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Gear Prudence: My wife and I are visiting my parents for the holidays, and I want to bring my bike with me. I’m really excited to ride my bike in a different part of the country, but I don’t think my wife is happy about it—she’s worried I’m going to abandon her to go on long rides. I told her to bring her bike, too, but she doesn’t seem enthusiastic. What should I do? —Do I Velocipede Or Rightfully Continue Evading Discussion?
Dear DIVORCED: To recap: You plan to abandon your wife with her in-laws for hours while you joyously ride your bike, and you think she might not like this, but you’re going ahead with this plan anyway? I’m not sure what you’re asking for here. Are you looking for my blessing for this cockamamie idea? “But Gear Prudence says it’s cool!” isn’t going to get you out of a ticket for rolling a stop sign, much less marital strife.
If she does finds the plan as objectionable as you suspect, you can “surprise” your parents on another weekend (when your wife is otherwise occupied) with an impromptu visit and bring the bike then, assuming they’d be OK with your using their house as a B&B (bike and breakfast). But for this weekend, leave the bike at home. —GP
Gear Prudence: I was biking down an uncrowded 15th Street NW cycletrack, and at a red light, a man on a bike pulled up right next to me. At the next block, he pulled up next to me again. We were literally shoulder-to-shoulder as we waited for the light to change. He was mere inches from me. Why so close? How much personal space should I expect on a bike? —I Need Vast Autonomy So I’m Vaguely Ennervated
Dear INVASIVE: Don’t expect any personal space, and you’ll never be disappointed. Maybe he was just trying to get a better look at your handlebars or trying to assess the tread of your tires, appreciating your bicycle’s quality or considering an upgrade of his own. Bike ogling seems like a plausible enough justification. Or could he have wanted to challenge you to a drag race? Did he make any revving noises as he pulled up? Did he refer to his bicycle at any point as “Chain Grease Lightning?”
Generally speaking, I support bike queuing, if for no other reason than to avoid the awkwardness of being inches from a stranger block after block. It’s hard to gauge exactly how close is too close, but if you really don’t like it, take the precaution of never washing your bike clothes. The stink will set you free. —GP
Gear Prudence is Brian McEntee, who blogs at talesfromthesharrows.blogspot.com and tweets at @sharrowsdc. Got a question about bicycling? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.