Cycling and bicycle discussion forums. 
   Click here to join our community Log in to access your Control Panel  


Go Back   > >

Advocacy & Safety Cyclists should expect and demand safe accommodation on every public road, just as do all other users. Discuss your bicycle advocacy and safety concerns here.

User Tag List

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 08-21-03, 07:47 AM   #1
lsits
Desert tortise
Thread Starter
 
lsits's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Riverside, California
Bikes: Ibex Corrida LT 4.4 (2003), 2006 Bianchi Vigorelli (Red)
Posts: 884
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Are bike messengers giving cyclists a bad name?

I read an article in yesterday's LA Times. (8/20/03) It was about bike messengers in LA. I was wondering if anyone else read the article.

Aparently, these bike messengers run through stoplights, grab onto moving vehicles, weave throught traffic like a slalom course, and generally do whatever it takes to get from point A to point B. Most of the riders don't wear helmets and some don't even have brakes on their bikes!

The image of these riders that was projected by the writer was one of an urban cowboy. My fear is that the general public will group all cyclists into this "wacko" category. Maybe "wacko" isn't the best term.

Any thoughts?
lsits is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-21-03, 08:07 AM   #2
Michel Gagnon
Year-round cyclist
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Montréal (Québec)
Bikes:
Posts: 3,023
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
It obviously depends on the city. I don't think that Montréal's bike messengers are abiding by all traffic laws, but they are generally well-behaved cyclists.

When bike messenging started about 15-20 years ago, we used to have kamikaze cyclists. However, I think Darwin proved himself right...


Regards,
Michel Gagnon is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-21-03, 09:17 AM   #3
AndrewP
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Montreal
Bikes: Peugeot Hybrid, Minelli Hybrid
Posts: 6,521
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I believe most people can distinguish messengers from other bikers, just as they can distinguish SUV drivers from other motorists.
AndrewP is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-21-03, 09:36 AM   #4
uciflylow
Look Ma, NO hands!
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: UC Tennessee
Bikes:
Posts: 988
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
What's a bike messenger?

Just kidding. This is the same as asking if the DUI bike riders around here make the few, and I mean few, roadies here look bad. Just try and convince some of them to ride WITH the traffic!
uciflylow is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-21-03, 09:59 AM   #5
heresy
Senior Member
 
heresy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Santee, CA
Bikes: Orbea Orca SLT, Orbea Mitis, Specialized Allez SE
Posts: 340
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I have been nearly run over by bike messengers a few times in downtown LA. Once on the sidewalk! I agree that most can distinguish a bike messenger from other cyclists, and I cannot deny they are skilled cyclists, but I don't think they help the public's general perception of cyclists.
heresy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-21-03, 10:03 AM   #6
heresy
Senior Member
 
heresy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Santee, CA
Bikes: Orbea Orca SLT, Orbea Mitis, Specialized Allez SE
Posts: 340
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Here is the article.



STYLE & CULTURE
Freewheelers
L.A.'s traffic-dodging bike messengers gear up to prove their mettle.
By Duane Noriyuki
Times Staff Writer

August 20 2003

IT'S a recent Friday, the busiest day of the week for bicycle messengers in downtown Los Angeles. Psycho John, making a brief appearance, drives an orange Ford Fiesta up over the curb and parks behind a concrete piling, where he is welcomed with assorted hoots and animated profanity. Among the area's 100 or so messengers, Psycho John is a legend.

He has been known to grab hold of trucks on harrowing rides down the Hollywood Freeway or to cover his eyes and blast through busy downtown intersections. The closer he comes to death, it seems, the more alive he feels.

Psycho John has come to the Bridge, where messengers gather between deliveries and after work — either as employees of various law offices or for messenger services, taking their assignments from dispatchers. Tucked away to the side of Flower Street in the shadows between 4th and 5th streets, the Bridge is the hub of the L.A. messenger world, a world similar to that of rock 'n' roll, except without the music.

Instead, there is sheer speed and the execution of deft slalom maneuvers that require precision and varying degrees of abandon and good fortune. Rather than a screaming guitar or thundering drums, there is the bicycle, which represents ultimate freedom, riffs of power and joy.

Upon them, messengers can perform acrobatics, moving backward in small circles on fixed-gear track bikes to avoid touching a foot down on those rare occasions when they stop at intersections. They can hold their balance at a standstill or bunny hop as if bouncing on two-wheeled pogo sticks for minutes at a time.

From Thursday through Sunday, messengers will gather in Los Angeles for an event known as City on Lockdown: four days of testing their skills, their art and their ability to consume vast amounts of intoxicants. The public is invited. The name of the event, sponsored by the Los Angeles Bicycle Messenger Assn., is something of a warning to the unsuspecting.

Among the events are an uphill climb, an "obstacle brawl" in which riders must avoid broken glass and 2-by-4s with nails in them, and then carry their bikes over a chain-link fence. Riders will work their way through the city based on clues related to the Black Dahlia murder mystery, and compete in a bunny-hop contest and sprints at the Encino Velodrome.

The competition is a tuneup for the September world championships in Seattle, which differ from City on Lockdown in that events are more controlled. Police will maintain order and streets will be closed for competition.

That contest, known as the Cycle Messenger World Championships, takes place in a different city each year and is organized by local messenger associations, which find private sponsors. The contest brings together messengers of different cultures and languages who share a passion for the bicycle and a rejection of conventionality.

Here at the Bridge, it doesn't matter what you wear or what you ride. Nor is ethnicity a factor. What matters is whether you can ride. There are artists and musicians, former gang members and college graduates.

Todd Cole, 30, is a writer-filmmaker whose documentary "Blue Collar" was shown at Maryland Film Festival 2000. Megan Gigney, 23, has a degree in literature from Towson University in Maryland.

At the Bridge, there may be a game of dominoes being played on a concrete bench in the center of the area. A guy known as Gonzo sets up shop at the side, repairing bicycles. He used to be a messenger but found it too difficult to deal with people on both ends of deliveries, so he now earns a living fixing bikes for his cohorts. He arrives with tools and parts in a backpack and plastic crate that he attaches to his bicycle. It's not an option to drive.

"I feel dead in cars," he says.

Like Gonzo and Psycho John, many messengers go by nicknames or first names only. There's Val and Designine D'Madreama, the Problem Child, Boo Boo.

About 3:30 p.m., cellphones begin singing as law offices call for papers to be picked up and delivered to the courts before they close for the weekend. One by one, messengers head out onto Flower, speeding through traffic lights and rush-hour traffic. They know every bump and pothole, every alley and, over time, absorb the pulse of the traffic.

Soon after 5 p.m., their final deliveries made, they return to the Bridge, demonstrating how many ways there are to dismount a bicycle. It's time to party and await the start of an impromptu "alley-cat race," which will take them about 26 miles from the Bridge to Hollywood, down Wilshire Boulevard then to the Venice Pier.

Pretty much anything goes so long as racers reach six checkpoints, where they are required to perform such tasks as dropping their bikes and going down a slide at MacArthur Park, stopping at a driving range, climbing six flights of stairs and taking two whacks with a club, with points given for distance. They must stop somewhere along the route to buy a can of Coke, and if they can find one for less than 50 cents, they receive extra points. Receipts are required.

At the finish, they must lock their bikes at the foot of Venice Pier, then sprint to the end, where points are compiled, and the party resumes.

Street institution

Psycho John, a 33-year-old with long blond hair flowing from beneath a baseball cap, says that when he first started out 17 years ago, he and a couple other messengers began hanging out at the Bridge. Others followed, and over time it became a street institution. Inhabitants, he says, feel great love for this place, a sense of belonging.

Some messengers hang out on the corner of 5th and Flower, but security guards have been chasing them away, suggesting that their presence is unsettling to passers-by. Others chill nearby at the Wall, next to a parking structure at Hope Street and Kosciuszko Way. It is the Bridge, however, that serves as the heart.

There are a few favorites to win this alley-cat race, and bets are being taken. Scott Free, 32, is usually among the top finishers. About five years ago, he sold his last car, a 1963 Dodge Dart, to pay for a trip to Spain to compete in the Cycle Messenger Championships.

He rides in each day from Santa Monica, which is closer than his previous commute from Tujunga, about 25 miles from downtown. The bicycle is a stabilizing force, says Free, and he can't go more than a day without riding or he's on edge. On a bicycle, he feels free and alive. Symphonies, screenplays and poetry come to him like the coolness of the wind.

"It's an elevated mind-set," he says. "It escalates your heart rate so it gets your blood pumping to your brain better. You have absolute freedom, and your thinking becomes clear." He married this year and has a daughter. Financial pressures may force him to seek more income — messengers typically earn $80 to $150 a day.

To most riders, winning the alley cat is not very important, but it is to Free. The winner, he says, wins $100 — collected from the $5 entry fees — and right now, during the slow summer months, he could use the cash.

It's less important to Jonas, 34, who rides a fixed-gear track bike because he got drunk, he says, and left his road bike unlocked in front of a bar last New Year's Eve, where it was stolen. Jonas wears the scars from one world championship on his forearms. That was the year he and some of the other racers decided to mark their camaraderie by branding themselves with a bicycle cog heated in a barbecue. It probably wasn't his finest moment, he says, "but that's what happens when you're sober."

The bicycle is much like his life, Jonas says. "No brakes." The only way to stop is by controlling the pedals. His bike was designed for track racing, not for the streets, yet that style is gaining popularity among messengers.

Jonas has amassed nearly $2,000 in unpaid traffic tickets for, predictably, failing to stop at red traffic lights. He says he has been involved in a number of crashes, one of which ended with him beneath an MTA bus.

The potential danger to themselves and others is an important part of the messenger equation. The same danger that elevates the level of thrill can prove tragic. Free is one of the few downtown messengers who wears a helmet.

"I can honestly say I've never hurt anyone," he says, "and I've never been seriously injured." Messengers say they are especially aware of pedestrians, who are more vulnerable and more likely than drivers to be unaware of them. "I try to watch people's eyes," Jonas says. "You can tell what they're going to do by watching their eyes."

Beyond the clash of moving forces — bicycle versus car, bicycle versus pedestrian, bicycle versus bus — there are other ways of being injured. One of them involves grabbing onto moving vehicles for a tow.

"A lot of people freak out, though," Jonas says. "You can't grab hold of ladies' cars, older ladies or older men. They have a tendency to think you're going to rob them. I grabbed hold of an old man's Cadillac one time at a stoplight and all these girls were watching me and I was like, 'Yeah, yeah' The old man saw me and gunned it. It ripped me off the bike and threw me into the middle of the intersection."

As the start of the alley cat nears, Free says he expects his primary competition to come from Damien Torres, 26. Jonas, he says, isn't in good condition today.

The race begins with about 50 messengers moving out en masse, cutting off a bus as they roll down Flower like a swarm of bees. The streets are mostly empty and the messengers gain speed quickly and, soon, disappear from sight.

Biking, and good deeds

Free was right. Jonas crashes on the first turn, before a brief stretch on the freeway. He recovers quickly, however, and is soon in the lead, which poses a problem. After the first stop, he realizes he doesn't know where, exactly, the next stop is, having set out without a manifest. He calls in on his radio for direction and is told the second stop is on Santa Monica Boulevard. By that time, he is at Melrose Avenue and must backtrack.

By the midway point, Free and Torres are in the lead. They overtake two other racers who missed one of the stops and, therefore, lose points. Melissa Carr, 26, and Douglas Forrest, 32, are behind the leaders.

The two are founders of the L.A. messenger association and the L.A. Bike Messenger Co-op, which farms out jobs to messengers, as well as organizers of the City on Lockdown. Two years ago, they initiated an annual Thanksgiving fund-raiser for downtown missions.

Included in the activities the first year was a piñata dressed to look like a lawyer. About 90% of the deliveries downtown are for law firms, says Forrest. Unlike in some cities, L.A. messengers do more than just drop off deliveries. They are often asked to search for legal files, requiring much time spent standing in lines, and more interaction with lawyers. For many messengers, lawyers represent the status quo, the conventional lifestyle that they scorn.

"We're seen as shabby people," says Forrest, who has been a messenger since 1984. "We're not very well respected. We're on the lower rung." The association and co-op are attempts to improve their status and to bring respect. At the same time, says Forrest, there is a sense of pride in the subculture's outlaw image. "We want to retain some of that image, but we don't want people to think we're bad people," he says.

Robert Byrnes, 39, is a lawyer with the downtown firm of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart Oliver & Hedges. He used to be a messenger, and for a while he worked for the firm as both a messenger and a lawyer.

"You find out how it is to be treated differently," Byrnes says of his experiences straddling two disparate worlds. "You're treated one way when people know you're a lawyer and went to good schools, something like that as opposed to when they think you're working class, and yet you're the same person in both roles."

Camaraderie

About an hour and a half after leaving downtown, the leaders of the alley-cat race are speeding down Washington Boulevard, closing in on the finish. Torres and Free have exchanged the lead throughout the final portion. At one point, Free went down on a curve, and Torres and another racer stopped and waited for him as a courtesy.

Free caught up to them but then grabbed hold of a truck on an uphill stretch of Venice Boulevard and passed them. The other racer deviated from the course in an attempt to perform tasks that would earn him more points. Not a good idea.

It turns into a two-man race. A few miles from the finish, Torres catches up to Free and beats him to the pier. Free, however, locks his bike quickly and is first to set out on foot to the end of the pier. Torres can't catch him. Carr finishes third and Forrest is fourth. When the points are totaled, however, Carr ends up the overall winner due primarily to her unsuspected prowess at the driving range. Torres is second, Free is third, Forrest fourth.

An award is given to the person who finishes last, and it goes to a guy named Plug, who went to the wrong pier. Carr splits the $100 prize with Torres, who splits it further among some of the other racers.

About 30 of the 50 messengers who started the race finished. As they gather at the end of the pier, there are stories to tell of near misses, missed turns, close calls, vomiting, of people at the driving range yelling at them. Jonas is bleeding from the elbow as a result of his crash at the start of the race.

It is nearly 9 p.m. when the final finishers arrive, and the messengers leave the pier en masse. Jonas lives a few blocks away, and everyone's invited to his place. There will be festive camaraderie surrounding a keg of beer. The weekend is just beginning.


'City on Lockdown'

Contact: L.A. Bike Messenger Co-op at (323) 855-6321 , or www.ulockmob.com
heresy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-21-03, 10:06 AM   #7
lsits
Desert tortise
Thread Starter
 
lsits's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Riverside, California
Bikes: Ibex Corrida LT 4.4 (2003), 2006 Bianchi Vigorelli (Red)
Posts: 884
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I must admit that I sometimes don't come to a complete stop at all stop signs. I think that's normal for California. I have a healthy respect for the laws of physics, though. (3000 pound suv vs. 200 pound bike and rider)

My greatest fear is that when one of these "kamakazie" cyclist gets rolled over by a bus the legislature will try to "fix" the problem by banning all bicycles from the roads. Maybe I'm being overly sensitive here, but just because I'm paranoid doesn't mean that someone isn't out to get me.
lsits is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-21-03, 11:21 AM   #8
Roughstuff
Punk Rock Lives
 
Roughstuff's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: In a cabin in the adirondacks
Bikes: Fuji touring
Posts: 3,079
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 12 Post(s)
Sorry folks, but the goodwill generated by cyclists with the 1970s Bikecentennial: courteous, professional riders who rode across the country as a gesture of patriotism/celebration and appreciation for the beauty this country has to offer, and to make a statement that transportation doesn't have to mean fossil fuel; those days are LONG gone.

Instead we cuddle up to some Jocko like Lance Armstrong, who stars in commercials with SUV's riding on roads that cyclists would love (rural country mountain roads), driving in a fashion that probably kills and injures more cyclists per year than any other single factor. What seems to be the current ethic among cyclist orgnaizations like Critical Mass is: hey! its my road too! I can be just as big an a**hole as you can!.

For a while it looked like these jockos were gonna get off the road on dirt bikes and other such machines. But they are baaaaack!

As for me, I will continue to tour, ride locally in a courteous fashion taking as much of my lane as is legally and practically possible, and hope, hope, hope for a return of the days when cycling meant you cared about nature.

roughstuff
Roughstuff is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-21-03, 11:33 AM   #9
scarry
Bent_Rider
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: SF Bay area
Bikes: Bacchetta Aero, BikeE, Bruce Gordon Rock n Road
Posts: 1,248
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I think we bike riders need to stick together.
That means all of us. That means quit picking on some seqment of the bike riding community whose riding techneque, politics, style of dress, economic level, etc you do not feel comfortable with.

Of course if some DUI biker is riding the wrong way, head on into me, I will stop and offer my advice (strongly).

But I will not support him being beaten by the police for a traffic infraction.
scarry is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-21-03, 12:59 PM   #10
roadfix
hello
 
roadfix's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Los Angeles
Bikes:
Posts: 18,565
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 10 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally posted by heresy
I have been nearly run over by bike messengers a few times in downtown LA...
Were you driving??

Anyway, these guys are doing the famous "Fargo Hill Climb" this Sat. I just happen to live only a couple miles from this extremely steep (steepest in SoCal) 1/8 mile long street. I'll go check these animals out and post photos if I can.
roadfix is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-21-03, 01:16 PM   #11
PaulH
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Washington, DC
Bikes:
Posts: 3,310
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Here in Washington, DC, the messengers seem quite well behaved and professional. I agree that natural selection may be working against the reckless ones. If only all Amrtican workers could do their jobs with the save verve and spirit as these guys and gals!

I've noticed bad behavior among "faux messengers" -- people in their teens and twenties who try to appropriate the style of messengers. They run red lights, and startle pedestrians. I doubt if they would last long in a real courier job.

Paul
PaulH is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-21-03, 01:33 PM   #12
Roughstuff
Punk Rock Lives
 
Roughstuff's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: In a cabin in the adirondacks
Bikes: Fuji touring
Posts: 3,079
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 12 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally posted by scarry
I think we bike riders need to stick together...
I think we bike riders need to stick to our principles. Courtesy and professionalism on the roadways should be the standard by which we judge everyone...whether they drive a car, bike, blades, or are on foot.

roughstuff
Roughstuff is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-21-03, 02:09 PM   #13
travis200
OTB is imminent
 
travis200's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Campbell,CA
Bikes: '06 Trek 5.2, '06 Lemond Poprad, '06 Bianchi San Jose
Posts: 943
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I think there are a few bad apples that were picked out for the story. Most messengers I have seen are pretty safe and aware of their surroundings. It would be a boring story to read for an average reader about a guy who rides his bike delivering stuff and obeys all the laws.
travis200 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-21-03, 06:14 PM   #14
SteveE
Veni, Vidi, Vomiti
 
SteveE's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Republic of Anaerobia
Bikes: Serotta Legend Ti, Romani Columbus SL, Soma Doublecross
Posts: 3,582
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally posted by sherpa
Most messengers I have seen are pretty safe and aware of their surroundings.
You mean there really ARE bike messengers in Campbell, CA?
SteveE is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-21-03, 06:23 PM   #15
wabbit
Sprockette
 
wabbit's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Canada
Bikes:
Posts: 5,503
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I don't think it's bike messengers that give cyclists a bad name. It's dumbbells on bikes who are reckless, don't look around them, go the wrong way against the traffic, etc. Around our neighborhood you see a lot of these spaced out hippie types who ride crappy old bikes and don't even look where they're going. That's too ESTABLISHMENT to obey traffic rules. The result is they are a menace. Cyclists and messengers are probably the most aware of the rules of the road and have good bike handling skills. It's the ones who don't, the idiots who don't look where they're going, they're the menace, to cyclists and everyone else! I can't tell you how many times I've nearly been creamed by some dork on a bike who was looking behind him and talking to a friend.
__________________
You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. That's great...if you want to attract vermin.
wabbit is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-21-03, 07:36 PM   #16
travis200
OTB is imminent
 
travis200's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Campbell,CA
Bikes: '06 Trek 5.2, '06 Lemond Poprad, '06 Bianchi San Jose
Posts: 943
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally posted by SteveE
You mean there really ARE bike messengers in Campbell, CA?
No not in Campbell but a few in San Jose and but mostly in SF.
travis200 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-21-03, 07:48 PM   #17
Pete Clark
It's in my blood
 
Pete Clark's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Atlanta, Ga
Bikes:
Posts: 1,222
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally posted by Roughstuff
As for me, I will continue to tour, ride locally in a courteous fashion taking as much of my lane as is legally and practically possible, and hope, hope, hope for a return of the days when cycling meant you cared about nature.

roughstuff
I've always said that the courteous, law-abiding cyclists, who appear as part of the traffic flow everday, both yielding and taking the right-of-way appropriately, do more to forward the cause of transportational cycling than anything else could.

As for caring about nature, the cyclist who uses the bicycle to perform routine errands does more for nature than 1,000 "Save the Whales" bumper stickers.
Pete Clark is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-21-03, 08:00 PM   #18
Pete Clark
It's in my blood
 
Pete Clark's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Atlanta, Ga
Bikes:
Posts: 1,222
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally posted by heresy
Here is the article.

...Psycho John is a legend.

He has been known to grab hold of trucks on harrowing rides down the Hollywood Freeway or to cover his eyes and blast through busy downtown intersections. The closer he comes to death, it seems, the more alive he feels.
This article is more about thrillseeking than cycling. Too bad the difference might be lost on the motoring public.

Recently, I took my daughter to a nearby park to ride her bike and play on the swings. Many other parents were there with their children, doing the same thing. A small group of young people came along, carrying a giant yellow snake. One was riding a bike.

The man on the bike was tearing at breakneck speed on the circular path, slicing between children and adults with inches to spare. Once, he came behind a small girl on her bike and purposely clipped her rear wheel. "You got to know how to ride a bike!" he shouted. "Drugs and biking, what a rush!" he says.

I'm not sure what stopped me from challenging this fool. Maybe it was common sense, something he appeared to lack. Certainly, nobody else at the park was happy he was there.

Last edited by Pete Clark; 08-21-03 at 08:08 PM.
Pete Clark is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-21-03, 08:50 PM   #19
Chris L
Every lane is a bike lane
 
Chris L's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia - passionfruit capital of the universe!
Bikes:
Posts: 9,626
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally posted by Pete Clark
This article is more about thrillseeking than cycling. Too bad the difference might be lost on the motoring public.

<snip>

The man on the bike was tearing at breakneck speed on the circular path, slicing between children and adults with inches to spare. Once, he came behind a small girl on her bike and purposely clipped her rear wheel. "You got to know how to ride a bike!" he shouted. "Drugs and biking, what a rush!" he says.
See, this is another reason not to have bikepaths - so dickheads like this can get exposed to darwinism in the form of massive trucks even sooner.

Unfortunately, there will always be dickheads in all facets of life. This is something that isn't going away in a hurry. Having said that, I find it interesting that it only seems to be minority groups who get targeted with "the dickheads give you all a bad name" jibe - as if we're the only group that has the presence of dickheads.

Case in point, I see drivers around here run red lights and ignore speed limits surprisingly frequently, yet nobody accuses them of giving all drivers a bad name. I may have missed something, but I can't recall it ever happening. We're supposed to accept that these guys are idiots and not tar all of them with the same brush.

As a consequence, I no longer care whether motorists can distinguish between myself and the courier they saw doing whatever he/she was doing earlier. As far as I'm concerned, following the road rules, acting courteously (yet assertively when appropriate) has it's own reward. It lets me put myself above the dickheads and feed my rampant arrogance.

Either way, I know my behaviour is going to make little impact on the way cyclists are perceived when there are so many out there saying that 1-2% of cyclists "give us all a bad name". I know I'm going to be forever held accountable for the actions of others simply because I'm in a minority group, and I no longer care.

This issue has more to do with perceptions than actions. If the great unwashed could distinguish, we probably wouldn't even be having this debate.
__________________
"I am never going to flirt with idleness again" - Roy Keane
"We invite everyone to question the entire culture we take for granted." - Manic Street Preachers.
My blog.
My bike tours. Japan tour page under construction.
Chris L is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-21-03, 10:20 PM   #20
Pete Clark
It's in my blood
 
Pete Clark's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Atlanta, Ga
Bikes:
Posts: 1,222
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally posted by Chris L
I find it interesting that it only seems to be minority groups who get targeted with "the dickheads give you all a bad name" jibe - as if we're the only group that has the presence of dickheads.

Case in point, I see drivers around here run red lights and ignore speed limits surprisingly frequently, yet nobody accuses them of giving all drivers a bad name. I may have missed something, but I can't recall it ever happening. We're supposed to accept that these guys are idiots and not tar all of them with the same brush.

I'd be happy to tar (and feather) all of them.

Okay, I'm not really going to do that.

Pete Clark is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-22-03, 01:45 AM   #21
cyclezealot
Senior Member
 
cyclezealot's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Fallbrook,Calif./Palau del Vidre, France
Bikes: Klein QP, Fuji touring, Surly Cross Check, BCH City bike
Posts: 13,166
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 92 Post(s)
I have never condoned the behavior of those cylcists who ride the freeways or don't stop at red lights. You might note there was a reference by one messenger about respecting pedesterians. I really don't think even the vast majority of this rare breed of cyclist regularily display this kind of behavior.
Part of the problem is in the way messengers are paid. All work should be respected and pay on such a piecemeal basis is the root of the problem. All workers should receive a decent wage. Legal firms have the money to do such, instead of exploit labor.
Don't pick on messengers, truck drivers are often exploited to require poor driving habits to keep their jobs.
I just find this kind of person colorful. Sure lots of writers could base a intregueing novel upon this kind of cycling lifestyle. You will note in the article, at stops clues are given as a murder mystery. I would like to watch this group. Can you bunny hop over barb wire fence.. Wow. takes +++++.
Should observers say that Psycho Joe is the norm, then I will get all indignant. Meanwhile, don't any motorists get all indignant over this behavior. Everyday, I see awful accidents on state trunk highways, that used to be rural- caused by mororists ' impatience and stupidity.
cyclezealot is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-22-03, 01:51 AM   #22
Chris L
Every lane is a bike lane
 
Chris L's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia - passionfruit capital of the universe!
Bikes:
Posts: 9,626
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally posted by cyclezealot
I have never condoned the behavior of those cylcists who ride the freeways
What is so wrong with riding the freeways? I do it myself when circumstances require.
__________________
"I am never going to flirt with idleness again" - Roy Keane
"We invite everyone to question the entire culture we take for granted." - Manic Street Preachers.
My blog.
My bike tours. Japan tour page under construction.
Chris L is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-22-03, 02:03 AM   #23
cyclezealot
Senior Member
 
cyclezealot's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Fallbrook,Calif./Palau del Vidre, France
Bikes: Klein QP, Fuji touring, Surly Cross Check, BCH City bike
Posts: 13,166
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 92 Post(s)
Well, here in California is is quite illegal, unless posted otherwise. Driving the freeways, I find risky in a car. The lane changers drive me nuts and the greatest cause of the daily episode of freeway crashes. They move in and out of lanes, like pro cyclists do in a TDF attack. Is it common in much of the world to ride bikes on the freeways.?
God forbid you need to change a one or two lanes to find an exit ramp on a freeway. No kindness there. They will speed up to deny you access, even if it means they have to hit on their brakes to avoid the car up ahead. Can't be any worse behavior than the worst messenger, that we have to compete with daily on the freeways.
cyclezealot is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-22-03, 02:11 AM   #24
Chris L
Every lane is a bike lane
 
Chris L's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia - passionfruit capital of the universe!
Bikes:
Posts: 9,626
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally posted by cyclezealot
Well, here in California is is quite illegal, unless posted otherwise. Driving the freeways, I find risky in a car. The lane changers drive me nuts and the greatest cause of the daily episode of freeway crashes. They move in and out of lanes, like pro cyclists do in a TDF attack. Is it common in much of the world to ride bikes on the freeways.?
It's not common here either. To be honest, the M1 motorway isn't my favourite place to ride - mainly because I find it boring to just look at eight lanes of traffic. However, if there are no other options, I'll use it. The law doesn't always get these things right.

Quote:
Originally posted by cyclezealot
God forbid you need to change a one or two lanes to find an exit ramp on a freeway. No kindness there. They will speed up to deny you access, even if it means they have to hit on their brakes to avoid the car up ahead. Can't be any worse behavior than the worst messenger, that we have to compete with daily on the freeways.
The thing is, nobody said you had to use them. If you prefer not to ride on the freeway, don't do it. However, one of the things that really annoys me about cycling "advocates" (and one that has made me seriously think about quitting all of my advocacy efforts completely) is this whole idea of "I don't want to ride there so nobody should be allowed to". Nobody forces anybody to ride there, but please don't try to deny it of others.
__________________
"I am never going to flirt with idleness again" - Roy Keane
"We invite everyone to question the entire culture we take for granted." - Manic Street Preachers.
My blog.
My bike tours. Japan tour page under construction.
Chris L is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-22-03, 03:16 AM   #25
cyclezealot
Senior Member
 
cyclezealot's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Fallbrook,Calif./Palau del Vidre, France
Bikes: Klein QP, Fuji touring, Surly Cross Check, BCH City bike
Posts: 13,166
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 92 Post(s)
Chris.. My comment was not in regards to cyling on the freeways. I have a lot of libertarian values when it comes to issues such as that. I was only referring to the fact that here, it is mostly illegal.
My comment about the rudeness of freeway driving was in regards to automobiles, not bicycles. I find it a miserable experience to have to commute to work in the car on the freeways. much rather bike to work on the side roads.
Wow, image the reactions of motorists should they find a bicycle out in a center freeway lane; acting like Messengers in that instance.
cyclezealot is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off



All times are GMT -6. The time now is 11:02 PM.