Help Change This Perception

Bad CyclistI encountered a rider today. I was approaching an intersection’s green light, and he came at 90 degrees to me. Well, you can guess what happened. In front of all the stopped cars, he plowed right through the red light and turned onto the lane in front of me.

It annoyed me right away, so I approached from the rear, sizing up this dude.

He was adorned in all the latest cycling fashion, and cruising along on a slick Italian graphite steed. Earphones firmly in place, too, another safety issue. He strangely bounced with each pedal, almost as if sprinting, and kept up a decent 23 mph. I then noticed he’d shaved all his body hair, too, and I mused that perhaps I’d encountered god’s gift to the cycling world.

After witnessing the myriad safety issues, I decided to give him a little tweak. Leaning on my Long Haul Trucker, I caught up, gave a little wave, and passed him. As expected, he reacted immediately, onto my wheel for 8 seconds, and then passed me. I grinned, leaned even harder, and re-passed him inside of another 1/4 mile, airing it out to create a nice space between us. I kept up the torrid pace (28-30 mph on a LHT is a lot of work) for about 2 miles with him in pursuit before he turned off behind me.

I can only imagine what he might have thought: heavy steel bike, steel racks, 40mm tires, and a big velcro’d trunk. And my legs aren’t even shaved.

I’m NOT a fast cyclist. But I felt compelled to show this guy something.

Why is this type of cyclist so annoying? They’re seemingly obsessed that speed is the only thing that matters, and breaking traffic laws to do it is OK. Road cycling in America is too frequented by this kind of narrow thinking, and it’s a shame – there are so many equally good ways to enjoy and utilize a bicycle. Likewise, many who observe cyclists seem to think most of us are one-track-mind egomaniacs who are always out racing or training (or running red lights). We’re not.

Be an ambassador for cycling and help change this perception.  And, don’t be this guy.