Tuesday, May 22, 2012


I have a question for people in case I'm missing something...  I've been chastised much more than normal lately for passing other riders or not saying "on your left" or something like that.  I've always considered myself to be a somewhat polite and responsible rider so maybe I need to rethink some things?  Here is the situation:  I pass someone with about 3 full feet on the road, on the left, without squeezing anybody or traffic coming from behind or anything, and then I get an earful about not letting them know I'm passing and being an inconsiderate douchebag and the reason motorists hate all cyclists.  This is when I am riding by myself.  I understand that on a group ride the dynamic is a little different.  So the question is, am I out of line?  When other cyclists pass me I could care less.  I don't need an "on your left" or a bell ding or anything.  I'll just ride in a reasonably straight line and if you want to pass, go ahead.  It bugs me when cars honk their horn behind me when overtaking.  Jeez, I had no idea there were other vehicles on the road.  Thanks for letting me know.  I guess I'll just continue riding in a straight line and you can pass?
Its confusing to me when a fellow bicycle rider gets bent out of shape towards another rider on a minor point of etiquette (at least I think its minor) when at least one motorist is going to do something blatantly rude or even downright dangerous during the same ride most of the time.  Something about choosing your battles with fellow road users?  My venom is reserved for a dumb move that requires evasive action on my part to avoid a serious injury.  So far that has been a motorist, every single time.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The war on cars in Seattle

We've heard a lot about this lately, and the Seattle Times as usual is doing a great job of alerting everyone to the terrible plight of  motorists in this city.  It is a god given right to drive a car, occasionally run over pedestrians and cyclists that are in your way, and have free parking on public space after all.

I wish the people that talk about the war on cars in this city would spend just one day using a bicycle or their feet for all their daily transportation needs.  Maybe have to carefully plan a route to go to work or pick up their kids from school that doesn't go on dangerous roads. Then they might realize that our transportation infrastructure really is designed for cars and other users of public roadways are often distinctly marginalized.

But given $4/gallon gas with no relief in sight, peak oil, global warming, and all the related craziness that is finally seeing some mainstream light in the last 10 years-  the age of the automobile is coming to an end and there is bound to be some pushback.  Actually I'm surprised there is not more.

On a pleasant note- May is bike month.  What can you do for bike month?  I've heard so many great ideas but  I think the big one is to just get your bike out, ride it, and have a good time.  The more cyclists out there, the more visible we are, and more people will get out and join us.  And again on a positive note, our transportation infrastructure (for bikes) is better now than it was 10 years ago.  We're making progress.

Olympic View Road Race

Here is what I'm thinking during this race (cat 4):
It really doesn't matter in a road race, but why I am perpetually at the very back of the peloton at the start?  Oh well, there's not much wind back here.  Makes for a nice warm up.

The pace really isn't all that high for a state championships road race.  Why is it that a thursday night at Seward  Park can hurt so badly, and everyone just sits in at a more prominent race?  Maybe people don't want to burn too many matches too soon, whereas at Seward you're just going to attack for the fun of it since no upgrade points are at stake?

All right, finally getting things strung out a little on these rollers.  I'm finally near the front of the peloton.  These guys look like they're trying to push the pace.  Maybe I'll roll off the front and see if I can drag some people with  me.  I like my odds in a breakaway more than in a bunch sprint.  (Look back)  Jesus why is no one coming with me.  This race isn't even half over yet.  Crap.  Oh what the hell I'm going for it.  Elbows on the bars, TT style.  Hmm, I feel okay, heart rate is 170, and I don't see the pack anymore.  Maybe there is the slightest chance I can pull this off.

This is a pretty course.  That creek is running high.  Hello again dogs.  Oh good, finally, that twisty descent.  Come on lead car, a little more space please.  Back on the flats.  Wow, I still don't see the pack.  I feel okay but I'm not sure I will after the rollers start again.

Uh-oh, I see the pack now, although still a ways back.  Last lap, come on legs.  Heart rate still 170 but the legs are starting to feel heavy.  If I can just make it to the chicane downhill by myself I can put in a little more time and hold them off to the line.  Shit they're getting close.  (A few more bends in the road) Ahhh damn its over.  Nothing like getting caught 2 or 3 k from the finish.

Here is a nice video  http://cyclocrossnews.com/?p=52969- at the end you can see the crash that I was fortunate enough to be directly behind.  I went over the bars but not too badly and I was able to finish.