Gone Fishin'

HEY!

I'm not actively blogging here anymore. But if you got here because you were searching for something about bikes, you might want to check out my latest project, Vermont Goldsprints. In summer of 2014, I bought a used goldsprints racing setup and have made it a mission to get more bikes in more people's faces by putting on fun races in unexpected places. Come join me!

12.18.2006

Here's to you, Mr. Self-Righteous Cyclist

Dear Mr. Self-Righteous Cyclist:

I saw you today at about 5:10pm at the intersection of Broadway and Ryman. You were pointed east, waiting to make the left onto Ryman, and performing an admirable trackstand behind the car in front of you, also waiting to go left. After that car found a gap and went, you continued your trackstand, while sporadically signaling that you intended to make a left turn eventually, when the lane was clear. You blocked traffic and the guy behind you yelled at you to get out of the way.

It was dark, you had no lights and no reflectors, and no reflective clothing to speak of, you were neither an amateur cyclist (as evidenced by the trackstand) nor were you homeless (as evidenced by the helmet, nice clothes and expensive-looking messenger bag. I will forgive members of those two groups their failure to use lights and act responsibly in traffic: amateurs don't know any better and homeless guys on bikes in the dark of a Missoula winter already have it tough enough. Further, members of both groups are recognizable as such to motorists and their behavior (no lights, riding on the sidewalk, wrong side of the road, etc.) is less likely to reflect badly on those who use a bike to get around and generally look like we know what we are doing.

But you, you could have put a foot down and thus been able to take a hand off the bars to keep your turn signal (left hand outstretched to the left) clear and understandable to the motorists behind you. You could have had a set of lights on your bike, or at least you could have had some reflectors, better than nothing. You could have considered how you were making the rest of us look. Finally, had you not had a car with operable and visible tail lights stopped behind you, you would have been invisible to oncoming traffic and could have gotten plowed over by a car trying to make the stale green light you were waiting at.

Look, I'm all for cycling, I'm all for riding with traffic, and I'm all for trackstands- they're fun and they take some effort to learn. I feel proud every time I do one at a stoplight, too. And yeah, I have a brakeless fixie with no lights or reflectors on it in the garage too (10 point bonus if you can guess when I DON'T ride it- that's right, at NIGHT!) But come on, man. Your little balance demonstration held up traffic, confused the guy who was stuck behind you, and furthered the negative image many Missoula drivers have of those of us who use bikes for transportation. A lot of people are working really hard in this town to make cycling a viable, safe alternative to burning fossil fuels, and what you did today was counter-productive. And you could have been killed.