In response to 303’s little rehashed rant about unsafe group riding

I wrote this in a fast, angry tirade so as to get it off my mind and be able to sleep in peace tonight. It’s one big block of jumbled thoughts and I get off subject many times throughout. Sorry for that. Here’s what it’s in response to:

http://303cycling.com/practicing-Conscious-Cycling

Basically the author blames cyclists for unsafe riding on the Gateway ride (a big group ride that has between 20 and 120 people on it from January through March). The author is calling for us to change our ways in order to appease the impatient drivers we’re holding up. Who knew there’d be so many deathly important, pressing issues for these drivers to take care of on a Saturday morning way out in the country? I say deathly important because not once, not twice, but three times last Saturday I and other cyclists were cut off or passed closely enough for me to feel that my life was threatened. I didn’t complain though. Fuck it. I know what I’m up against when I head out the door. But I have chosen to complain now, when another cyclist mind you is deciding to blame US for causing the problem. So long solidarity. But I guess he’s right. I do exist, therefor I am the problem–at least in they minds of a very select few drivers.

Read 303’s article for yourself and get their whole take on the matter if you so desire. Here’s my poorly written but still somewhat rational response. Time for me to got to bed. I’m sure I’ll regret this in the morning. Whatever…

Remember all those times cyclists were killed or permanently injured on the Front Range this past year due to unsafe group rides and slowly rolling through stop signs? Yeah me neither! In every incident it has been inattentive or purposefully homicidal drivers who end up avoiding even a slap on the wrist for taking someone’s life. Taking someone’s life. As for the unsafe riding on the Gateway group ride, I’ve been on two of the three editions this year, riding both at the front and the back, and haven’t witnessed anything out of control at all other than a few newbies not holding their line perfectly. On highway 36 we’re double file to the right of the white line the entire way, tight and orderly like good little orderlies. We still get buzzed and honked at of course, despite ample room for cars to pass safely. On the smaller country roads up north we’re single or double file for most of the ride, only taking the full lane a handful of times when things temporarily slow and bunch up. That’s the nature of large group rides. Would the local residents or whomever it is complaining about us rather there be 100 extra cars on the road to deal with? How about 100 slow-moving tractors? Passing a big group of cyclists can take up to a minute of their time. Yes a whole minute! But they need to deal with it in a SANE manor. I wrote SANE in cap locks to bring attention to the word and the lack of it being applied, because the actions of some of these impatient drivers is literally insane to me. They’d risk killing multiple human beings because they’re angry at us for making them slow down for 30 seconds? Maybe I’ll start doing the same thing at grocery stores when there’s a slow, elderly lady blocking the aisle when I’m in a hurry to get to the bulk section. I would love for there to be a cop car following the Gateway ride in order to ticket and arrest unsafe, INSANE drivers for once, instead of a cop car following along for the sole purpose of harassment. Police harassment has happened to me on group rides around the country, including the Gateway, Shootout, the Santa Barbra Worlds, and even smaller rides back in Oregon. The worst incidence occurred on the Shootout down in Tucson when a cop came around our group at 80+ mph and slammed his brakes on in front of us, attempting to make us crash. It was incredibly close and to this day I’m not sure how we all managed to swerve out of the way. Not long after this happened, another cop ran headfirst into the Shootout and mowed down 20+ human beings. Tucson’s finest. Sorry I’m getting side tracked. Back on the subject of hand: the very few drivers who complain about the Gateway ride are impatient, most likely miserable, bike-hating people who are going to complain about us no matter what we do. They don’t hate us because we’re rolling through a stop sign. They hate us because of who we are and what we’re doing, which is just a reminder to them of who they AREN’T and what they AREN’T doing, which is enjoying life and being happy. Don’t forget that and go blaming yourself when you get run over by one of these psychos. It’s like an abused woman saying, “I deserved it. I burnt dinner.” There’s a small minority of unsafe cyclists, just like there’s a small minority of unsafe drivers. While the unsafe drivers stick out in my mind, the unsafe cyclists may stick out in the minds of most drivers. Here’s the difference: I don’t purposefully threaten the lives of other cars (if a car had a life) when I pass them (if I passed them) on my bike in order to get even with that one driver I saw two Sundays ago who rolled through a stop sign. Like every cyclist, my number one priority while riding is to not get killed. Is that too much to ask?

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