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Lycra -- rednecks, motorcycle gangs -- rides in rural VA.(11 posts)

Lycra -- rednecks, motorcycle gangs -- rides in rural
Jun 30, 2003 7:39 AM
Last week someone posted about his fear of wearing lycra in his redneck part of the world. Although it is hard to prove a negative, I thought that I would post two experiences I had this past weekend in rural, western Virginia (not WEST Virginia)to allay the poster's fears. First, I was at the summit of a hill about 6 miles west of Warm Springs and had stopped to drink and look at my map. A large 1970s model American car with a peeling vinyl roof and prominent rust spots stopped next to me. The driver was direct from Deliverance -- tobacco stained teeth, with several front ones missing, three-day-old beard, mountain twang in his voice. The driver asked if I was OK and when I said that I was but was wondering about certain roads, he gave me some suggestions, good ones that were accurate. Second, I was riding along route 42 near Churchville when I stopped in a Tasty-Freeze for lunch. I was sitting outside eating when a motorcycle group of about 20 riders pulled up. The leader, who looked like a stereotypical biker (the leather clad kind) came over to me, asked about the food and service. He decided that this was the place to stop. His compatriots dismounted, a few came over to me asked about my bike, where I was headed, etc. We compared notes about our routes for the day and parted with good wishes.

To the poster from last week, I would say, don't fear the rednecks -- even if you are in lycra. The people I fear are women driving large cars or SUVs talking on the cell phone while their kids are creating havoc in the car (before I get some nasty responses, my wife and sister fall into this class), my neighbors who are returning home on weekend evenings (when I sometimes ride in the summer after the heat of the day has passed) after they have had one too many drinks at a barbecue or cocktail party and the eightysomethings and ninetysomethings who ride on my wheel but are afraid to pass me.
re: Lycra -- rednecks, motorcycle gangs -- rides in rural VA.VaughnA
Jun 30, 2003 9:27 AM
I had a similar experience last week, also in rural Virginia. Last couple of miles to the half-way stop, one other rider and myself jump off of the front and are just cruising along when this van pulls up beside us. Rusty red van, "recneck" looking driver and his son. Gives me a big thumbs up and says "You can get him, go go" , smiles and finishes his pass. As we arrive at the store it's another big smile and thumbs up as they pull out of the store. Just makes you feel good. With that attitude he needs to get himself and his kid out on the road with us.

I agree, the young soccer moms or 20-ish girls on phones are the worst. My list also includes UPS drivers, High school jocks, and lawn service people with 30 ft long trailers. I had a guy with a trailer of mowers push me off into the gravel a couple of weeks ago. When I talked to him at the next light, he said "I didn't want to hit the traffic cones!!" I guess they rate higher than humans on bicycles.

Just a rant...Vaughn
re: rides in rural VA.cyclopathic
Jun 30, 2003 9:37 AM
I bike in western Virginia /our 600k brevet is there/ and West Virginia and never had problems. Little traffic, scenery, lotsa good climbs people are very friendly, friendlier then in suburbs. They stop and ask, give water if you ran out, help with directions. However I had bad experiences in other rural areas too: had been ran off the road, thrown bottles, etc.

I think it is hard to generalize different areas have different attitude toward cycling. It isn't suburb vs country. Afterall you're dealing with people first not blacks/rednecks/yappies. Trash comes in different colors.
re: rides in rural VA.VaughnA
Jun 30, 2003 9:44 AM
I agree that's why I used the quotes around "redneck". I've only been road riding a couple of months but I have actually been quite surprised at the courtesy of most (but not all) drivers in our area (Central/Western VA). Just like walking the street, people are different everywhere.

As a lifelong Virginian, I am continually impressed w/ rednecksElvisMerckx
Jun 30, 2003 10:26 AM
No, there's no punchline here, I'm serious. On a group ride last year, we were regrouping in a parking lot at the end of a long hilly road. At the same time (motor)bikers were regrouping on the other side of the parking lot. We called each other out -- it was beautiful.

And don't underestimate Virginians as un(cycling)cultured either. I've met so many rural Virginians who fondly remember when the Tour du Trump/Dupont used to pass through town. They still remember the bigname Eurostars they saw. And many of them still follow the sport to this day. It's a shame there's no major professional stage race in the US anymore.
Jun 30, 2003 12:21 PM
Despite the gruff high-school-drop-out-IROC-Z-bad@ss attitudes from a few people here in SWVA, I very seldom have a puncture that someone doesn't stop and offer help while I'm working at the roadside. I haven't yet needed the 3rd party help, but it's comforting to know they're looking out for you in between the tractor pulls and nascar coverage.

Saturday, I flatted near Pulaski and had just finished putting the CO2 in when Jethro Clampet pulled up. I could have just as easily pictured the guy growling obscenities or waving a shotgun at me. "Are you havin' troubles?" "Well, I had a flat tire, but I think I'm ok." Eagerly boasts "Cuz I got an air compressor back in the shed!" Wouldn't have worked too well on presta valves but I'm sure he would have let me use his phone or what not. I heartily thanked him for stopping and said I was all set.

BTW, where do you live, MS? Lexington, Staunton? I've been thinking about driving to Bath County for a day of riding but haven't gotten around to it.
Jun 30, 2003 12:29 PM
I live outside of Baltimore. I was staying near Healing Springs, VA, where my inlaws have a second house, and attending a conference at The Homestead this past weekend. From what I could see, it looked like there are some good roads in Bath County. My only problem was that some roads on my TOPO generated map were paved with loose gravel and not very suitable for riding. I may spend some time out there in August -- if I do I will post a message here.
San DiegoRich_Racer
Jun 30, 2003 12:45 PM
There are so many cyclists in San Diego that you would think people would be used to them by now. But kid in back seat threw a couple of things at me, from a car fitting the description in the original post. At the next lights I tried to mention this to the incredibly overweight, smoking parents in the front seat and recieved a hail of abuse.

I'm glad to say that I think cyclists very much out-number fat, ignorant rednecks in San Diego.
I don't know what it is about San Diego...MShaw
Jul 1, 2003 11:41 AM
But I've had more problems here than I ever did in the VA/DC area, and there are dedicated bike lanes here!

I went to VA Tech for 7 (count em!) years, and had very few problems with the drivers in Montgomery Co.

After graduating, I lived out in Nokesville, VA for a few years. Ditto with the lack of problems (for the most part) out there too.

So, what gives? More people concentrated in one area? General hostility that "the bicycles are in the way?" I'm trying to figure this one out.

Nooo! stay away!GTDave
Jul 1, 2003 7:21 AM
Everyone in SWVA is a total Deliverance-level troglodyte, they deep-fry all the cyclists they can catch and serve them with mustard greens and potatoes. It's a local sporting event to see how many dents they can get in their quarter-panel (bonus points for stray bits of lycra or soft tissue)
The roads are made of barbed wire and broken glass. There is no scenery. There's always a headwind blowing past the, the hog farm, no... the tannery.
Ummmm...we drank ALL the water
there's no beer
all the women look like Marlon Brando
Stay away
There's no Starbucks
all the road signs are wrong
it's up hill both ways
when it's not 100 degrees, it's 20 below
it rains every day that ends in "y"
Stay away

(do you think we fooled them yet?)
Sorry that I blew the cover on your paradisems
Jul 1, 2003 8:07 AM
I'll never post a postive comment about SW Va again so long as you'll renew my passport and give me a tourist visa to return. I at least have to come back to improve my time on the Mountains of Misery again (2002 -- 12+ hours; 2003 -- 8:49 -- 2004 -- ????).