Cycling in America


考试与评价·高二版 2021年4期



While the rest of the world carried on cycling during the 1950s and 1960s, Americans forgot how. Recently there has been something of a renaissance in cycling, and in many areas it is a very useful way of getting around, especially where bike paths or bike routes have been established. You may well want to buy, hire or borrow a bike.

There are two important consequences of this earlier decline in cycling in the USA. One is that many people do not know how to cycle. That is, cyclists often behave more like pedestrians than motorists: they ride on the pavement or on the wrong side of the road; they ignore stop signs and traffic lights; they ride without lights at night; they give no hand signal. The other consequence is that cycling is regarded by many people not so much as a way of getting from A to B but as a way of life, a form of exercise, etc. As a result, a large number of young Americans have ten-speed racing bikes. They are fast and great if you are cycling long distance, riding up mountains or racing. At first, though, you may find them awkward for cycling in town, sight-seeing or shopping — they are expensive, uncomfortable and hard to control until you get used to them, and unsuitable for bumpy① stony roads.

There are also ordinary bikes around. If you get hold of one of these, you may find that the brake work by pedaling backwards. This is perhaps safer than ordinary brakes when it is wet, but it seems to be less effective. This arrangement also means you cant pedal backwards in order to get the pedals in the right place for getting on or moving off.

Hand Signals

One thing you should note is that the hand signals Americans are supposed to give differ from most other countries. If you are turning left, you stick out your left hand. But if you are turning right, you do not stick out your right hand. Instead, you stick out your left arm and bend it at the elbow so your forearm is at right angle to the ground and your hand is about level with your head.

Cycling on the Right

When you travel by bike, always ride on the right of the road. The safest way to turn left is to stay at the edge of the road, stop opposite the point that you want to cross to and then go straight over when the road is clear.

Locking up Your Bike

Do be very careful about locking your bike up. You will notice many American cyclists carrying enormous chains for this purpose, and you will see that in many areas they take pains to pass the chain through the frame and both wheels and to attach the bike to something fixed like a lamp post. You will even see people taking their front wheel off and carrying it with them when they leave the bike. Stealing bikes (especially ten-speed bikes) is obviously big business.

Cycling Gear

Because of the sporting / exercise-oriented associations of cycling, Americans very often wear sporting type clothing when on a bike, and women very rarely wear skirts or dresses. Many cyclists also wear light crash helmets.

注:① bumpy 崎嶇不平的


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