Sandro Cohen: The cyclist's zen

Submitted by gwolf on Tue, 07/23/2013 - 14:41

For all Spanish-speakers that read my blog, specially for the cyclists among you, and most specially for those that dwell in Mexico City's streets: I was recently pointed to a project started inside the Faceboook labrynth by Sandro Cohen, writer and academic: El zen del ciclista urbano.

I met Sandro around twenty years ago. He writes in a very good, simple style. What I didn't know until now is that he has also become an urban cyclism promotor, just as me and many of my friends. In this page he started, he posts snippets on the topic of being an urban cyclist: As of today, he has 44 meditations, each of them a joy to read — And very instructive as well.

Thanks, Sandro, for the great resource!

[update] I always find it... almost funny to read comments by so many people saying they'd rather have a lobotomy than to cycle in Mexico City. Hey! Mexico City is among the best places for cycling! Yes, we have to keep our eyes open and our instincts awake, but... Most of the city's area is flat. Many avenues have wide lanes and span a long distance. And yes, although there are some careless or aggressive drivers, after six years with the joy between my legs I can just say that... things are not as bad as you might imagine. I have very few (thankfully!) bad experiences, and so, so many good ones!

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Michael Wolf's picture

I agree that the DF is,

I agree that the DF is, geographically, good for cycling. Culturally, it is not great but is improving. What's surprised me, though, is to what extent the biggest menace to the cyclist isn't cars but rather other cyclists and pedestrians.

The number of cyclists who go the wrong way, in regular streets but particularly in dedicated lanes, is both remarkable and inexcusable. The attitude that a bike is just a toy, so, meh, it doesn't matter much what you do with it is a serious problem—I have no idea what can done about it. I've confronted a number of people: occasionally they lie and say that they'll cross at the next intersection, but more of them tell me to piss off.

And then there are the pedestrians, who, in a reality of bad drivers and virtually no responsibility, will step out into the street without looking and with their backs turned to oncoming traffic. But no pasa nada, right? Right?

But the general level of respect shown by drivers has been surprising, and in a good way. I'll add that I suggest to new cyclists who plan to commute that they find routes on streets of middling size (a lot of streets that would be very frustrating in a car are ideal for a cyclist) and that they be constantly on the lookout for marginal improvements. Study maps and pay attention to traffic patterns: if you can avoid a difficult intersection or avoid a pedestrian bridge, it is nearly always worth a slightly longer ride or a less obvious route.

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