Offensive has a few shades of meaning; insulting, obnoxious, aggressive, and attack. Though some of these words are synonymous, insulting and obnoxious, others, aggressive and attack, are not quite synonymous to insulting or obnoxious. Despite that, riding a bicycle is both insulting and aggressive at the same time. In fact, to ride a bike in Russia you need to be offensive and on the offensive. If you take to the roads, drivers assume they own the road. Yet, if you take to the sidewalk, pedestrians think that they are king. Where does a bike rider go? Well, I will give you some advice about surviving the roads, pot-holes, sidewalks, cars, dogs, and other interesting obstacles. So find that helmet because this is going to be a tough read.
First of all, you need to understand that no matter what, you will be offensive. Drivers, about 90 percent, have not gotten use to bikers like they have in America, in my experience. Don’t be surprised if a driver guns it around you just in order to take a right hand turn while in the process cutting you off. Brake or else you will be redecorating his car, trust me on this I have experience. Be prepared for anything and throw out any notion that you may have about sharing the road because the drivers will not do so. They would sooner hit you then give you some space.
If you think that roads are too dangerous and that it would be safer to stick to the sidewalks, you are wrong. People tend to walk across the whole path and are quick on the notions that a bicyclist is passing, even if you yell that you are passing. Worse than the people are the roads which tend to end abruptly or require skills in jumping over curves. Jumping might be ill advised because a pool of water or trash might be waiting for you. Then at night you have the fun of dodging drunks who are swerving all over the place.
Maybe you are feeling a little offended by the offensiveness of the offenders instead of being obnoxious to them. Let’s just agree to disagree on this one. No matter what though, you can be sure that the only remedy to this is offensive riding. Not as in insulting people, that just infuriates them, but rather as being on the offensive, ready to attack. Plan your actions in advance, look for any openings, look back often, and don’t be timid. Some drivers attempt to scare you but in the end they will not take you out. No one wants to have a dead cyclist on their conscious and moreover they definitely don’t want to wash your blood off.
Don’t hang up that helmet, you need it to ride and don’t be afraid. I have been riding for awhile and can attest that major problems rarely happen. As long as you check both ways before going on a green, check your surroundings, make notes of the big trucks, and ride offensively everything will work out. If not, then you will have a few scars to show as you recount your latest brush with death. Lastly don’t forget to signal when you are turning and preferably stopping so that drivers and even pedestrians are ready. However, if you are still unsure about riding a bike, hit the forests and parks which are aplenty and safe.