Here are six stories from commuters around the country that are perfect examples of how something good can sometimes go horribly wrong.
Wild Coyotes1 of 7
"The roads aren't very safe where I live, so I usually take the canals to work since they're away from traffic. I usually never have problems, but one day I was on this really long stretch, and right towards the end of it, I saw an animal. At first I thought it was just a dog or something, so I kept on going. When I got a little closer, I realized it was a coyote. I wasn't sure what to do, and turning around wasn't an option. It took me about 20 minutes to finally get the nerve to try and pedal past it, and as soon as I did it took off in the same direction. I followed it all the way to the street crossing before it disappeared. It made me late for work, but I guess it could've been worse."
-Todd W., Arizona
Black Bean Soup2 of 7
"I usually leave clothes and shoes at work so I don't have to carry anything but my lunch. The night before my wife made this really awesome black bean tortilla soup. We had plenty of leftovers, so I sealed it up in one of those airtight plastic containers that have the locking flaps on the side. In my haste during the early morning hour, I didn't realize that one of the flaps on the container wasn't locked. Halfway to work the soup leaked all over my pack, eventually making its way to the small of my back before I noticed what I'd done. Showing up to work wearing your lunch isn't the most fashionable of looks."
-Marc Lindsay at Active.com
Old Gears3 of 7
"I have this old 1980s steel Schwinn Traveler that I use to get to work. I don't have to ride very far, but there are lots of small, steep hills. My bike weighs a ton, so I'm usually riding in the smallest gear I have. My shift levers are the old kind that are down on the frame, and when I came to the first hill I have to climb over, the whole thing just fell off. I tried to find the screw that held it on, but it was totally gone. I couldn't shift at all, and my shifters were just hanging there. I had to walk up every single hill pushing my 40-pound bike. I know it's silly, but I still wouldn't trade my bike for the world."
-Rosie Arellano, southern California
Pouring Rain4 of 7
"When the sun is out in Portland during the spring, everyone rides their bike. The weather had been nice all week, and when I looked outside in the morning there was nothing but sunshine. I even took the long route to work over the bridge so I could get a view of the cherry blossoms. They're so magical, and the view from the bridge is awesome. I guess I got caught up in the excitement from all of the good weather, but living in Portland, I should've known better. I always carry a rain jacket in my pack, but I didn't bother putting on my fenders. On the way home from work the sun disappeared in the middle of my ride, just like that, and it started to pour rain. I was a mess by the time I got home."
-Megan M., Oregon
No Deo5 of 7
"My commute is 25 miles each way. I have to wake up so early that I usually only give myself about fifteen minutes to be out the door. Once I was in such a rush that I forgot to put on my deodorant. That was a problem, but an even bigger one was the shower at work. It just so happened to be closed that day for maintenance, which left me in a big-time bind. It wasn't a good day for making friends."
Cigarettes6 of 7
"Atlanta is probably one of the worst cities for riding a bike. I've had all kinds of crap thrown at me, some of it intentional and some of it not. The worst was some idiot tossing his cigarette out of the passenger window. I don't know if he saw me or not, but the cigarette blew back and hit me right in the chest. I still have a burn mark on my jersey. I wanted to kill that guy."
-Kevin L., Georgia