30 Days of Rapha – Time Off the Bike for Bad Behavior

Woodside Loop: 28 miles, 1400 feet
Weather: Partly Cloudy Temp: 55 deg.
Rapha Kit:  Base Layer, ¾ Bib Shorts, Black Long Sleeve Jersey, Winter Gilet
Accessories:  Merino Socks, Softshell Gloves, Rapha Cap

Today's medium tempo ride with my friend TJ managed to confirm an uncomfortable truth. Cyclists are just as capable of the selfish, distracted and stupid behavior we attribute to drivers.

Just after eight we took aim at a familiar circuit of roads on the West side of Foothill and sawed our way towards Woodside and the crossroads at Canada Rd. and 84. I was suited up in my Rapha formal wear: Black Long Sleeve Jersey; ¾ Bib Shorts; and Winter Gilet. We caught up on work, his plan to get an apartment in the city (SF), and who he'd been seeing. We talked about the Armstrong comeback and laughed about Lance's "Who the hell is Linus Gerdemann" quote. I wouldn't want to be in a breakaway with either of them.

Then we stopped at the crossroads for a snack and watched the problem unfold. It's a pretty busy intersection and cyclists approach it from all directions. There's no traffic light, though weekend traffic probably warrants one, so you get a kind of round robin effect based on arrival time. At least that's how it's supposed to work. If I was keeping score I'd say the drivers did significantly better than the cyclists in the ten minutes we sat there.

There were cyclists that didn't stop and didn't wait their turn. There were cyclists that turned without any indication to the driver opposite them they were not heading straight through the intersection. There were diagonal left turns behind cars. There were groups of cyclists that abused their numbers to soft pedal right through the intersection as if they were warming up for the closed roads of the Tour. No eye contact with anyone or anything. And then we had one cycling ambassador who deliberately blocked the road for twenty yards knowing there was a car behind him. The driver was patient and waited for the guy to take a reasonable line.

And in the interests of equity, no sooner had we clipped in and merged than the driver two cars back honked at the driver in front for giving us the right of way. You just can't win.

We may never be able to eliminate the road rage and unprovoked assaults like last week's bottle incident but we sure stand a better chance of getting fair treatment if we take a little more responsibility for our riding.

Too bad Rapha doesn't make a jersey with a white collar – Here endeth the lesson.

5 Responses to 30 Days of Rapha – Time Off the Bike for Bad Behavior

  1. Pingback: 30 Days of Rapha – Pairing Up Two Singles | VeloDramatic

  2. Patrick says:

    You are so right. The more we post about this type of stuff and the more we talk about it and the more we lead by example the better off we’ll all be. I simply don’t understand when riders do stuff like this. Do you think you’re fast? Do you think you own the road? Do you think you’re doing yourself or other riders a favor? Cause most riders, by and large, aren’t all that fast, they sure don’t own the road and they paint cyclists in a poor light. Understand I’m not talking about rolling through a four way stop, I’m talking about blatant disregard for the laws of the road.

    If you’re doing intervals and you come upon an intersection like this, then you’re not properly planning your intervals. If you ride with a group and the entire group goes through the intersection like this then the group stinks and you’re a sheep. I simply don’t get it.

  3. BR says:

    Hence the conflict of the anti-establishment two wheeled freedom fighter and the four wheeled power brokers. 20% of each group ruins it for the others. The scary part is that most of those irresponsible cyclists were driving cars before you got home from the ride. Just this afternoon I descended (legally) into a sweeping right turn and a stressed driver (100 YDS back) reminded me that freedom is given. He clearly had no tolerance for me on his street and made that clear. I still prefer two wheels.

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  5. Thanks for that Patrick. I can’t say if it’s more prevalent with weekend warriors, but I believe that if you commute regularly you quickly acquire a little more humility and perspective on the road. I’m all for looking PRO but I want to look PRO and stay alive.