I had to allow myself to calm down a bit after the Nats Hub Spin with Revolution Cycles this past Friday (8/27). Our rolling groups of spinners made contact with the enemy; and it was us. And by “us” I mean cyclists, or more specifically, the “pathlete“.
Coming from the Revolution and the efforts we’ve put forth there in advancing the cause of cyclist, I’ve become hyper-aware of any public interactions with dealing with bikes. Whether it be car v. bike, runner v. bike, or bike v. bike, you become attuned to how we as cyclists act in the variety of situations we’re thrown into. Needless to say, I’ve shifted into the “beyond reproach” phase of my public cycling. For us to battle the hostility we face from motorists, and just about anyone that comes into contact with us these days, we need to take the high road. But we also need to take the high road when it comes to interacting with ourselves, within our own burgeoning community here in DC/VA.
What kind of message are we sending to the infrequent cyclists who attended this past Hub Spin when they’re barked at by aggressively riding pathletes trying to get in a race workout on a congested bike path? Why would they want to ride the Mt. Vernon trail again if they’re afraid that they’ll be yelled at for going “to slow” on a recreational, multi-use path? Those riders acting like it’s the end of the freaking world that they’ve had to use their brakes to slow down for a more casual cyclist are no different than the driver who gets bent out of shape when they find themselves behind a cyclist on the road.
I was brushed myself by one of these douchebags during our ride while rolling along the Potomac on Gravelly Point. He gave me a sharp, “ON YOUR LEFT!!!“, then braked suddenly to avoid the oncoming biker from the other direction. He and his close-following friend were visually upset that they were inconvenienced by our large group. They were pissed that we were enjoying cycling on a bike path!? It’s that kind of mentality that will keep our cycling community in the dark-ages because casual riders will never want to battle with the DC Metro area pathlete. I on the other hand, want to throw a tree branch into your spokes and flip you onto your giant, inconvenienced head!
If we want out community to grow so we can have a larger collective group in order to make the DC Metro area safer for all of us out there we have to respect each other first. The site of 50+ people in casual clothing riding bikes into DC to see a Nationals baseball game should be an incredibly positive one; not an eye-roll inducing roadblock. It means good things are happening. If you can’t see that and celebrate with the rest of us, get off the path.