When I was in bike school, Gail Spann, who did the lion's share of the lecture, asked if anyone wore earphones while riding. Alone, I defiantly shot my hand up, and cited John Allen's excellent analysis, here, as evidence why I should not feel guilty about doing so. I think that Chandra, sitting next to me, momentarily wished he'd been sitting on the opposite side of the room. Later, I mentioned to Gail that probably the strongest reason to avoid earphones is that it might give a motorist's insurance company a lever to weasel out of some liability in case of an accident where their client was at fault. Still, as I found out yesterday, Gail was probably more right than she knew.
I was innocently riding home on my last leg, in the frigid 59F afternoon sun, listening to talk radio as usual, when Charles Krauthammer came on as a guest. I tend to like him, because, even when I don't agree with him, his opinions are usually well considered and expressed. Yesterday, however, was a whole different matter.
Somehow, the radio conversation digressed to his youth in Montreal. As he noted, when he was growing up, he had to walk eight miles to get to his destination. Through the snow. Barefoot. Even before he added the inevitable "uphill," I was laughing so hard I almost ran right off a perfectly good road and into a tree. Those earphones almost killed me!
You see, I often explain to my daughters that I ride my bike, twenty miles each way, through storms and sleet, occasionally through snow flurries and boiling heat, with 18 wheelers and concrete trucks trying to kill me at all times, except when the police are considering whether to club me into submission. Of course, the ride is uphill, into the wind, both ways. Why do I do this? It's all so they can drive the Jag a mile and a half to school. Yes, they do roll their eyes and mutter about crazy Yeti...