There was a curious phenomenon in Chicago, where driver aggression was particularly serious at certain junctions, but not at others in the same neighbourhood. This intrigued me, for while it was plausible that drivers in a certain neighbourhood all tended to be aggressive, such a segregation within the neighbourhood must somehow mean that drivers who were not aggressive at other junctions were aggressive at certain junctions. And, one suspects, they are aggressive at just those junctions where there is a general understanding that it is the norm to be aggressive there. An unwritten agreement that there, aggression just is the case, and niceness should take a back seat. I wondered if this was a universal psychological phenomenon — group conformity to certain norms despite no good reason for their application (as evidenced by their not being applied at other similar places by the same participants). I haven’t had the chance to witness this in Singapore, since drivers are bloody aggressive everywhere.
People often raise the humidity in Sg as a reason not to cycle here. I always tell them that they should try riding in Chicago winters before they do so. And as I commute more here, I become more convinced that humidity isn’t that bad. This was certainly not the case with respect to Chicago winters — I did not get more tolerant of winter cycling the more I did it. The thing about humidity is that although one gets drenched in sweat within 5 minutes of starting out, one hardly notices the sweat after that — it fades into the background as a minor discomfort. Cold and wind, however, don’t fade. If anything, one notices them more as one’s ride progresses. One starts out warm, then parts of one’s body start getting numb, then aching from the cold, perhaps even progressing to that stabbing cold that conquered me in that -29oC day last winter. The cold wears you down; becomes more noticeable and more painful the longer you are in it. Same for the wind. You begin all gung-ho pedalling furiously against it, but by the end of the ride you’re happy pedalling through molasses at jogging pace, your throat is dried out from breathing into it, you’re tired of having that sound in your right ear for most of the ride, etc. Humidity is easy in comparison, people. So you get wet. But you can’t possibly catch hypothermia, and a refreshing shower is waiting for you at your destination.