice is to try to put the past in the past and, to quote a wise Mancunian philosopher-poet, “Don’t look back in anger.” —GP