This Tiny Lap Dog Thinks He Owns the Road

When I’m cycling down the car-filled roads of Austin, I often feel like I’m like one of those tiny lap dogs who has never looked in the mirror and totally thinks he’s a raging pit bull.  You know the kind I’m talking about.  They weigh 3 pounds and are only a few inches high, but stand in the face of big dogs (and other animals) like they are ten feet tall.

That’s probably the best way I can describe how I feel when out riding.  I may be only 125 pounds and riding a 52cm bike frame, but I honestly don’t feel intimidated by any vehicle, animal, or anything else when I’m out there.  I once wrote about feeling like a Giant on my Bike, and how my “Bike Confidence” almost got me in a heap of trouble with the 250 pound dude behind the wheel of his monster truck.  But this lap dog/pit bull feeling is slightly different.

Now I’m not trying to say that this attitude is the ideal approach to take on your riding, and I’m certainly not suggesting you follow along with my lunatic “attitude”….but for some reason this is the persona I take on while riding my bike.  Off my bike, there’s no way I would likely do the things that I do out there.

Do You Fear Riding on Busy Roads?

I have a lot of beginner cyclists who contact me and ask how to overcome their fear of riding on busy or traffic congested roads.  My advice is simple, Be confident and smart, Own your space, and Remember that you DESERVE to be out there.”    I honestly feel that being confident and riding without fear is the greatest asset for staying safe.  Those “big dog’s” might look intimidating….but you absolutely deserve to be out there.

bing.com’s Week of Riding

This week has been dedicated to bing.com’s week of riding for their Summer of Doing promotion, and today’s post goes out to all of our new followers who found us through bing as well as all our loyal members of the Loving the Bike Army.  Above all else, what I wish to accomplish most over here at Loving the Bike is to inspire more people to take up cycling and to fall in love with it.  It’s part of a great lifestyle of living and I sure do hope there are a bunch of people yelling out “I’m Loving the Bike” this week…..and always.

Photo c/o WebMD

  • Russell

    I’m looking for some advice. Off topic I know, but anyway….doing a 50 miler tomorrow, and I don’t know which bike to choose. Trek Madone with a triple up front, and Ultegra/105 mixed components, or Fezzari, which is 1.5 pounds lighter, has a compact up front, and Dura Ace components….any suggestions?
    Thanks

    • http://lovingthebike.com Darryl is Loving the Bike

      Hey Russell, thought I better get back to you on this one quickly. It depends more on the elevation than your ride, but without knowing a whole lot about your route I would recommend the Fezzari.

      • Russell

        Thanks, Darryl. I was leaning towards the Fezzari, but pre-race jitters and doubts got to me. I’m doing the Tour de Park City, Medio 50 miler. Lots of hills! Wish me luck, and thanks again

  • Ang

    I think I have the dog you are describing. Thank you for this motivation and boost of confidence. I will do my best to own my space while biking.

    • http://lovingthebike.com Darryl is Loving the Bike

      Thanks Ang. Let me know how owning your space goes for you.

  • http://twitter.com/trimon29 Eric Hutchins

    Perfect. Riding on the road requires you to be confident. You need to look and feel and BE ten times bigger than you are. I think when possible eye contact is important, and that may seem crazy but you actually CAN make eye contact with a driver in a car across an intersection. You need to do everything you can to make sure people are truly aware of your presence.
    I love to ride road bikes. Period. I am not going to give that up, even in light of some terrible things that have happened to fellow riders. I will just do my best to make good riding choices, obey road rules, ride in the lowest traffic areas I can, etc etc etc, But I am going to ride, and I am going to be a big dog while doing it.
    Love your blogs Darryl, and your attitude, keep it coming.

    • http://lovingthebike.com Darryl is Loving the Bike

      Totally agree with you, Eric….and I share your same love and desire for cycling.

  • http://www.lifes2wheelbalance.com Anthony Lussier

    You definitely have to “own your space” out there. Let people know you are there. For myself, I kind of turn off the fear of getting hit or run down. If it happens, well at least I was doing something that I absolutely love. I will not let fear dictate my life. As Darryl said, we deserve to be out there just as much as vehicles (OK maybe a little more). I squeeze into traffic, through cars at a stand still and just go about my business because simply being on my bike is one of the best joys I have. I also have more of an offensive attitude as well. I don’t react to situations, I try to foresee them and act accordingly, if that makes sense.

    • http://lovingthebike.com Darryl is Loving the Bike

      Sounds like you’ve got the right attitude and approach. Yes, as long as you’re safe and still predictable on the road, it’s totally fine to be confident and bold while out on the bike…in my opinion.

  • JJ

    For the most part I am confident on the road. But I do have times where I get intimidated. More because of reckless drivers of those who are not paying attention. No matter how big of a dog you are out there, you can’t do anything about those sorts of poeple.

    • http://lovingthebike.com Darryl is Loving the Bike

      Thanks JJ. You’ve got that right. We can do all we can, but we still put our lives in the hands of the drivers out there. Let’s hope that people who drive cars think about that before picking up their cell phone or getting distracted.

  • Jon

    lol. Very nice story, Darryl. Keep on fighting like a big dog

    • http://lovingthebike.com Darryl is Loving the Bike

      Glad you liked it, Jon. Bark, Bark.