Sunday, December 2, 2007

What Bob Muzzy Said...

We're lucky in Denver to have miles and miles of lovely, networked, paved, off-street bike paths. They're multi-use paths, really. They often run charmingly alongside a creek or river.

You can ride for miles and/or actually reach or approach most destinations without encountering Mr and Ms Impatient America in their rolling phone booths.

The paths almost always run under intersecting streets; you can pedal along and only hear traffic, not be an unwelcome part of it. Delightful. Well, it's almost delightful.

I say almost, because here and elsewhere most cyclists are primarily motorists. They put on cycling clothing but bring their impatient, self-centered driving habits with them on rides. They, not skaters, dog-walkers, homeless sleeping-baggers or pedestrians, are the spoilers of the bike paths. Dammit.

I believe the bike path speed limit in Denver is 15mph. I'm sure it's only enforced in areas where traffic is thick, and in the parks. I don't like to see cyclists get tickets but I don't know why anyone needs to exceed 15 on busy paths with blind corners - used by cyclists of all levels of ability and carrying lots of distracted foot traffic. Baffles me.

Until I remember that most club cyclists are middle class hobbyists, drivers who never imagine the consequences of their callousness at the wheel. They do not think of other human beings as other human beings. They're impediments is all, goddammit.

We're trying to do a training ride here, people; walk your dog someplace else.

They're club riders and racers-in-their-fantasies, obsessed individuals in multi-logo jerseys riding 17lb bikes. They're monitoring their pulse rates on the bike path as they approach the exit for Cost Plus and Bed, Bath and Beyond.

It's folks in Lycra. They ride like they drive. They pass at improbable, sketchy times. They pass when they can't see ahead. They brush by recreational riders on hybrids as if they were passing a pro trackie on a velodrome. As if some diety guarantees their safety.

They use the bike paths as if they were closed race courses for their personal training.

Here's what's infuriating. Many drive their cars to a parking place near the path so they do not have to pedal where people drive, uncaring people remarkably like themselves.

Their peers in cars make the streets feel scary. So club cyclists favor bike paths where they can ride any way they like and make the paths scary for the rest of us.

Despite the various sponsors named on their outfits they all ride for the same person. Their clothing should reflect their focus, their dedication and their inspiration.

Me. Me. Me.

Oh, what Bob Muzzy said was, the better the rider the slower he goes in town...

1 comment:

Retrogrouch said...

Rolling phone booth--that's great.

I used to ride with our local club, but after getting razzed for wearing wool and then unceremoniously dropped by the weekend warriors, I said screw this, it's no fun. Now, most of the riding I do is commuting and occasional weekend rides. My commute has been evolving/devolving towards riding in work clothes and wool hats on my black urban bicycle. I just don't want to be confused with the lycra crowd anymore.

I wish I knew what to do about these folks you write about, but it's a disease, and it's widespread. Perhaps karma will have its way eventually with these arrogant riders. I just hope no one gets hurt, especially the children on these paths.