I'm putting together a workshop on risk-taking for the executive team in an organization and finding lots of parallels between leadership behavior and cycling behavior. Each requires an element of risk, and each of us is responsible for determining what is a good, calculated risk, and what is pure foolishness.
In organizations, leaders sometimes struggle with trying to encourage risk-taking by their employees while being mindful of fiscal constraints, public / customer scrutiny, predictable and efficient systems, tolerance for poor judgment, mistakes and failures, and attempts to disguise or rationalize poor performance as "risk-taking." Like everyone else, leaders want people to take risks, but hope that they always take GOOD risks that actually pay off.
As cyclists, we all have to determine what risks we're willing to take and what we're not willing to risk. Decisions about where to ride, whether to wear a helmet or not, use a mirror or not, take repair equipment along or not, ride with others or not, and so on are a part of the sport.
If you're willing, I'd love to hear comments about how you assess cycling risks, what you're willing to risk and what you're not (and why) and whether your disposition toward risk-taking has changed over the years. If this stuff bores you, feel free to ignore this thread!
For instance, I stopped riding twenty five years ago when I was nearly struck by three different cars (all turning right) on the same day. I decided it just wasn't worth the risk, and it wasn't worth the effort to take the bike to a bike path somewhere.
Two years ago, that all changed, when the risk of maintaining my sedentary life was too great. I tried a bike again, and haven't looked back.
I now engage in some fairly risky behavior on city streets (taking the lane, asserting my rights, etc.) with far greater propensity than ever before, partly because of increased confidence in my skill set, and partly because I have a stronger belief it will turn out okay.
On the other hand, I started biking two years ago WITH a mirror, and then stopped using a mirror for 2,500 miles, which I think was taking a risk, and now find myself experimenting with mirrors again. So I must be redefining what's a calculated and what's a foolish risk once again.
Anyway...any thoughts out there?