Tuesday, 9 October 2007

Have You Hugged a Numbskull Today?

The local cycling scene is abuzz with the news that the Alexandria cops are giving cyclists tickets for running stop signs and wearing ipods and stuff. I’m pretty much a law and order candidate myself so I’m going to come out in favor of what they’re doing. I will have to be aware, though, as we have acquired a beach cruiser for the site in order to make short trips around town. There’s too much traffic and parking sucks too much to deal with a car, so whenever someone needs to run an errand we just whip out the cruiser and have at it. Accelerating the thing from a dead stop is a chore, though, so I have been known to make a Hollywood stop or two on my way through town.

We need some sort of law and order initiative on the bike paths. Sunday morning, I took the Georgetown Branch from River Road to the boathouse. I was late for the team ride (that I’d scheduled), so I took the short cut on the path. My speed was probably a bit higher than optimal for the trail, but I’d like to think that my bike control renders that a moo point (cow’s opinion – who cares?). Anyhow, people’s behavior on this thing is ridiculous. First you have the four women “power walking” 4 abreast (mmm, breast – except these breasts, not so much). Doing the whole arm swinging “girl power” bit. You know, I think it’s wonderful that you’re out there instead of stuffing your head with blintzes of a Sunday morn, but don’t look at me like I’m being an ass when I maintain my six inches of pavement, making you think I’m going to hit you head on. “We are woman, hear us roar.” Look, I’m sorry you caught your ex-husband banging his secretary and now you’re out in the market looking for a little cougar bait, but if 3 cyclists wearing team kit took up as much of the path as you do, they’d be hunted down and shot at dawn. The knife cuts both ways. Can you please get the hell back into your own lane? Then you have parents teaching their straight line challenged little kids to ride their tricycles on the path. Freaking brilliant. Did you teach them to walk in the mall on Saturday afternoon? Future Darwin Award winners of America, stand up and be counted!! The runners running in the oncoming lane? WTF? You’re a good man, Charlie Brown, just be a good man in the freaking right lane, m’kay?

I saved some love for my fellow two wheelers – most cyclists on the trail act like asses. What is the attraction of trying to dodge between two people running in opposite directions? I can’t wait to see two of these geniuses pull the same move at the same time from converging directions and, as it were, kill two birds with one stone. Has no one ever heard of the brakes? They’re these great things, you see, you squeeze them, the bike slows down, and then you start going again! Will they never stop thinking up new and ingenious devices?

Sometimes the wisdom extends onto the roads as well. Saturday afternoon I was doing some Ridge/Ross/Beach loops before going on a bigger loop. On one of the runs up Ridge, there’s a guy in front of me struggling pretty hard. He’s way overgeared at about 35 or 40 rpm, pedaling perfect squares, despite having a whole new shiny chainring inside the one he’s on - pride’s a bitch, huh? Anyway, he’s staying pretty much out in the middle of the road, by the yellow line, occasionally and randomly dodging to the right. As I’m catching him, I’m trying to calculate his swerves. Are they truly random or is there a patter? Geometric or arithmetic progression? I got to him before figuring it out, and there being a blind turn directly ahead of us, passed through the 7 or 8 feet between him and the right curb with a “hey, coming up on the right.” Of course, this makes him swerve nearly straight into me. Ay ay ay. Then he starts yelling – “that’s a pretty stupid thing to do, man!” Whatever, he gets the “buddy wave” and I’m outta there.

You see, all of us spandex jockeys are real easy to throw sticks at – we’re visible, we generally go pretty fast and we act like we know what we’re doing. Which is of course because much of the time WE DO. Lesson learned, leave the house earlier and stick to the busy city roads, where it’s safe.


Jim said...

Hey, quit cribbing from all my insane rants on the BikeTrailGuys (BTGs) and Pathletes.

Just kidding.

I don't mind people doing their own thing on the paths and on Beach & other closed roads, but I have *enormous* problems with the idiots who ride/walk/blade dangerously, and as many problems with the idiots who want to get on-path goon rides going. It isn't the time or place. Good to see you've discovered the Motherlode of Blog Fodder, pathidiocy. Whenever you lack inspiration, just think about your last ride down the Cap Crescent or W&OD and surely the Muse shall visit you.

BTW, that was some funny video of the cop doing a 38:16 sprint to catch the ambling roadie, wasn't it?

Chuck Wagon said...

you didn't notice that i'd stayed completely off of your sacred ground? i don't attract the pathletes quite like you do, but every mile i ride down that thing seems to diminish my estimation of our species.

i was laughing all day about dropsy, and the other one - oh yeah, lumbago. get yourself together, would you?

Jim said...

Hey, I don't own the Pathletes. They are a unique and noble breed, wand'ring the fruited plains in great numbers, as stunning in their stupidity as they are in their magnificent riding & sartorial cluelessness. [Cue "Born Free...]

I think I draw them because I'm a fat bastard, and they assume I'm an easy mark, one of their own who is ready to 'race' or perhaps they think the Coppi kit is like some knockoff UCI 1.2 tour pro team kit, and they think I'm that worst kind of roadie, the fake roadie, or Cretinous Heavy/Overpriced Active Dude doing Interval Exertions, the CHOADIE. They assume that like the Pathlete and the Choadie, I'll be up for a Queen Stage on the CCT, aka a 300 meter hammerfest. It's the same reason I think I got pulled at Sander the other week... the official took one look at me and must have thought, "no way is that fat bastard on the lead lap, much less top third and in points contention..." Of course as I take the weight off and get down to my natural 'skinny weight' - ripped for me is around 210 - they'll think, "no way is that musclebound, limping trackie in contention. I'll probably be getting targeted by the overtly gay Pathletes then, but for other reasons.

Yeah, I'm laughing about the cankle as well, thanks for the good wishes. Battan made some pretty funny comments on it. It's just what you get for doing many years of contact sports and doing other stuff your body isn't really built for, like running and going to work every day, and cross racing. I knew years ago I should have stuck with slacking, collecting unemployment and eating potato chips. Hey, maybe it's not too late...

Bob said...

The pathelets are actually a great training tool and general improver of bike handling skills. One could pretend the bunch (side by side strollers) have ate it in front of you, and you go agro to avoid the melee'. Or my favorite, putting a shoulder ala Robbie McEwen into the center of the trail hoggin', slow-assed, Ipod listenein', no manners douche-nozzle to make my point about riding etiquete. I'm usually big enough to win. Just hope I don't run into Jim.