Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Social Cycling

I have a 'social cycling' tag on here that brings up all the posts where I am riding with friends or see other people who are riding together. That's one of the lovely things about cycling. If you bump into a friend or are going somewhere together, you can just ride along beside each other. You don't have to worry about where to leave the car, you don't have to choose between convenience and conversation, you are not limited to the honk-and-wave greeting. You can just pedal along together talking and sharing the experience, and then go your separate ways at any point.

Now there is a name for places to do this. According to, Copenhagen has some places where the bicycle lane is very wide; it is actually a couple of lanes added together. They have designated the left lane for faster traffic and the right lane for slower traffic. But instead of such utilitarian terms as 'fast' and 'slow', they have decided to call the right lane a 'Conversation Lane'. The blog entry about it has a great photo of the lane being used for exactly this purpose.

As I've said before, we don't have many lanes in Atlanta, so we usually take the 10 to 12 foot general purpose lane. For some reason, state law prohibits more than two cyclists to ride abreast. Of course, this does not apply to passing situations (a cyclist passing two people who are bicycling side-by-side). Not that this would be enforced, ever, unless there was some sort of conflict resulting from it. The point is that this is a very comfortable width for riding with a friend or two, chatting, pointing things out, pedaling along with your own thoughts for a bit and then closing the distance to hear what your friends are saying.

I hope that more Atlantans - people who have been limited to car travel until now - can get a chance to experience this. Maybe it would create more opportunities to be civilized, express Southern hospitality, meet our neighbors, flirt, see and be seen, and just relax a bit.

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