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Publisher's Statement

By Jeff Guerrero

There’s a little game that most of us play. I like to call it Trivial Pursuit, though I’m not talking about the board game. I’m talking about the game we play out on the city streets, where we pass and are passed by automobiles. They’re seldom aware that we’re even in pursuit, and we’re seldom conscious of how trivial our efforts are. After all, much like winning the board game, there’s no real prize. Even if you “win” all you’re likely to get is a little self-gratification. You probably won’t even get the satisfaction of seeing frustration on the motorist’s face.

So why continue to play the game? Why not just keep to the right, stay back behind traffic and choose the bike paths over direct routes through the city streets? By and large it’s pride. And while pride is one of the seven deadly sins, in many ways it helps keep our spirit alive. The notion that we do things our way—independently and on two wheels—while the rest of the world takes the easy, fossil-fueled route that society dictates.

I thought about this the other evening while riding home from work. Although I could easily ride the North Shore Trail, it’s often so crowded with pedestrians that it’s slow and almost dangerous to bike on. When there’s a sporting event going on, forget about it. So out of habit I just ride the roads around Pittsburgh’s multi-million dollar stadiums. The roads are well kept, and most days traffic is light. But on game day the traffic becomes erratic, congested and drivers are irritated, confused or simply feel a sense of entitlement that comes from paying outlandish amounts of money for the privilege of spectating on the banks of the Ohio. In other words, guys driving Hummers don’t think they need to share the road with some punk on a Salsa. And so the notion of passing at a safe distance goes out the window, along with a leer and perhaps a few choice words.

Of course it’s not hard to win at Trivial Pursuit on game day, and after dodging the valet drivers and narrowly avoiding the jaywalkers, I’ve put the Hummer in its place—stuck at a red light behind a row of cars trying to enter the parking garage. Maybe it’s just that I’m getting older, but I don’t even bother to flip the driver off as I pass. I know they see me, and it’s satisfaction enough to know that I’ll be well on my way to drinking a cold one before they get their hands on a $7 beer at the ballpark.


Urban Velo issue #16, November 2009. Dead tree print run: 5000 copies. Issue #15 online readership: 55,000+