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Old 11-05-07, 12:21 PM   #1
HenryL
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There's no smiling in Cycling

Thought you would enjoy this. End of Sunday ride, our group of 8 is starting the last downhill, narrow road, no shoulder, hugging the line to let 3 cars pass. One goes by with lots of horn blowing, then the group takes the lane for the remainder of the downhill. One of our group is hammering behind a car traveling around 32-35 mph. Said car pulls away and we continue on down the road. At the bottom of the road, stands a very irate individual cursing up a storm, yelling about sharing the road. Since we are at a light and can't figure out what we did I (completely out of character for me) politely ask what we did wrong. I was told that one of our group had the audacity to ride behind his car and was ........smiling.. How dare he.......followed by more swearing and cursing claiming that he could have been killed.

Did we block your way I asked......NO
Did we make any obscene jestures.....NO %^%^$#$$%%^ it
Then the only thing you are upset about is the cyclist was behind you????? Yes and he better not do that again....

Couldn't come up with a response for that one so off we went.
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Old 11-05-07, 12:30 PM   #2
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Wouldn't happen to know a pharmacist that could supply you with Prozac to hand out during rides....do you?
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Old 11-05-07, 12:47 PM   #3
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I've also been told that there is no crying in baseball.
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Old 11-05-07, 01:03 PM   #4
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I was once driving down Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park- steep road, riding brakes all the way down, stuck behind a guy going 20- and he got irate that someone was on his tail. It takes all kinds.
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Old 11-05-07, 02:32 PM   #5
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Then the only thing you are upset about is the cyclist was behind you????? Yes and he better not do that again....

Couldn't come up with a response for that one so off we went.
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Old 11-05-07, 03:02 PM   #6
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Now if the car driver had put his foot down-
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Old 11-05-07, 03:17 PM   #7
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Let me play "Devil's advocate". Your friend was cranking behind a car going down hill about 30 mph. What would have happened if this guy had to jamb on his brakes? Let's say a deer ran out if front of him. What would have happened to your biking buddy? At the very least, a bad case of road rash? Perhaps the emergency room or the county morgue? A wrecked bike?

I don't think the driver was entirely wrong. Probably stressed out and a nervous wreck. Maybe he had more sense than your buddy?

Just my $0.02
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Old 11-05-07, 03:57 PM   #8
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Let me play "Devil's advocate". Your friend was cranking behind a car going down hill about 30 mph. What would have happened if this guy had to jamb on his brakes? Let's say a deer ran out if front of him. What would have happened to your biking buddy? At the very least, a bad case of road rash? Perhaps the emergency room or the county morgue? A wrecked bike?

I don't think the driver was entirely wrong. Probably stressed out and a nervous wreck. Maybe he had more sense than your buddy?

Just my $0.02
They didn't say he was tailgating or was too close....
Only thing said was "Then the only thing you are upset about is the cyclist was behind you?????"
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Old 11-05-07, 04:15 PM   #9
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When I ride I want to stay as far away from vehicles as possible. When I am driving I want to stay as far away as possible from cycists. I am neither defending or condoning the bikers actions, just stating a "what if". We live in a litigious society and I certainly wouldn't want to be responsible for injuring anyone whether I was right or wrong. If I was in the drivers place I would be worried about the bikers skill or lack thereoff. I wouldn't want to wind up in court because of someone elses irresponsible actions.
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Old 11-05-07, 04:35 PM   #10
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I must not smile.
I must not smile.
I must not smile.
I must not smile.
I must not smile.
I must not smile.
I must not smile.
I must not smile.
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Old 11-05-07, 04:42 PM   #11
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They didn't say he was tailgating or was too close.
Well, the driver did see the cyclist's smile from his rear view mirror. The cyclist had to be relatively close, no?

Good story regardless!

... Brad
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Old 11-05-07, 04:43 PM   #12
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Let me play "Devil's advocate". Your friend was cranking behind a car going down hill about 30 mph. What would have happened if this guy had to jamb on his brakes? Let's say a deer ran out if front of him. What would have happened to your biking buddy? At the very least, a bad case of road rash? Perhaps the emergency room or the county morgue? A wrecked bike?

I don't think the driver was entirely wrong. Probably stressed out and a nervous wreck. Maybe he had more sense than your buddy?
The OP mentioned the motorist passed the cyclists on a narrow, twisting, downhill with no shoulder accompanied with lots of horn-blowing and yelling.
Sounds like he had a bit of a temper problem before he even encountered the eight cyclists.

We also don't know the skill of the rider. He may be dangerous. He could also be very skillful and accustomed to drafting. We simply don't know.
If the person was pedaling along at 35 m.p.h. behind a car and simultaneously smiling according to the angry driver...the rider must be at least moderately strong or can otherwise push big gears.

The notion of road rash, wrecked bikes, and morgues would sadden any riding group...especially since it sounds like the automobile driver was itchin' for a fight in hilly, narrow, and twisting terrain better suited to a fast bicycle with competent rider aboard.

Last edited by Blue Jays; 11-05-07 at 04:54 PM.
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Old 11-05-07, 06:51 PM   #13
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There are LOTS of drivers who spend their lives driving around ignoring the direction in which they are headed -- instead watching their rear view mirrors, waiting for someone to do something they don't like. It doesn't take them long to find someone who aggravates them, so they pull over and try to start trouble.

I've tried reasoning with these bozos, to no avail. They enjoy confrontation, even when they're wrong about rules of the road... whatever.

Ignoring them makes them absolutely crazy. So that's what I do.
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Old 11-06-07, 01:46 PM   #14
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Reply to The chief Constables question of "So whats your excuse for doing 53.8 mph in a 30 mph Limit?" after the only decent Downhill on the Police ride in Sussex a Couple years ago.

"The car in front was going too slow and we had to brake"

And we were smiling as we went through the speed camera on the only Tandem on the ride- So they did know who to blame.
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Old 11-06-07, 04:07 PM   #15
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Personally I agree with the driver. While I wouldn't condone the cursing I can see why he was mad if this cyclist was drafting him. It's funny to me because there is always commotion about how bicycles need to be considered vehicles and our rights to the road. Well, in many states tailgating is illegal and it sounds as thoguh this cyclist was in effect tailgating. If we want to be vehicles we need to obey the rules of the road.

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Old 11-07-07, 08:44 PM   #16
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The more you drive, the less intelligent you are.
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Old 11-07-07, 09:45 PM   #17
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  • Roadbikes & mountainbikes are cool
  • Motorcycles are cool
  • Automobiles are cool
  • Watercraft are cool
  • Airplanes are cool
It all depends on what one is doing (and where they are...under what conditions) at the time!
Now, as far as the rider in your group smiling and having a good time while doing it, can't have that happening.
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Old 11-08-07, 03:06 AM   #18
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Let me play "Devil's advocate". Your friend was cranking behind a car going down hill about 30 mph. What would have happened if this guy had to jamb on his brakes? Let's say a deer ran out if front of him. What would have happened to your biking buddy? At the very least, a bad case of road rash? Perhaps the emergency room or the county morgue? A wrecked bike?

I don't think the driver was entirely wrong. Probably stressed out and a nervous wreck. Maybe he had more sense than your buddy?

Just my $0.02
There's always one party pooper

Chances are after going to all that trouble to get past, to only have a bike follow him down at the same speed was quite galling. Some people find the oddest things threatening.

I prefer cars don't pass on fast decents actually, and take enough of the lane to discourage it. Bikes can out-corner cars when it's tight and fast. It only takes one or two bends before they realise passing is pointless anyway, and they don't mind waiting when they see they're can't go any faster even if they want to.

I've even had a car slow down and let me repass them on one occasion when they realised they were holding me up. Strange but true.
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Old 11-08-07, 03:20 AM   #19
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I recall once, some fellow cyclists barreling down Palomar Mountain, at about 50 mph plus. Complaining a truck is not moving fast enough, as they draft said truck. Ever look at the road below when moving 50 mph plus. NOt me, I use up the brake pads real fast on such descents.
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Old 11-08-07, 03:40 AM   #20
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Driving can be very, very fun!
It's not that hard to find roads like the ones you see on the ads. You just don't get a chance to use 'em often enough.
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Old 11-08-07, 04:39 AM   #21
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The drivers reaction sounds perculiar, but bobn brings up a very valid point.

Personally I would be furious if a cyclist tail gated me down a hill, just metres behind. It puts the driver in a very difficult position because they can not safely initiate an emergency brake, and dont any one be foolish enough to kid themselves that some magic skill is going to prevent a bike shooting into the back of the car due to delayed reactions. Thats not even considering the fact that braking on bikes is very poor as compared with cars.

So it is selfish and irresponsible for any cyclist to draft. What if in the split second that a situation arises for a rapid braking on the part of the car, the driver makes the decision not to brake and endangers him or herself, thinking of the cyclist behind them. Its possible this would not protect the cyclist anyway. Or what if the driver in that quickest of decisions prioritises their own safety and hits the brakes. The cyclist risks injuryor worse. Its a lose - lose situation and while the driver in the OP's story has a strange attitude or reaction, he has every right to pissed off.

I dont drive at 22 (dont need a car) and I cycle alot. If I can understand the need to respect other drivers safety and not create potentially dangerous scenarios, any one who uses any vehicle on the road should be able to also.
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Old 11-08-07, 11:08 AM   #22
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I prefer cars don't pass on fast decents actually, and take enough of the lane to discourage it. Bikes can out-corner cars when it's tight and fast.
My technique for that is to start the descent just AHEAD of the next car. Then I crank it up and leave them far behind through the corners.

On one ride though (Felton-Empire Grade Road in the Santa Cruz mountains), I did that to a new, big white Cadillac, figuring it was an elderly (ie SLOW) driver. Alas, the driver took my "taking the lane" as a challenge! He was drafting me until the first few corners. I pulled ahead and cranked it up a notch, not wanting to be drafted by all that iron. But the driver piloted that Caddy like he was Parnelli Jones!
I dropped him in the corners and I heard his tires squealing behind me, but that V-8 going downhill easily caught me in the straights.
The 1/2 mile run-out before the stoplight is much less steep, so I pulled to the right and let him pass.
Which he did with plenty of room as he tooted his horn & waved.

I caught up to him at the light and he thanked me for the FUN!

And he WAS an old guy! But not a SLOW old guy.
I did note that his two passengers were a bit ashen though. Especially the lady riding shotgun, presumably his wife.

Funny how I make friends sometimes.
I'm sure he hasn't forgotten that day either.
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Old 11-08-07, 10:27 PM   #23
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I have to venture to say that the cyclist most likely WASN'T drafting... and if you've ever ridden the road you'd understand why...

30-35 mph on the downhills here in Colorado are usually because you're riding the brakes because of cars in front of you or tight turns.

45 mph+ is pretty common, with speeds exceeding 50 mph not uncommon at all. My personal best was 59.3 mph, and no, I WASN'T drafting anyone, thank you very much.


Sounds like an irate driver looking for a reason to get mad.
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Old 11-09-07, 03:23 AM   #24
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I have been known to draft motor vehicles on a downhill, under certain circumstances. If I am driving a car that is being drafted and have to brake sharply to avoid a collision, I'm braking. If a cyclist, or any other vehicle, is following too close, it's their problem not mine. They or their insurance company can pay for damages.

The motorist in the OP sounds like he was just looking for a confrontation.

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Old 11-09-07, 08:06 AM   #25
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Jeez, if the motorist was that concerned he could just push the accelerator harder and probably escape the cyclist. Unless the rider has "twin thighs of fury" and could just pedal harder to keep up!
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