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Singlespeed & Fixed Gear "I still feel that variable gears are only for people over forty-five. Isn't it better to triumph by the strength of your muscles than by the artifice of a derailer? We are getting soft...As for me, give me a fixed gear!"-- Henri Desgrange (31 January 1865 - 16 August 1940)

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Old 01-27-06, 01:57 PM   #1
Mehow
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Taming Anger

Many of us here are about as patient as a hair trigger when it comes to the abuse that bad drivers spew on us. In my daily life Iím a pretty mellow guy with plenty of patients towards people. But once Iím on the road and I see that my safety is being compromised by a careless driver I erupt in anger and often seek revenge.

Obviously, Iíd like to tame this unproductive anger . . . so what do you guys think of, or do to calm yourself in these situations? I think many of us can benefit from this discussion.


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Old 01-27-06, 01:59 PM   #2
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I try very hard to be level headed. I think of my kids and no longer go on the chase. I study martial arts off and on and that gives me tons of walk away abilities.
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Old 01-27-06, 02:00 PM   #3
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i always listen to bel biv devoe when i am really pissed off. your milage may vary.
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Old 01-27-06, 02:00 PM   #4
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i've found that listening to laid back music while riding helps. keeping the headphones somewhat off of the ears lets you hear what's still going on around you and gives you some calming background music.
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Old 01-27-06, 02:01 PM   #5
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^^^^LMAO^^^^
that girl is........
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Old 01-27-06, 02:01 PM   #6
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or yeah. just be like shants and listen to bel biv devoe. tony toni tone would probably work too.
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Old 01-27-06, 02:02 PM   #7
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POOIIISOOOOOOOnnNNNN
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Old 01-27-06, 02:03 PM   #8
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Ride harder and really work up some pain in my legs to work off the adrenaline and head rush I get right before i feel like I'm gonna explode into retaliation. In other words, get out of harms way and than sprint as hard as I can.
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Old 01-27-06, 02:04 PM   #9
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how do i tame my anger? ummm...i dunno. i guess i don't.
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Old 01-27-06, 02:05 PM   #10
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Got your back.
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Old 01-27-06, 02:05 PM   #11
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props for trying to do something about it. it's a problem for me as well.
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Old 01-27-06, 02:09 PM   #12
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Wow, synchronicity: my favorite two threads right now are the zen thread and the Toronto courier hockey fight thread. Anger and anger management, right there.

My own technique: deep breaths, and remember that my enemy is still trapped in a car while I get to pedal.
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Old 01-27-06, 02:10 PM   #13
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I pull over and set this up on the sidewalk. It just barely fits in my messenger bag!
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Old 01-27-06, 02:10 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by timmhaan
props for trying to do something about it. it's a problem for me as well.

It's just that I feel that it will needlessly get me into unnecessary trouble someday.

BTW- Bell Biv Devoe seems to have the opposite effect on me.
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Old 01-27-06, 02:13 PM   #15
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i live in LA - not sure how drivers treat you in other cities, but here? hell & a half. I'm not talking about the people who have it easy up in Silver Lake / Echo Park / Hipster Spawnland... they've got a full on bike lane up there. As for the rest of LA, where I ride, it can be down right scary. that being said, I don't really let the anger get too far, but i let it show if necessary. i've been known to pull that mini-u out of the back pocket and swing it towards a car coming up too close... one time a minivan (multiple passengers) kept honking and trying to run me and a friend down. eventually the driver past in the other lane and then stopped ahead, waiting for us to come up to his window - as we approached i took out my lock and held my arm out - apparently he saw this and sped off before i got to his taillight. anyway, point being, let your anger show if necessary, otherwise drivers will just have their way and won't respect you (at least in LA). calm is good most of the time and i'm a proponent of peace in all aspects... but even Gandhi took a stand and held his ground when confronted.

unlike bullies who will stop picking on you when you no longer resist, drivers are different - gotta show them that you've got rights too and that you are actually stronger BECAUSE of the bike rather than the bike as a limitation... crappy drivers? f*ck 'em - they touch you their insurance and the law will hunt them down. hah!
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Old 01-27-06, 02:14 PM   #16
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while my anger flares, i'm generally pretty committed to de-escalation... you know, "bring your enemies to their senses, not to their knees." it's a good way to live life. takes a lot of practice in a lot of situations.
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Old 01-27-06, 02:18 PM   #17
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how exactly would you go about doing that?
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Old 01-27-06, 02:25 PM   #18
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BREATHE

Concentrate on it and channel the bad energy out. Feel it leave you as you exhale. If that doesn't get rid of it, let out a base, animal scream. Then breathe.

I, personally, have been amazed more than once by how much I can get rid of this way...
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Old 01-27-06, 02:33 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by humancongereel
how exactly would you go about doing that?
oh right, i didn't answer the question.

i try to use firm, aggressive friendliness. i was really surprised how well it worked the first time, when i caught up to a careless arse at a light, knocked on his window, and said, "hi, you almost knocked me off my bike. you're driving something that can kill people so you've got extra responsibility. please be careful." the combination of firmness, straightforwardness, but calmness, i guess, works. knowing it worked the first time it happened made me more likely to use it the second, third, fourth, etc...

but then there was the time that i was told to **** off by somebody who doored me (i just missed getting nailed by a cargo van when i hit the pavement). it was hard to not key his car, but i didn't, because it wouldn't help anything. the tipping point, though, was that his car was ****ty. if he was rich, i probably would have had about 5% of the difficulty making the decision, and i would have keyed it, or broke a sideview....

fortunately there are no rich people in my town.
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Old 01-27-06, 03:00 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Fugazi Dave
BREATHE

Concentrate on it and channel the bad energy out. Feel it leave you as you exhale. If that doesn't get rid of it, let out a base, animal scream. Then breathe.

I, personally, have been amazed more than once by how much I can get rid of this way...
An alternate suggestion that I have used is to actually BREATHE IN your anger - see your anger and acknowledge it as a very human reaction; and breathe it in -- take it in to yourself and transform it... See your anger first, and see how it is not really different from the anger that everybody feels. The ******* in the car who just cut you off or threatened your safety probably lives in a crappy world of anger and uncaring -- maybe more than you, or maybe not... You can even try to take in his or her anger too. And then you breathe out relief and solace. It starts by finding compassion for yourself and your own anger -- because you know you do not really want to be angry, and you know that it is probably not very productive to be angry. Try to see that this is true for you and for everyone. We all experience anger, we have that in common, it can even feel like a bond we share...

So you use your own experience to engender compassion for yourself, and for the anger that all of us are subject to. Try to imagine something that will help us to let go of our anger. You can start with yourself, and you can be as specific or imaginative as you want. You can also think abou it in a general sense. Then you breathe out that remedy for yourself, and for everybody else on the road -- on bikes or in buses or in cars or whatever. You can send out cool white light, or blue light, or a quiet moment with a hot cup of tea or the feeling of being on a quiet open road with no traffic on it... whatever it is you think that you or the angry people in the world need to receive in order to be free from anger. So the relief you are breathing out is whatever you really think is neededÖ whatever is the most appropriate relief you can imagine.

I think a lot of people tend to guess that you should breath in goodness and exhale badness; and that definitely seems to have some effect. But I like how counterintuitive this meditation is and find it very interesting to experiment with; you learn that you do not have to push away the badness or fight off your anger -- which really can be just another more subtle form of aggression. We have an amazing capacity right inside us to transform pain and anger into compassion and relief. It helps to practice in lighter situations first, when not already in a full blown rage -- to kind of keep doing it whenever you see an opportunity. It takes practice. And it is not just for anger, but also other kinds of pain and sadness. Basically I just notice the thoughts of anger and the physical sensations of tightening or whatever come with it. Just noticing this seems to automatically remind me to relax to some extent, then once I am conscious of all this I do this exercise, and I send out good feelings to everybody. Often I will soon find myself smiling, almost as unconsciously as the anger came upon me in the first place.

And like I mentioned above, you are not doing this just for yourself, but for the whole world. The object is to use your personal pain to empathize with all the other people in the world who have similar feelings (there are sooo many), and as you do the exercise you are taking in the pain from everybody, and you are sending out relief to everybody (and you just happen to be included with everybody.) It is an interesting side benefit that this seems to add fresh perspective to your own anger or pain, and seems to make it more tolerable, or even makes it dissipate. One unverifiable side of this is whether or not people actually directly receive the relief that you send out. I don't think we can really know, but I have to consider it a possibility. It helps me to think so.

This is actually called 'tonglen' by Tibetan Buddhists. Pema Chodron is one of the more well known Buddhists who writes about this and she calls it 'tonglen on the spot.' I think she may even have a book about anger. Cheers.

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Old 01-27-06, 03:03 PM   #21
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Interesting. Guess I've never thought about it in those terms. However it goes, though, it still stands: breathe!
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Old 01-27-06, 03:09 PM   #22
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Thanks Heraclitus, that's good stuff.
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Old 01-27-06, 03:10 PM   #23
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also, this sounds very simple, but maybe just a quick turn down a side street is in order if you feel too much anger building up. i read a few things just now on the net about anger management and they gave a tip about changing your environment. they also advised to repeat a claming word or phrase like "relax" or something. although when i read that the only thing i thought of was the seinfeld where george's father keeps saying "serenity now!". haha.
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Old 01-27-06, 03:13 PM   #24
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hey, that could work. "SERENITY NOW!!!"

by the way, queerpunk, i like your answer.

i wish i knew more about zen...heraclitus ("you can't step in the same river twice"?) had some interesting stuff there.
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Old 01-27-06, 03:16 PM   #25
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i had a good experience with a bad driver. i turned left onto the street and made my way safely to the bike lane and she turned right to go the same direction on the street, only in the car lane. so, eventually we are next to one another, nothing unusual though i do get nervous when a car is parallel with me and traveling at about the same speed. she had obviously seen me (not only from driving directly next to me so much so that my face was right at eye level with hers and i could have been sitting in her passenger seat, but also from both of us turning onto that street. we both had the light, she let me turn first, then she turned. she obv. saw me) anyhow, out of no where she is pushing her way into my lane with no signal, no notice, no nothing. i am squirming as far right as i can, she is literally smashing me into parked cars. finally she finds her parking spot, pushes me all the way to the sidewalk (i couldn't accelerate to pass her, nor could i really stop to let her pass me). she gets out of her car and is immediately yelling at me. i yawn, smile, and say "happy friday the 13th, you are quite lucky in this one." it was two weeks ago, the 13th of jan. anyhow, i said "you didnt signal, and you knew i was there next to you, you continued to press me against cars and into the sidewalk. you should signal next time to alert other people on the road of your intended course". she said "f-ck you, punk" i smiled more, happy to be called a punk on my way to a lame desk job with a cubicle and coworkers who chat incessantly about american idol and clients with silly names. she kept shouting at me. i said "look, lady, i am not threatening you with my lock like any decent cyclist would. im pretty much a coward today on account of my superstition. but really, any one else would smash your windshield, and they'd be right to do so. please be happy that you got a nice dude on a nice day. drive better, please." and i took off.

of course, i do like letting bad drivers have it. i totally love when someone does something bad just so i can have a reason to be visibly angry. sometimes though its not worth getting angry and its worth it to set a nice example. you know, i could have been rude and spit at her or sneered or something and she would have just gone home and told her lame husband "totally typical. a--hole punk kid and his lame a--hole bike, like he owns the road! my goodness." and nothing would have been solved. i mean, not that i am full of my self and feel i have something to offer the world at large in respects to their view of people on bicycles or anything. i dont like talking to people, generally. but it was kind of different to see it like that this time, like as if i was somehow righting the worlds' view of the messy messenger. i know messengers are good decent people, they are good friends too, but to lady's who drive vans poorly and don't signal and end up getting obscenities shouted at them (and 9 times out of 10 the messenger is right to do just that!) all people on bikes are the same. gosh this turned into a totally positive rant. boring!

i guess a good way to deal with anger is to inflate your self image to the point where you are deluded enough to believe that you can change the world, and it's negative view of bicyclists, one bad driver at a time. you know? she might go home and tell her husband that she needs to drive better, or she might go home and tell him that she drove poorly and a helpful person corrected her instead of berated her for being a completely useless human (which, i am quite sure, she was).
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