COLUMN: Save gas, ride your bike, but steer clear of cell phones

Ryan DeBiase

With gas prices currently shooting through the tarmac roof, alternate forms of transportation, like the bicycle, become that much more viable. Riding a bike becomes especially useful when commuting to campus in terms of quickness and cost.

The environmental positives of riding a bike instead of driving prove staggering.

More than anything, biking leads to a greater sense of self-sufficiency, for one is no longer fettered by the rigors of car ownership. Traffic, gas prices, parking and insurance no longer matter.

When it comes to class, don’t skip, ride a bike (pun intended).

Think of the expedience! Think of the adventure!

Take, for instance, this humorous, completely true, anecdote:

I felt the wind whip through my hair at 20 mph as I rode past the front of the Music and Speech Building on Theatre Drive. It was a cool October night as I approached the Jackson Drive intersection directly in front of me. A vibration on my inner-thigh told me that not only was I very happy to be riding but I was also receiving a phone call.

I began steering with one hand, my left hand, as I quite gracelessly shimmied the phone out of my pocket. Despite a few drastic wobbles and a correction, I was engaged in cellular communication with my roommate over the possibility of take-out Arby’s. The conversation was so engrossing that I failed to realize the approaching stop sign and car at my left heading directly at me.

With adrenaline leaping in my brain, I reacted as best I could. When it comes to reactions, my best is pretty mediocre.

With my left hand, I punched the brakes, the FRONT brakes. I vaulted over the handlebars, off my bike, and into the middle of the intersection. At some point in my arc, the cell phone broke free from my grasp and promptly disconnected, the signal unable to compensate for complete ridiculousness.

The asphalt struck me around the shoulder area, causing my trademark black plastic-rimmed glasses to fall off and break in equally trademark fashion. Simultaneously, I heard an anonymous part from my disheveled bike skitter across the pavement into the darkness.

The car casually drove past, probably remarking on the ineptness of asshole cyclists.

On the ground, pathetically bruised and blind, I hoped to wallow in my own misery for a bit, but such was not in the cards. As in a second grade nightmare, I was hit with a spotlight and flashing red and blue lights. From a loudspeaker, I heard authoritatively, yet with a tinge of concern:

“Are you all right?”

The cop who had been following me turned out to be more concerned for my health than anything. After hobbling back to his car, I informed him I had been engaged in a very important phone call and failed to realize I was headed straight for that car. He was quite helpful in using the spotlight to locate the fragments of my glasses and that pesky lost part. He even circled back around to make sure I was really okay. He settled for mediocre. Guess I did, too.

Moral of the story: Biking – good. Arby’s – good. Conversation – good. All three combined – complete travesty.

Ryan DeBiase is a senior English major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].