I like riding my bike to work. The only way I'm able to make time to exercise during the week is by using my commute, so riding and running are perfect. Not to mention it saves on gas money and pollution. It's a win-win really. But anyone who's ever ridden in even mild traffic knows that sometimes your ride can suck.
You'll be huffing and puffing up a steep hill and some old piecer or diesel truck comes whizzing by with black smog pouring out of his tailpipe. You quickly switch to trying to breathe out only for fear of getting a mouthful of exhaust. Seriously there are days I wonder if riding in traffic is counter productive. Exercise is supposed to be good for your body but I can't help think I might one day end up with lung cancer from inhaling all these fumes.
A diesel truck hauling ass past always startles me and the gust of wind from it actually makes me swerve. Or maybe that's just from fear while imagining him swerving into my little lane and taking me out.
Getting stuck behind a city bus can suck. Trying to pass the bus while they're at a stop taking up my lane is quite scary since I'm never sure when they're gonna take off. Sometimes the timing is not in my favor and I pass them, only for them to pass me, and then me to catch up to them again at the next stop.
Drivers that like to slowly creep out while waiting to turn make me very nervous as I have no idea what they're gonna do or if they see me. Make eye contact people. That's the only way I know you see me.
There is A LOT of road kill. Squirrels, birds, cats, raccoons, skunks, possums, and completely unidentifiable animals end up smeared all over the road. The saddest to see is definitely cats as you know they probably belonged to someone. I have no sympathy for squirrels however since they seem to be constantly playing chicken.
There is a lot of debris in the bike lane, including the aforementioned road kill. Pine cones, garbage, and broken glass are the most common. Other interesting things I've seen are tree branches, hub caps, underwear, socks, shoes, hair ties, toys, bike locks, and full dirty diapers. Seriously people, use a fucking trash can. It's cleaner here than it was in Reno but still I'm appalled at the crap (literally) people will throw out the window. And smokers, cigarettes are still litter damn it! The planet is not your ashtray.
So if you see a biker riding on the edge of the bike lane and you think, what the hell are they doing? They're more than likely dodging something potentially nasty or dangerous. Road bikes have high pressure tires so we do NOT want to roll over anything if we can help it. Popping a 90psi tire is probably scary as shit and I have no desire to find out how tough my tires are not while flying down a busy road.
I actually had someone honk at me for being in the bike lane at a stop light, because she wanted to turn right. Sorry peeps, the bike lane is for, wait for it..... BIKES! I don't care if you use it to turn right when no one is in it but don't honk at me unless I deserve it.
So please, when you're driving, get in the habit of checking the bike lane. My 15 year old helmet isn't going to save my brain if you hit me going 45. No helmet would. But that reminds me I should get a new one. Anyways as you can see, there are many things that happen on the road that you don't always notice in a car. I really wish every driver would ride their bike in traffic a few times so they understand what it's like, and maybe take better care to watch out for cyclists when they're behind the wheel.