Ask The Advice Pedaler: Etiquette for the Conscientious Cyclist

Dear Advice Pedaler: Can you give me the name and address of the writer of the letter in your last column? I think we'd have a lot in common and I'd like to ask her out on a date. -Single Cyclist

Dear Advice Pedaler: Can you help me find the cute guy I met at Critical Mass last month? We rode for a couple of blocks together but then I lost him around Van Ness. He had a really nice cruiser with front and rear lights, and was wearing a helmet. -I'm Single, Too

Dear Single and Single Too: The Advice Pedaler regrets that she cannot pass personal information on for her readers. However, perhaps you have learned from the experience that cycling is an excellent way to meet sexy, like-minded people. The Advice Pedaler recommends that the next time you see a cyclist you're interested in, you use her patented, failure-proof opening line-"Hi!" Oh, and don't miss the SFBC's Love on Wheels Dating Game & Valentine's Day Party!

Dear Advice Pedaler: I got to a four-way stop just after a car coming from my right had reached the intersection. I did a track stand and waited so the car could go first. But the car waited for me. But I thought he had the right of way so I waited. Finally I lost my balance and fell over. I had to go buy a box of Band–Aids. Can I make the driver pay for them? -Bruised

Dear Bruised: In such situations, motorists think that anyone on a bike has forward momentum. A cautious motorist will often let a moving cyclist go first. Therefore, it's helpful to make the international sign of the stopped bicyclist by placing one foot on the ground. Sometimes this even needs to be followed by the international signal meaning "you go first," which is indicated by motioning with your hand.

Dear Advice Pedaler: I often see bikes that are improperly locked. For example, I saw a bike with a U-lock going through the spokes of the front tire, around the front forks, and through the spokes of the front tire again (which had quick release hubs). I have seen this on many occasions. What should I do (besides stealing it or laughing my ass off)? -Lock Master

Dear Master: The Advice Pedaler always has a clean hankie in her pocket for these situations, since she can't help but cry when she sees a bike locked as you described. The hankie also comes in handy when comforting the owner who returns only to find a wheel.

Wake up city cyclists! You must lock up your bike really well in San Francisco, even in your own garage! For starters, use a quality U-lock and fill the space in the U so no one can get U-lock cutting tools inside it. You must at least lock the frame and rear wheel inside the U. If you don't remove the front wheel and squeeze it into the U also, then use a cable to secure the front wheel. In San Francisco it is NEVER safe to lock your bike up with a cable alone. Cables should only be used to lock parts (such as wheels and seats) to the U-lock.

All U-locks are not equal. Kryptonite locks come in different grades: the cheapest ($20) model can be easily snapped apart with simple tools. The more expensive models ($25-$80) are made of better materials as the price goes up and have more secure locking mechanisms. The more money you spend on a lock and the more time you take to lock up your bike, the safer your bike will be! The new free Safe Bicycling in San Francisco guide (see article) has excellent pictures showing how to lock up your bike and what to lock it to.