Gear Prudence: I’m looking for a good comeback for annoying comments people yell at me while I’m riding my bike, like “ride on the sidewalk!” or “get off the road!” Thoughts? —Please Eradicate Snarkiness Toward Every Rider

Dear PESTER: Ah, the one withering word or phrase that will not only silence the haters, but make them feel bad for ever opening their mouths. After you let loose with it, not only will the offender regret their comment, but this comeback will make them never bother cyclists again. It will be epiphanic. They’ll soon realize bicyclists are great. Maybe they’ll get a bike and begin to ride to work. And then, all because of your snappy line, they’ll become cycling evangelists ready with their own snappy comebacks to those who dare yell at them, thereby converting even more former enemies to the cause. Soon all harassers will be on bikes in a glorious future of understanding and harmoniousness!

I don’t think so.

A witty rejoinder (or fusillade of curses) might get someone to shut up. Or it won’t. At best, it’ll make you feel better momentarily. At worst, it’ll needlessly escalate the situation. Ignore dumb people and the dumb things they say. —GP

Gear Prudence: I’m wondering if you had any ideas for some bike-themed Halloween costumes. —Beseeching Original Outfits

Dear BOO: Donning normal bike attire and going as an “avid cyclist” is a major cop-out and the lamest of hastily pulled-together boring costumes. Likewise, anything that evokes imagery of injured or dead cyclists is utterly gross. “Zombie who supports mandatory helmet laws” or “vampire and werewolf who ride a tandem” seem only tangentially bike-themed and hardly worth the effort of explaining. (Besides, no self-respecting vampire would be caught dead—er, undead—on a tandem.)

The ideal D.C. Halloween costume is both topical and winking, if not always clever, so here are some suggestions:

  • If you’re going as a couple, one person can dress as a bike lane and the other as a delivery truck—spend the night all over each other.
  • Wear a red octagon and a frown and say you’re an ignored stop sign.
  • Think hot: sexy Bikeshare rebalancer, sexy Maryland driver, sexy bike advice columnist (!). “Lame duck politician with ideas about bikes on sidewalks” is a particularly scary costume.
  • Drive your VW bug to the party.
  • And don’t use a bicycle as a prop. Halloween parties are crowded enough.


Gear Prudence is Brian McEntee, who blogs at and tweets at @sharrowsdc. Got a question about bicycling? Email