A blog for (semi) athletic middle-aged men (and women) holding on to (the last vestiges of) their youth
by training for and competing in running, cycling, swimming and triathlon events!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Why Do Motorists Hate Cyclists?

Charles, a non-cycling friend, tagged me in a Facebook post this past weekend. The question he posed sparked an interesting exchange that has bugged be ever since:
What is it about a bicycle marathon past my home that rubs me the wrong way? Maybe Daren Williams has an idea. Wife says I am jealous. So that one is already taken. Lol
It's a great question. Why do motorists hate cyclists? A comment from Lisa, one of Charles' friends, shed some light on the answer:
Either you like cycling or you hate it. Cycling is big out here, and we've got behind races- they cause big headaches. And the last race they had through Colorado Springs, people went as far as spreading tacks and glass on the route.
I assume she is talking about the USA Pro Challenge, which rolled through Colorado Springs this past summer. But you know what they say happens when you assume, so I shouldn't. But that didn't stop her from assuming something about me in her next comment:
I think it has to do with the perception that cyclists see themselves as superior, part of the environmentalist liberal elite. And just the fact they cause traffic problems.
Well, I must say that is the first time I have ever been accused of being "part of the environmentalist liberal elite." And I don't take that as a compliment! Fortunately, another friend of Charles, Matt, came to my rescue:
I get annoyed when people talk about the Liberal environmentalist elite. There is a religion out there that shuns science and embraces ignorance. Unfortunately for them, their raft is sinking from all the people jumping on it and soon it will capsize from a changing climate and rising seas. I could go on, But that's the crux of what I was getting at. BP has estimated that we only have about 17 decades of recoverable natural gas left. I've studied scarcity of resources and what happened to former civilizations that overused their gifts from the commons, they disintegrate, and collapse, after taking everyone else's resources. Riding bikes isn't a terrible idea from the standpoint of sustainability.
Oh great, my only ally in this conversation is part of the Liberal environmentalist elite! Just what I needed. Riding bikes isn't a terrible idea from the standpoint of sustainability?! I assume (there I go again), that Matt is talking about replacing cars and trucks with bikes. But I'm sorry, as a cyclist I can tell you that bicycles are a terrible form of transportation.

I ride 25 miles to/from work every May in honor of National Bike Month but I don't do it to be "sustainable." I'd much rather be driving my car. It's faster, more comfortable, and much more efficient. I ride to/from work to train for Ride the Rockies. Riding 25 miles 2x daily is great exercise but it is impractical for commuting on a regular basis (especially during winter in Colorado!).

So why do motorists hate cyclists? Is it jealousy, as Charles' wife suggested? I doubt it. Why would anyone riding comfortably in a climate-controlled, audio-infused, petroleum-powered vehicle be jealous of some sweaty middle-aged man in Lycra?

Is it the terrible inconvenience of having to share the road with an occasional cyclist or that once-a-year cycling event? Seriously? Are you in that big a hurry to get to work? Thankfully, I think Lisa finally came up with the answer:
Okay, then, maybe it's the shorts!:)
Granted. Spandex shorts don't look good on very many people. Especially middle-aged men. So allow me to explain. The shorts are not a fashion statement. They are functional. Without getting too personal, suffice it to say that padding and spandex help prevent cycling saddle sores.

I tried to explain this to Charles in my response to his question: "What is it about a bicycle marathon past my home that rubs me the wrong way?"
Not getting rubbed the wrong way is why we wear spandex. You could try that.
Ride on!


P.S. An oldie but a goodie. Why bike shorts should be black...

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please share your comment or question here!