Join Date: May 2006
Location: Holland, MI
Bikes: Klein roadie, carbon proto mtn bike, burley tandem
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It’s funny, and it’s sad. Whenever we’re flipped off or honked down on my bike by sedentary, air-conditioned motorists, I get this overwhelming feeling that their sense of road ownership is secondary to their burning resentment of our fun and activity. Interestingly, about eight in ten are women, old and young. I love to catch up to these people at stop lights and ask them what their real problem is. More often than not, as dad tries desperately to crawl under his seat, their eyes fail to meet mine and they mumble the inevitable crap about road ownership, I can see their pain as they check out our hardware (and software), mentally comparing their own miserable lifestyle with mine. And as I invite them to have a nice day, I see them drive off in guilty sadness, knowing they’re missing out.
Our nemesis has been the extraordinary network of “bike paths” that our County placed throughout our semi-urban area.. While they’ve been a huge amenity for kids, walkers, dogs on leashes, and geezers on comfort bikes, they have sparked a bitter war here between serious road bikers and cars. When we explain to people that they don’t really want their kids or dogs hit by 350 lb of mass (on a tandem) going in the neighborhood of 20mph on these “bike paths”, about half of them get it and the other half suggest that we should slow down. They are completely unaware of the 15mph speed limit on these paths. It’s a conundrum and a no-win.