Pull up a chair, folks; we totally need to talk.
You probably don’t remember me, but oh, I remember you. I was the chick “driving” behind your 20-plus peloton last Sunday in my blue-ribbon metallic Prius. (In case you are wondering, I did not make up that color name; it is the actual official 2011 Toyota color name and, yes, that sealed the deal when I was car shopping. Duh.)
I put “driving” in quotes because my blue-ribbon boy and I were stuck at a near standstill behind you for a solid 1.5 miles last Sunday, as you rode two and even three (THREE!) PMC-jerseyed riders abreast and violated all sorts of rules of the road let alone common human courtesy.
I suspect you will not be very open to what I have to say. In fact, I suspect you are already rolling your eyes and writing me off as some angry, ranting, anti-cyclist redneck bitch who never got the “Share the Road” memo.
You are right on two counts: I am angry and I am about to rant (and there’s nothing you can do to stop me since this blog is mine not yours). OK, maybe you’re right on two-point-five, since while I totally refute your “redneck” claim, a training partner did indeed take great pleasure in calling me a bee-atch twice today. So I’ll let that .5 stand, though I am fairly certain he was joking. (You WERE joking, weren’t you, Jim???)
Two-point-five assertions notwithstanding, I am truly not anti-cyclist and I am truly all sorts of about sharing the road as you would have seen had you actually allowed me (not to mention the gazillion cars backed up behind me) to pass.
To further diminish the likelihood of being summarily dismissed, let me stress that I truly think all you PMC–ers totally-completely-wholly rock. Word on the street is that by the time you make your Sturbridge-to-Provincetown pilgrimage August 2-3, you will have collectively and cumulatively raised something north of $440 million dollars for cancer research and treatment at Dana Farber/The Jimmy Fund Clinic. Anyone with a pulse would find that fact pretty darned cool; it’s perhaps a skosh cooler to me in particular, since I happen to be among the moms who “get” to hang out in the hallowed halls all your sweat supports, and by that I mean I’ve whittled away the better part of many a day at The Jimmy Fund Clinic–as recently, even, as Wednesday, when I happily received the news that my daughter’s MRI showed nothing terribly abnormal in her “resection cavity”, which is a fancy medical way of referring to the hole the surgeon left in her brain when he removed a dysembryoplastic neuroepithelial tumorthat was about the size and consistency of a raw scallop. (“Scallop” was his word choice, not mine; it was a choice that would forever change the way I view the seafood section of any given menu. And now I guess I have forever changed your fine dining experiences, too; sorry ‘bout that.)
So net-net: I all sorts of support cycling and I all sorts of support you supporting your charity of choice via cycling. But my problem is this: you were exhibiting the type of cycling behavior that gives all cyclists a bad rap and encourages the bonafide redneck drivers amongst us to view cyclists as Sunday morning target practice.
I am going to cut to the chase and give you four things to think about before your next ride:
Ride Single File. Yes, it is legal to ride two abreast. But only when doubling up doesn’t prevent cars from passing. If you don’t believe me, read the law here. You were totally-completely-wholly breaking this law and that is totally not cool as well as totally dangerous. As for three abreast, that is triply not cool and triply dangerous.
Save the Social Hour for the Pub. I am all about having fun, but you guys were having way too much of it out there as the traffic mounted behind you. Save the chit-chat for the post-ride espresso or beer; when on the road and in traffic, pay attention to the road and the traffic.
Be Predictable. There was a whole lot of weaving going on as you turned your heads to rubberneck over how many cars were behind you. If you can’t hold a line when you turn your head, don’t turn your head. Find a parking lot and practice, but don’t do this in traffic, people.
Communicate with your fellow riders—not the drivers. A few of you in the back of the pack actually attempted to direct traffic when you had decided you had heard the hum of my blue-ribbon boy for a little too long; please be aware that I am NOT going to attempt to pass 20-plus cyclists, many of whom are riding two or three abreast, no matter how much you gesticulate for me to do so. (Especially when you are completely incapable of holding a line whilst conducting the gesticulating–see point above.) Instead of communicating with me, please communicate with your fellow riders. A simple “CAR BACK” would be greatly appreciated.
If you don’t want to listen to me, perhaps you’ll listen to PMC founder Billy Starr. He happened to make a bike safety video and I happened to find it for you. I think this video is pretty great from start to finish and I encourage you all to view it in its entirety before your next group ride; if you can’t spare seven minutes forty-two seconds please at least fast-forward through and watch the eight-second snippet from 4:25 to 4:32:
Bottom line is you’ve got miles to go before your August date with the Cape; let’s make them safe ones.
Thanks for stopping by, happy riding, and let’s not have to have this chat ever again.