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Why I'm starting to hate the world we live in (cycling rant)(34 posts)

Why I'm starting to hate the world we live in (cycling rant)terry b
Jun 17, 2001 7:26 PM
Went out this morning for a 40 mile ride part of which was along the city bike path. Found out quickly that there was a Father's Day ride taking place which meant 600 riders all over the path and tons of people doing lots of dumb, dangerous things. Often, being the person I am I will suggest to people that they not stop on the path as it forces people like me into the incoming traffic. Mentioned that to a few bunches of people, all of whom moved off. The last one was different. Saw a big guy and his friend stopped in my lane. I (very) politely said, "if your gonna stop, it's best to move off the path." As I rode away, I heard some mumbled expletive which I ignored. Quarter mile later I hear this person behind me saying, "Hey a*****e, if you're gonna mouth off you'd better do it to someone who can't catch you." Now he was a pretty beefy, thick guy riding a FS mountain bike, and there was no way in God's creation he was going to catch me if I didn't want to be caught, which is what I told him. He moved along side, continued with his stream of obscenities to which I replied, "you shouldn't block the path." He essentially told me I should ride around him and I finally said, "look man, I'm only saying it's unsafe." At that point, he shut up, rode in front of me for 100 yards or so and pulled off into the dirt.

So here I am, trying to do the right thing and coming close to getting pummeled by some lummox who felt he was dis'd in some unknown manner. Whenever this kind of stuff happens, it gets me thinking that society has gone to hell. People who are doing the wrong thing don't care and only want to defend their pathetic sense of honor. I suppose I'm lucky I wasn't shot.

Needless to say, my days of safety monitor are over.
re: You should have....WCC
Jun 17, 2001 9:28 PM
...taunted the Ahole into trying to catch you. That would have been funny...unless some more people blocked the path and you couldn't get by. Then you better know KungFu
How would that help?kenyee
Jun 18, 2001 8:28 AM
It'd just get the guy into a bigger frenzy and make him think that you really were trying to be a wiseass and goad him instead of trying to be helpful.
It might not, butGroucho Marx
Jun 18, 2001 3:47 PM
hypothetically, it could prove halarious when the little guy gets the big guy.
re: Why I'm starting to hate the world we live in (cycling rant)Dutchy
Jun 18, 2001 12:55 AM
So what happend, did you get pummeled, or did you take a detour? Yes you are lucky you weren't shot. Yes the world IS full of idiots. CHEERS.
re: Why I'm starting to hate the world we live in (cycling rant)got2ryd
Jun 18, 2001 5:37 AM
i sometimes take the bike path as part of my route. the other day there were these three kids, not so nice looking, walking on the path 3 abreast. the one in my lane did yield, but not much. then he pretended to jump in front of me with a sudden lurch of the shoulders. i just ignored him and as i passed, he yelled something. i dont understand why people do s@#t like that. anyway, i just ignore them or at most shake my head.
Jun 18, 2001 10:40 AM
Bike paths are the worst place for serious riding. In the past I used to scratch my butt with my middle finger as I passed someone like that- more often than not they will catch on because they are looking to rumble. A loud laugh as you ride away also helps.
Lack of shame and rise of Nazism....(my own rant)rollo tommassi
Jun 18, 2001 6:59 AM
They go hand in hand. People do things when they 'don't care' because no one censors them.

Don't give up being the 'safety monitor', others need your voice. You can always bet on the 1% jerk who lashes out at you, but generally speaking people need to know they're doing something wrong. Others will see this and agree, perhaps they, emboldened by your example, will correct anothers' behavior. Only then will the community have a 'safety standard'.
shake it offDog
Jun 18, 2001 7:32 AM

A parable is told of a farmer who owned an old mule. The mule fell into the farmer's well. The farmer heard the mule "braying" - or whatever mules do when they fall into wells. After carefully assessing the situation, the farmer decided that neither the mule nor the well was worth the trouble of saving.

Instead, he called his neighbors together and told them what had happened. He enlisted them to help haul dirt to bury the old mule in the well and put him out of his misery. Initially, the old mule was hysterical!

But as the farmer and his neighbors continued shoveling and the dirt hit his back, a thought struck him. It suddenly dawned on him that every time a shovel load of dirt landed on his back....HE SHOULD SHAKE IT OFF AND STEP UP! This he did, blow after blow.

"Shake it off and step up...shake it off and step up...shake it off and step up!" the mule repeated to encourage himself. No matter how painful the blows or distressing the situation seemed, the old mule fought panic and just kept right on SHAKING IT OFF AND STEPPING UP!

You're right! It wasn't long before the old mule, battered and exhausted, STEPPED TRIUMPHANTLY OVER THE WALL OF THAT WELL! What seemed like it would bury him, actually blessed him...all because of the manner in which he handled his

That's life! If we face our problems and respond to them positively, and refuse to give in to the panic, bitterness, or self-pity....THE ADVERSITIES THAT COME ALONG TO BURY US USUALLY HAVE WITHIN THEM THE POTENTIAL TO BENEFIT AND BLESS US!

It's a Matter of Training

Very well said (nm)Howard
Jun 18, 2001 7:48 AM
The rest of the storyWailer
Jun 18, 2001 12:13 PM
Stupid mule falls in well.

Farmer decides it is to his benefit.

Old mule was pissed that someone should assume he should get his own butt out of well.

Farmer was apathetic about burying mule, allowing mule to survive and become a continuing burden on farm and family.

Mule eventually consumes all farmers resources, farmer goes bankrupt, loses farm, becomes fulltime wino, young healthy children become wards of state, bitterness turns them into habitual criminals.

Mule sues well driller for not posting proper signage stating falling into wells is hazardous, receives billion dollar settlement.

The only up side to the story is that mules can't breed and he eventually kills himself while blowdrying his mane in the bathtub.
The rest of the storyDog
Jun 18, 2001 12:42 PM
"A cynic is a man who, when he smells flowers, looks around for a coffin." H. L. Mencken (1880 - 1956)
Jun 18, 2001 1:21 PM
Cynic: An idealist whose rose colored glasses have been removed, snapped in two, and stomped into the ground, immediately improving his vision.

"I am Diogenes the Dog. I nuzzle the kind, bark at the greedy and bite scoundrels." -- Diogenes of Sinope (c. 408-323 B.C.)
Jun 18, 2001 1:43 PM
Since "cynic" means "dog", you are right on, of course.

My encounters with dogs the last few years have been limited to my neighbors' barking dogs and those giving chase on country roads. Hmm.

I'll take word history for $100, Alex.Wailer
Jun 18, 2001 3:26 PM
Cynic comes from the Greek word for dog, originally because Antisthenes taught at the Cynosarges (Dogfish) gymnasium, which had been set up for the poor of Athens. The most famous of the cynics was Diogenes (412-323), a student of Antisthenes. He saw himself as a citizen of the world. There is a famous story that has Alexander the Great finding him sleeping in the sun and announcing, "I am Alexander the great king!" Diogenes replied, "I am Diogenes the dog!" Alexander asked if there was anything he could do for him. Diogenes just asked him to move out of the sun.*

*Plagerized from "Degree of Cycnicism."
3 Words: Telescoping Police BatonJohn R.
Jun 18, 2001 8:18 AM
Well, some here think I am paranoid or looking for violence, but it is sick out there and getting sicker. A canister of mace or some little self-defense know-how and you will improve your confidence and also improve your chances of surviving a confrontation.

And of course, the first rule is to avoid confrontation. Be polite to the point of being humiliated, but be ready to respond if threatened.

John R.
Avoiding jail timekenyee
Jun 18, 2001 8:31 AM
If you're going to defend yourself w/ things, make sure they're not legal. Most people don't know that mace is illegal in MA w/o a license which you need to get mug-shotted and fingerprinted to get (nice to be treated like a criminal, eh? :-). A telescoping police baton would also be treated as a concealed weapon.

You'd get your butt hauled off to jail for either of these things, even if you were just defending yourself when the other guy attacks. You're supposed to get beaten up and report it to the police here.
would have been better prefacing w/ "it's safer to"kenyee
Jun 18, 2001 8:37 AM
"...pull off the path if you stop so others don't run into you while trying to go around" and say that's what biking veterans do; pretend you're helping newbies w/ etiquette and stop and talk for a few minutes with them. You have to assume charity rides attract newbies like this guy w/ a FS MTB.

If I were unfamiliar w/ bike etiquette, I would have assumed you were saying "get your fat ass off the path and my way" from what you described, though I wouldn't have sworn at you and tried chasing you down like a raging psycho... :-)
re: Why I'm starting to hate the world we live in (cycling rant)ColnagoFE
Jun 18, 2001 8:38 AM
if you said what you said you did you probably came off as an elitist jerk. give the bike path up to the dads and the freds once in a while. why try and fight it? you're probably lucky the mountain bike dude didn't beat you up. i've know a few guys that ride a fs MTB that could probably dust you on your road bike so be careful about bragging how fast you are. really just kiddin you now, but people are gonna be people and if you have a big crowd you aren't gonna persuade anyone to your side by tellin them that they are wrong and being unsafe. Wouldn't you just laugh at someone like yourself if you were in their shoes?
I've got to like the bike paths. Decreases your computerbill
Jun 18, 2001 9:01 AM
average speed, for sure, but forces you to sprint to get back up to speed, and, you know, it's kind of nice to see the world out, not to mention ego-boosting to pass everyone.
That said, I've seen the mouthed words "a**hole" more times than I care to mention. I try to be nice, saying, "On your left," and "Thank you, good morning," (that usually disarms them).
I don't know; maybe I'm outgrowing the paths just as I've come to appreciate them (again -- always used to appreciate them, then they got tiresome, and now I like them again). The paths are among the D.C. area's best recreational resources.
re: Why I'm starting to hate the world we live in (cycling rant)moneyman
Jun 18, 2001 9:12 AM
Something is definitely wrong here. You are riding 40 miles, part of it on a city bike path, and 600 people are involved in an organized ride on the bike path. You ride on the bike path and insist that 600 people follow your set of rules and allow you to pass by unfettered. Don't you think that is asking a bit much? Could you not have taken another route and avoided the bike path and the other riders? They have as much right to the bike path as you do, even if they go slower, stop and stand on the pathway, or - heaven forbid - ride full suspension mountain bikes.

There is a nice bike path where I live that I like to use, but not on my road bike. With all the kids on rollerblades, the senior citizens walking side-by-side, and the leashed dogs wandering around it is really unsafe for me to try and ride fast on the bike path. Now, I can insist that everyone else change their ways for me, or I can ride elsewhere. Seems to be a pretty clear choice.

While you may have been just trying to educate people to the rules of the road, you came across as an arrogant, elitist roadie, the worst of the stereotyped images for road cyclists. It is quite likely that you cemented that image in the mind of the guy on the mtb, and the next road rider he sees will be as guilty as you, even though that rider would have no knowledge of your encounter.

You could easily have avoided the whole thing by realizing that the ride you originally envisioned was going to have to change. Circumstances were beyond your control, and there was nothing you could do about it. You smile, thank your higher power that you are out riding your bike, and change course.

missing the pointDuane Gran
Jun 18, 2001 10:50 AM
Although what you say has merit, I think the original poster wasn't in a god-awful rush. I think his primary motivation was to inform the group that they were creating a safety hazard by stopping on the path.

I empathize with the poster. I routinely ride on bike paths in the DC area. Most of the time I do it in order to arrive at a more secluded place to train, so I use them as warmup and cooldown. I'm not in a terrible rush, but someone who is stopped on the path presents a real danger. You never know if they take a mind to turn around and they are invariably preoccupied with events off of the pavement. In short, I consider people stopping on the bike path as a threat to my safety.

I don't always say something, but frequently I'll just offer a gentle suggestion by saying, "it is dangerous to block the path" or "it is safer to wait on the side". I don't do this while ripping past at 25mph... I slow down and make eye contact. They usually respond well, but once or twice I have been asked who appointed me as the high council of the bike path. ;) I just hope the next time the person stops they think twice about doing it on the path.

In the big scheme this is the least of my path concerns. Roller bladers (who invariably want to tune out the world with headphones), runners who loopback without looking, kids with scooters and unleashed dogs (the fault of the owner) all drive me nuts. I blow it off 99.9% of the time, but one day I lost my cool and had to explain myself to a dog owner whose dog nearly run under my wheels. I simply pointed to my chain ring and explained how she should consider a bike a deadly device should a dog be run over. I made it clear that I wasn't trying to hit any dogs, but if it should happen it would be an ugly scene. I hope it made a difference, for the sake of the dog.
missing the point - yes, you aremoneyman
Jun 18, 2001 11:49 AM
If you don't want to worry about slow riders, rollerbladers, kids, dogs, etc., DON'T USE THE BIKE PATH AS YOUR TRAINING GROUND!!!!

And your incident with the dog - that is almost unbelieveable. You should have been apologizing to the dog owner for having nearly killed her beloved pet.

A bike path is for everyone. It will be crowded, slow, and annoying if you want to go fast or unobstructed. If you want to avoid the frustration inherent in using it, don't use it. You can avoid the "real danger" by being much more considerate to the others on the path.

The difference between your expectations, fast, unencumbered rides on the bike path (e), and reality (r), slow people walking dogs, is equivalent to your level of frustration, anger and hostility (f).


If you want those levels to change, you have to change the variables in the formula. And absent legislation prohibiting slow people walking dogs and vigorous enforcement of such, you will continue to be frustrated, angry and hostile. You control the variable that can be changed. It's your choice.

Always avoid the bike path on weekendsmr_spin
Jun 18, 2001 9:19 AM
By far the most frustrating place to ride is a bike path on weekends. Few have any clue how to ride, and most of them just don't care. It's amazing how many give no consideration that anyone else could possibly be using the trail at the same time!

Just say no! Whatever you think you gain by taking the bike path, it's not worth the aggravation.

As for making comments, I rarely do, because I know that the idiots just don't care. Why bother? Only when someone does something blatantly stupid and dangerous might I say something.
what now, "Bike Path Rage"?Dog
Jun 18, 2001 9:26 AM
Me, I'd keep it to myself. At best, I'd shout a loud "Excuse me!" to get by.

Bike paths are not bike superhighays. They seem to be for strollers and rollerbladers, or fat families riding their K-Mart mountain bikes 3 abreast. Obstructions go with the territory; in fact, it seems that fast and fluid road riding is all but prohibited on bike paths.

"Bike Path" no longer works...RhodyRider
Jun 18, 2001 11:34 AM
I agree with Mr. Sloan on his observations on the topic. Out here in Rhode Island they (whichever State agency manages such issues) are trying desperately hard to do away with the "BIKE Path" nomenclature. Paved paths are now referred to officially as "Multi-Use Recreational Paths." While this may seem heavy-handed or too politically correct, it does work to minimize the "cyclists only" mindset. What this "new" name tells you immediately is that anyone "recreating" is free to use the path however they see fit. Which is usually in a dawdling/social/dogs/blades/kids/strollers manner. As other posters have said, stay away unless absolutely necessary. Or at the very least, leave the traffic cop remarks at home, in the interests of self-preservation.
Even fat families on huffies can use um! Right?128
Jun 18, 2001 12:01 PM
I'm glad to see fat people riding bikes.

Humility, people...
It takes all kinds,. Remember?

And honestly, who really thought bikes paths were only for biking? Geesh...It's not a road-bike path! Get in the road!

Maybe you need some Bhudda-like PeaceGadfly
Jun 18, 2001 9:51 AM
Keep riding. You might find it yet.
re: Why I'm starting to hate the world we live in (cycling rant)Ken
Jun 18, 2001 10:42 AM
Terry said,

"Often, being the person I am I will suggest to people that they not stop on the path as it forces people like me into the incoming traffic"

I've never seen any "Do Not Stop on the Bikepath" signs before. And furthermore I know it's not illegal to stop your bike on one either.
If it were me in a similiar situation I would've just stopped behind for whomever, just to show I'm in no hurry and to show some courtesy. I think this would have been a better course of action than riding off into incoming traffic.

One final thing, when there is a lot of traffic about, you should go slower and always be prepared to stop.

Gee what do you do when real problems hit! :)128
Jun 18, 2001 11:32 AM
Sounds like a pretty low tolerance...
I'm guessing you just had a long week mixed with a short fuse...
Now, go on out there and be an old mule in an empty well! Attaboy!

Relax (Inner Cycling)Rich Clark
Jun 18, 2001 12:49 PM
Seriously, all this hostility and angst is incompatible with the true inner peace that cycling should and can induce. Riding your bike is better than Prozac, better than Zanax, even better than single-malt whisky for eliminating stress.

But one must open the door, and the door does not exist on multi-use paths, especially on weekends, especially on holiday weekends.

The people around the bikes do stupid and annoying things. They are not moving through their lives centered in a series of connected circles. Be kind and tolerant of them.

The people on the bikes may also not understand that movement is a vibration that can create harmony or discord, depending on whether they listen and hear or not. Lead them by example but do not try to teach those who are obviously not listening.

But the person who is the bike knows, and moves through it all in the serene sequence of harmonic roundness that is Inner Cycling which, when perfected, doesn't even require a bicycle to achieve.

And if that doesn't work you can try sticking your pump through their spokes.

re: Why I'm starting to hate the world we live in (cycling rant)Dutchy
Jun 18, 2001 7:57 PM
I stopped riding "Shared Pathways" years ago. With all the families riding, dogs, children playing etc it's better to leave the paths to these people and ride on the roads. Imagine if you had kids, where would you take them to ride? Probably the bike path, and you would spend the whole day cursing at Roadies for buzzing past your children on the path. If your serious about riding take it to the roads. There ARE other people in society that also want to enjoy the outdoors. If you must ride on a path just chill out and take it slow, and be prepared to stop when necessary. CHEERS.
re: Why I'm starting to hate the world we live in (cycling rant)The Lone Cyclist
Jun 18, 2001 9:45 PM
Why are you riding on a bike path?
Anything goes on a bike path. Bike paths are dangerous.

Road bikes belong on the road.

I am The Lone Cyclist. I ride alone.
A few random Thoughts.......Len J
Jun 19, 2001 5:58 AM
1.Bike paths are populated by a high percentage of people who don't ride frequently. Especially on a father's day ride for 600.

2.It does seem like a higher percentage of people today are more apt to act out the darker side of human nature. That being said, I noticed that several people got your point about safety before you got to the one who didn't. What do you suppose thier reaction was? Just because they didn't respond, does not mean that they weren't upset with you. Some would see what you were saying as condescending. Especially to someone who knew they didn't know what they were doing.

3.In my experience, Politeness overcomes many obstacles, especially in the face of agression. It sounds like this is the path you took. Congratulations, especially in ight of the obvious pent up frustration. It also sounds like it worked here.

4. People work hard not to learn what they need to learn, just human nature I guess. This man went to great extent to "dominate" (in his eyes you by riding for 100 yds ahead of you. It is laughable, but this way , even though it is obvious to me that on some level he realized he was wrong, he could concentrate on his 'victory' as opposed to confronting his own overreaction. Ain't humans interresting.

5.People out with thier families for a "father's day ride" don't want to be "Shown up" as incompetent. I suspect that is where this reaction comes from.

6.Do you know why these people were stopped where they were? You assume that it was lack of knowledge. Did someone fall? Had they just gotten up? It is usually our unconsious prjudgements that create problems.

This post has been good food for thought. Thanks.