After a tumultuous summer of commuting home after midnight (15-20 miles rounder), I decided to experiment with a few nuances of my commute in order to determine if it may be as simple as appearance that causes nitwits to interact negatively with us as commuters.
After being shot at with a blow dart, almost being ridden off the rode on more than occasion, and a significant increase in heckling, it was time to re-evaluate my safety during the wee small hours of the morning.
Typical commuting garb for me in summer is road-wear: Bib shorts, Primal jersey, clipless, and a huge eff-off backpack full of stuff. Each night the ride home (several different options) takes me by a road that leads to the University (blow dart incident), through a residential area (drunks take this route home to avoid cops) or by an intersection/offramp from the Interstate (TGIFriday's, Old Chicago, Hooter's). Heckling has occurred half a dozen times in the summer months from all locations, and consists of derogatory comments about wearing spandex/lycra/whathaveyou.
I decided to change it up a bit and wear my messenger shorts over my bibs, keeping everything else the same for the past month. I don't know what it is, but apparently it has something to with grown [drunken] men feeling threatened by a dude in this garb (every incident involved men, and one woman tagged along for one). The heckling subsided and I have not been the subject of any verbal barbs over this time.
In the interest of keeping my cycling safe, the shorts are now part of the commute, with the bibs being relegated to rides when the sun is up. I know it sounds weird, but that's what it has come to.
Has anyone else changed their commute to minimize the amount of distractions/dangers such as this?