Monday, July 6, 2009

Not so hot, plus a little time behind the pulpit

Nice little changeup today, temps actually struggled to reach 90, if they even did. Rain in the area and the clouds that go with it helped keep things cool, and a nice northerly wind was a change from the Mexican furnace blast we have seen the past week.

So I hit a nice ride tonight, did some "serious" training (meaning I didn't just go ride around for a couple hours) to try and strengthen a few of the many weaknesses, and generally had a good time of it.

One thing I noticed that irked me. Lots of others out riding tonight. That is a good thing. Bad thing is that of the 20+ people I encountered on bikes at intersections with a STOP sign, I was the only one to actually abide. So whats up with that? For all the griping I hear about cyclists wanting to share the road and having to tolerate idiot auto drivers I would think a few more people might actually follow the rules of the road.

It is a bad sign when I appear to be the most law abiding one out there. Don't get me wrong, I know the temptation, but really, is it that hard to stop? No. What, you don't want to lose momentum? If you are that lazy then maybe you shouldn't ride a bike, or perhaps you need to ride it a lot more to gain the strength for the stop and go riding required in a city. Is it really going to disrupt your training plan that much? Are you really that good that it matters?

Hey, don't want to stop, thats your call. But don't even think about complaining about other's driving/cycling/jogging etc. If for no other reason, perception should drive us to obey the laws on the road, much as I hate the perception-is-reality point of view. We are our own worst enemies I think sometimes. don't go expecting a lot of respect from the rest of the world if we are perceived as road users who don't feel we need to share the road, obey traffic laws, not litter etc. Too bad I have seen this all to often from my brothers of the bike. And lets face it, it is a hobby. A sport. We do it for fun. Not too many of us have gotten paid for riding a bike. I know the money I have spent on this hobby far surpasses my winnings to date.

So here is my idea, lets lose the self riteous "I am on a bike and therefore own the road" attitude, ya bunch of asshats.

Ok, enough ranting. I really did have a nice ride. And I even stopped at every stop sign.


  1. And yes TT - I may not be close enough to verbally abuse your hoggish road behavior in person anymore, but this MOST CERTAINLY is applicable to you too. I know you are reading this. Still like you though, which I know will make you sleep so much better at night.

  2. I go through phases, both in terms of how closely I follow the law and also in my tolerance of others' riding sensibilities. Right now I'm kind of "soft" on both.

    If I roll up to a 4-way Stop and there is no other traffic, I will slow down, but roll through. 2-way Stops I either stop completely (if there's traffic) or come as close as I can without actually putting my foot down (if it's clear). The more traffic is around, the better I act. I suppose if I get a ticket, I have it coming to me. I like the idea of the Idaho law which allows cyclists to treat Stop signs as Yield signs, and Red lights as Stop signs.

    And as for others, I try to do my own thing. As long as they aren't being dangerous to me, I'm not going to try to change the world.

    I know where you're coming from, though; I've been there, and maybe I'll even swing back and follow the laws much more closely.

    I know you're fairly recent to Fort Worth, so I'll offer this up: Fort Worth, and Texas in general, tends to be a place where if you mind your own business, people leave you alone. Applied to cycling, this means do what you feel is safest and (in my experience) the cops don't hassle you.

    On one point in my commute, I was using a pedestrian crossing to go straight across an intersection where vehicle traffic is required to turn either left or right but is not allowed to go straight. I would make sure I wasn't in the way of any other vehicles, but, yeah, I would ride through the crosswalk.

    I've gotten away from that, and now I turn right there and go up a quarter mile and turn left. Sometimes I get stuck and can't get the left turn arrow. Again, if everything is way clear, I just go against the red arrow. I've done this in sight of cops and they haven't ticketed me (at least not yet, knock wood).

    The point is that both of those acts are non-disruptive of other traffic, so the cops just kind of let it slide.

    Anyway... a few thoughts. Probably more than you wanted to read!

  3. Oh yeah, good points. I appreciate the details, nice to know what others think. (especially with some local knowledge to share! I do love the Texas attitude in general, think that is a real positive side of the people of the state)

    I really like the idea behind Idaho's laws. Personally, I don't think cars and bicycles should be treated equally as they both have different limitations and dangers, but of course that would make the laws probably more confusing than anyone wants to try and legislate.

    My true feelings are that if you roll up on an empty intersection there is no reason to stop if you are the only foot/pedal/auto traffic, and I have frequently rolled intersections, depending on circumstances. At that point it should simply be a matter of what can be safely done.

    I have become hyper aware of my behavior in the past year or two and have made some significant changes in my attitude because I have realized how aware the general public is of cyclist's road behavior. So if I am in the middle of the country, wide open intersection, nobody watching...then big hypocrite I may be, I'll roll it. In a typical neighborhood, probably put on a good show of what a law abiding cyclist I am, if nothing more than for show. Kind of a PR thing.

    What gets to me and ignited my rant last night was a combination of beer and recent experiences. I guess the beer goes without saying. The experiences, in particular, were based on having other cyclists blow the 4 way stops on Bellaire. With other traffic present. In once case I came to a true stop at the same time as cars headed in opposing directions, while another rider just cruised through without appearing to slow at all. Around me, through the stop, past the car going in our direction...that just didn't look good.

    I am basically of the live and let live philosophy, and upon riding up the the guy a minute or so later, said nothing of the event, keeping my mouth shut and opinion to myself as I always have on such topics. (unless hiding behind a computer screen!)

    Saw the exact same event 2 more times on that road. One time it was another single person, the next time it was a mixed group riding at a decent clip. Both cases the autos made the efforts to essentially stop, whilst the cyclists made little if any effort to even slow. Saw several other cases when cars were not present, some pedestrians, sometimes nobody except me. What struck me even more was a group of kids hanging out on two different corners. 2 kids on two different corners, apparently all hanging out together. Both made comments about making sure I stopped at stop signs. I think they were being more the smart asses than school crossing guards, but it still underscored that people are watching us and they are aware of some of our habits. I assured them I most certainly do stop of courese.
    This is about the fourth time I have had people comment to me about stop signs while riding in the past year. These are all stories in themselves so I won't go into it further, just hit home that for right or wrong, our road etiquette is being scrutinized. And most people I have talked with have a poor impression of cyclists road etiquette, some legitimate, some ridiculous. Most of it stems from a true love/hate relation of mine--THE GROUP TRAINING RIDE..but that really is another post.

    ok...I have definitely rambled on...thanks for reading to anyone that stuck this one out to the end. Cheers!