I ran into this essay by Chip Brown from 1988 over at the Transportation Alernatives website. Forgive me if it's been brought up here before. If it has, and you can't forgive me, then the hell with you.
This passage really gets to me:
"At a deeper level, city riding is a continual lesson in feminine principles, in particular the art of being vulnerable. A confrontational, macho aesthetic spells calamity. You must learn to yield, to dodge, to seek harmony. You are obliged to mind the web of interrelations, that complicated mesh of interests, conflicts, intentions: See that stockbroker signaling for a cab at the corner? Wake up, that man's arm may bring a ton of yellow metal swerving across your path. See that poet with the uncertain expression? He's forgotten his briefcase; he's about to turn around in the middle of the road. That fellow double-parked in front of Gray's Papaya — is he going to fling his door open? No, he's eating a hot dog."
He gets at the very heart of the problem of riding in the city. How do we react to other people? When there are people walking in the bike lane, it's natural to get hostile and judgmental. Hey this is my bike lane, get the hell out of my way!!! Or those parked cars in the bike lanes. Get a cop to write a ticket or if there's no cop around give the car's door a hard kick (especially if there's no one inside to beat the crap out of you).
Instead Chip Brown reminds us to yield, dodge and seek harmony. Not just for the benefit of the people impeding our way, but for our own benefit. We get to ride and be in a state of grace.