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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
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    2,309

    WWTEPD??- aka What Would TE Peeps Do

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    Hi fellow TE'rs.
    I need a bit of advice here as I am very conflicted. Hopefully I can write this without drifting into "but I digress" territory.. I shall try..
    First, ya'll know I am a bike shop owner, so when I look at this issue I am looking at it from a PR stance.
    Here we go..
    There is a large local saturday am ride that has been around for years. This is a classic old school Saturday hammerfest, with very classic roadie "attitudes". - Trying not to pigeon hole, but historically there has been a stereotype that lets just say many road riders (seems to be prevalent with men) have fallen into. Type A personality, narcisistic, very much a gear head and seems to have the attitude that everyone and what they ride are less cool than they are. They may or may not be cat 1 riders, but they have an ego bigger than many pro riders. I think you know where I'm at..
    Anyway, this ride is very aggresive, they have an A and B group, and the A group I believe averages well over 23mph over 60-80 miles. Yes, these guys are fast, and they know it.
    The ride has become very popular over the years, as the roads on this side of the valley are a bit quieter.
    As popularity grew- so did the numbers. I believe they average 40+ riders on any given saturday morning ride.
    We as a shop are not affiliated with this ride in any way. Our team manager offered to give the group a bit of a bump if they came to us, but we were rebuffed. And actually I was relieved. As much as "any business is good business" should be my mantra in this economy, some business is just not worth it. We have no ill will towards the riders, leader, or anyone affiliated with the group, and some have naturally gravitated to us. Luckily they have proven to be cool for the most part. Tho they do have a bit of entitlement about them.
    Here is my issue...
    Over the last year + my staff and I have all ran into the ride while on our bikes or in the car, and have taken note of their lack of road manners.
    They blow through intersections in our neighborhood, regardless of the fact that there are cars IN the intersection and at the 4 way stop. They are generally in a pace line, but often are spread 3-4 across and roundly ignore "cars back". We have nice wide bike lanes. The roads here are pretty new, and have some debris, but not horrible. They could move over a bit and fall in line 2- 3 abreast and the car would be able to safely pass w/ a 3 foot buffer.

    Basically they are everything drivers complain about. It is so frustrating.
    I am "friends" (she lives near me, but we are not close. Just both do tri's) with one of the riders in the group. Awhile back I emailed her and told her that I witnessed a horrendous lack of respect for the laws of the road, and that people in our neighborhood are complaining to me. She pretty much blew me off with a "yeah, I know. We stop at signals and stop signs sometimes, but we are bad about it. It's hard with such a large group"..
    Helloo????!
    A couple of months ago I came across a post on our community forum titled "a letter to the ENTITLED Cyclists" where the guy let loose on how much he hates cyclists, which in turn incited others to suggest violence (ala fb). Posts said things like how they try to get close to us and scare us, They come behind us and lay on the horn, just horrible stuff. Shocking. I of course responded, but I did not defend the group. How could I? Why would I?

    Fast forward to Saturday... I had to drive running hubby to the shop, and was on my way home when I ran into the group on their run up to our neighborhood. They were on a very new road that does not have a large bike lane. There was a car about 30 seconds ahead of me. I watched as they completely ignored him. He went very wide into the other lane to pass, and one of the riders swung out to move forward almost hitting the car. He then flipped off the driver as if it was HIS fault.
    I thought to myself "nice!".
    So I slowly approached. I had an oncoming car so I could not move into the oncoming lane. The riders did not even turn their heads an inch. My van is very loud as I am a poor LBS owner and it needs a tune up. Even with wind in your ears, you would hear it. They were now all the way across the road in a scattered formation and were darting here and there. They were warming up, so speed was still prolly around 15-18 mph. When I could finally pass I had to cross a double yellow line and move all the way over so I was hugging the bike lane line on the opposite side!
    At this point I was furious. This group is ruining it for the rest of us here in the valley. I hear it from folks up here all the time how I need to "tell my racer friends to stay in the bike lane and obey the traffic laws or get off the roads"...
    Sigh...
    So here is my question.
    Would you try to contact the ride leader and reason with him? Would you risk having a group trash talk you and your business because you stood for what you thought was right?
    Or would you handle it some other way?
    I'm at a loss. But I feel like SOMETHING needs to be done??
    Ideas? Advice?
    Thanks ladies (and mr silver, sr?? etc..)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    2,309
    Here is a cut and paste of the community forum rant I was talking about. It's a private forum, so cant paste link..

    OP:
    What is your deal?? You've got your own stinking lane. Get your spandex-but back into it. I don't care if you want to chat with your partner. You are going 15mph. I am going 45mph. Not cool.

    I just get the feeling you think you're better than me, that you're saving the environment or whatever. Just get out of my way. /rant

    response 1:

    That’s BUTT man... LOL...

    On another note, AMEN to that one!!! I am starting to be just as inconsiderate and don’t move over. You know my big truck and driving by them when my mirror almost smacks them in the back of the noggin... Sure I get the finger and yelling but hey, learn to ride your fricken bicycle or you’re going to eventually get ran over!

    I wonder, since they are supposed to adhere to motorist laws. If one was to swerve into my lane striking my vehicle could they be given a ticket for improper control of their bicycle? Surely a car can’t drive the center of two lanes so what are they thinking?

    Any bicyclists are welcome to chime in!?!?!?!

    Resonse Two:
    If I were a police officer I would ticket bicyclists very often. Last night one weaved out of his lane to chat with his buddy. I had to swerve, and the truck I almost hit had to swerve.

    SINGLE FILE!!!

    Response Three:

    I have yet to see any of them actually stop at a stop sign.

    Response Four:

    Yeah I was stopped at Elliot heading down the hill started to leave the stop sign and 3 cyclist flew right in front of me and starred at me as if I were the one running the stop sign.

    RULES!!!

    Response Five:

    Maybe if one or more of them "buys the farm" the rest will get the hint.

    Response Six:

    I sure hope not. The police need to crack down on these guys for their own safety. Even when they stay in their lane, when they weave back and forth, I have to hit the brakes to make sure they don't screw up.

    1. Tell any police that you know that this is a problem.

    2. When you see moronic behavior, lay on the horn for a few seconds. Let them know that you're not impressed while maintaining safety. It's tempting to get really close to them to scare them, but it's dangerous. It's okay to let them know you're outright PO'd. If enough people are honking, they'll get the idea.

    And finally MY response: (go fihgure it is the longest)


    Posted November 11, 2009 07:37 PM Hide Post
    I own a bike shop. Damn skippy I'll chime in.
    I get frustrated by a lot of the cyclists that come up to ride in our area as well. They blast through the stop sign at elliot, and ride in a large mass as if they own the road.
    BUT
    Not all of us are scoflaws. And the tone of this thread is uncalled for.
    There are just as many BAD drivers, who FWIW swerve into the bike lanes all the time!!!
    I commute to work by bike occasionally and I hate riding down the parkway as I'm buzzed the entire time. And I really love when I see them on their phone and they swerve into the lane just a few feet in front of me.

    I am aware of the riders who ignore the stop signs, and ride two abreast, but that is not me- or the people I ride with. I have even talked to a few members of a local club about bonehead things I've seen.
    The swerving? I don't know? The only person I ever had swerve into me like that was a guy I call "Darwin" because someday he will see his demise by his stupid behavior. He rides with an old style radio walkman that covers his entire ear, and swerves randomly without looking for traffic.
    But to actually encourage the agressive behavior that you have?? Well, it's criminal. And actually there are a lot of of GY officers that ride so I would LOVE for them to weigh in.

    And should I even go into the people that park in the bike lane by the high school on saturday because they are too lazy to park in the big lot and walk to the far soccer field???

    I find it sad that in a car people seem so aggressive, but the same people would probably never treat another person the same way in a social situation.
    Please do not spew hate on all cyclists. For most of us are good people who are not out to ruin your driving experience.In fact I may be your neighbor that you wave to every morning. Would you want to hit me because I ride a bike??
    Just as there are self entitled drivers, there are self entitled cyclists.
    Probably one in the same.
    PLEASE drive safely, as I promise to ride safely

    next response:

    Thank you Tony. I am glad that you joined the admittedly one-sided conversation.

    I agree about the bad drivers, which is why on the rare occasion that I ride I am extremely cautious. For me, the fear of hitting one of these guys turns into anger at their flippancy. It's not that people "hate" bicyclists. But in the words of Yoda, "Fear leads to anger..."

    I don't feel that laying on the horn is aggressive. To me it's the least aggressive response -- because there needs to be a response.


    Last response: (topic was locked by moderator)

    Tony your probably one of the ones I respect and actually change lanes for!

    It's the other idiots that need a good lesson in bicycle safety!
    Last edited by Running Mommy; 01-10-2010 at 11:21 PM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Perth, Western Australia
    Posts
    5,316

    everywhere

    Denise...the issues are the same round the planet & have similar riders down our way...Hence why I ride on my own

    I dunno if i'd bother talking to the group leader as it seems like a waste of energy. If they have their heads up thier royal behinds as far as they do, I doubt they'll pull them out just for you...??? (Hate to say it dear but you're in the US where guns are way way way too common in settling scores...)

    People are going to drive or cycle the way they want & until people get it through thier thick little heads that the change happens in thier own little world first..they won't.

    I dunno Denise, it's cool that you want to help the group in order to improve people's perceptions of cyclists but how long will it take? Is it worth the time?

    Let me ponder some more...

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Posts
    629
    Complain to the police and encourage others to do the same. The cyclists who are breaking the law should be ticketed, just as drivers who break the law should be ticketed.

    These cyclists can't have it both ways: claiming to be traffic, then ignoring traffic laws.

    Other than that, organizing other cyclists to picket the route when these yutzes are riding might at least let other people know that not everyone on a bike is a yutz.

    (Sounds like a group of riders the mayor of DC would be very comfortable with.... )

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    507
    If the bunch is not part of a formal club and are a "turn at at XYZ at 6am and ride" then I think there's no point.

    Basically there is probably NO ride leader as such. I belong to one of these ad-hoc bunches (but it sure doesn't ride that way) and sure there's a core group of people who normally say "let's go" etc but that's it. There's no come back or authority or anything.

    However if they are a club that's different. As a club commitee member I know how hard it is to control/guide the faster riders. It's all rip, sh*t and bust there but you can have gentle reminders, a briefing before the ride etc. And of course in an extreme cases, cancellation of membership for the worst offenders.

    Maybe instead of trying to tell off the bad riders you need to create something that rewards the good ones eg. an annual prize for the person who shows the safest attitude riding on the road. You could get some PR out of this by going to your local authority road safety and offer to support and run this and then get the media involved and have the public nominate- something like that, so showing that YOUR shop is all for positive riding and that YOU care about safety and other road users and in no way can be tarred with the bad cyclist brush.

    And forget about the others-it's not worth it.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Oslo, Norway
    Posts
    4,066
    Hmmmm. Much as I appreciate your desire to "fix" things, you're in a slightly tricky position as an owner of a shop. Many of these riders may just be "going with the flow" - people can do the dumbest things in groups - and alienating them by taking a hardcore stance against the group in particular may just be losing you customers. You're under no obligation to fix the situation, even though people associate you with these "racer friends", no more than a car shop has an obligation to regulate driving habits in your town.

    But also as a bike shop owner you have a bit more clout than the average cyclist. You can take a stand on your own views on road riding by, I dunno, prominently displaying stickers, posters, books, T-shirts etc., your own friendly leaflets encouraging all riders to follow basic rules? whatever. I think the most constructive solution is a live-and-let-live approach - let them do their own thing (and take the consequences) while you promote your own views as calmly and clearly as possible. You are in a way representing "all cyclists", while they are just a random group, no matter how drivers like to lump them together.

    If you really want to try to change their riding habits, you'll have to ensure you get in touch with someone who a) actually has a leader role and b) is open to dialogue. If you can find that person, you could lay it out saying "see, we have this problem because we're being associated with your riding habits, which we don't really approve of." They have enough "enemies" who just don't like them, they need to see how their actions are detrimental to their "friends", if you get my drift.
    Winter riding is much less about badassery and much more about bundle-uppery. - malkin

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  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    North Texas
    Posts
    561
    Contact the community resource officer in your police department and have him meet with the group to address the problem. It shouldn't be a voluntary meeting, have the officer show up where to ride meets and tell the group in no uncertain terms of how the cow is going to eat the cabbage. Weekend mornings are slow in most small to medium sized towns. Let the group know that officers are going to stop the group should violations be observed and the riders ticketed. End of story. No warnings. If your city has a bike unit, you might talk to the head of the bike unit as well. But it doesn't need to be a feel good meeting...a stern warning about what IS going to happen. I bet the PD would like to know when and where this ride begins because more than likely they have gotten complaints about it.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    2,309
    You know I think you ladies are right.. I shall just let it be. And I appreciated the point about car repair shops not being able to "police" bad drivers. That gave me a fresh look, and that's exactly what I needed! Once again, my TE friends have come through with sage advice just as requested.

    I am however going to call the police non emergency line and request that they have an officer at the 4 way stop on saturday morning. The ride is very predicatable route and time wise.
    This is an organized group, and they even have a name for themselves, though I would not go as far as to call them a club.
    My neighbor (not a cyclist) had a novel solution of sorts..
    She suggested that I go out and buy the brightest neon poster boards I can find,and place signs with "gentle reminders" along their route (yes they follow the same route weekly).
    She suggested the first one they would encounter to say
    "Good Morning Cyclists. Have a safe Ride, and please follow traffic laws" in BIG bold letters.
    and then to post "WARNING CYCLISTS Stop sign ahead, please slow and prepare to stop"
    another one "CYCLISTS narrow road ahead, please ride single file"
    etc..
    She even suggested a "Thank You cyclists for visiting our community. Please ride safely so we can see you again next weekend."
    Her suggestion was to not tell anyone about it, and just be the stealthy sign lady out posting signs in the dark of night.

    I prolly won't do that, but I have to say it is a novel idea.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    around Seattle, WA
    Posts
    3,238
    Running Mommy -
    Maybe a talk from the local Sheriff's Department's finest to the group? Does MCSO have a community liason officer? I can't remember it's been a while since I lived there and worked with them (I played with the Lake Patrol crew). Maybe talk to them.

    The bike club is not above the law. We've had one of the county Sheriff's Department out in force on our MS training rides - to strictly enforce the law both ways. They pull cars over for not respecting us, and pull bikes over for unsafe antics (blowing red lights, riding 4 abreast).

    If anything happened to the riders, car/bike accident, I know they'd be howling loudly, but they have a responsibility to ride safely too. When it comes down to mass, they'll loose.
    Beth

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Columbia, MO
    Posts
    2,041
    Our city's bicycle advocacy group recently held a cyclists' round table discussion. It was a little bit elite: they had specific invitations for bike clubs, bike shops, police, city officials, and then a restricted number of (free) tickets for the general public.

    One of the things they did was come up with a Cyclists' Code of Conduct.

    After the bike ed classes had some harassment from some cops, they got the entire police force on board. All the police took the bike ed course, and the police started Operation Share the Road. During the month of October they specifically targeted cyclists who ran stop lights and stop signs, wrong way cyclists, and biking at night without lights.

    That was great for PR--anyone griping about cyclists getting away with whatever they want could be countered with "Look at Operation Share the Road. ## of tickets issues for no stop, ## tickets issued for wrong way, ## lights given away" (the cyclists at night without lights had a choice: allow the bicycle advocacy folks to install free lights right then & there, or get a ticket).

    I don't know that it has solved everything. The recent surge in cycling & cycling facilities as a result of the $22 million alternative transportation grant has caused some backlash to be sure. Our pro-cycling mayor is retiring after 16 years, and a bunch of folks are jumping in the race on an anti-cycling platform. Every article in the newspaper about bike/ped is met with inflammatory comments. Some cyclists are reporting more harassment on the road (I'm experiencing less, personally). Operation Share the Road and the Round Table Meeting were launched to combat that.

    I guess my specific suggestion is get involved in the local bicycle advocacy group, or start one up if there isn't one. These things our advocacy group did, or other groups have done, can be ideas for your group. (Google GetAbout Columbia for more details on those programs.) Take your stand firmly on the side of vehicular cycling: cyclists fare best when they act and are treated as drivers of vehicles.

    I find it very frustrating to be lumped in with the idiot cyclists too. I hear a lot about those racers, and I always counter with "That's not me. You won't catch me running a stop sign." And I follow through with that--even if there is no traffic anywhere, I stop at the darn stop sign, because I had a "friend" say "Hey, I saw you not really stop at that stop sign" (I put my foot down but didn't come to a complete stop).

    Good luck!

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Eastern Indiana
    Posts
    373
    If you know a police officer, let him know the meeting place and time, and he could roll by and give them a little pre-ride info on complaints and rules for cyclist. Anyone in your group know the ride leader? Might be worth a chance to try and connect with him.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    1,973
    I do like that last suggestion very much- though it would definitely be more effective if your police liason happened to show up at the intersections at the same time- for a few weeks in a row!

    Off-topic, but I would like to know if you're having your shop ride on Sunday, my DH and I might be coming up to Phoenix for other reasons and might try to make it. You've made it sound so fun, and there isn't anything posted on the website yet.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Limbo
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    8,769
    Quote Originally Posted by Running Mommy View Post

    Would you try to contact the ride leader and reason with him? Would you risk having a group trash talk you and your business because you stood for what you thought was right?
    Yes and yes. Do you think their opinion would hurt business?
    That type of behavior does no one any good. One of those riders is going to be injured and possibly killed if that continues.
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  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Weir, TX
    Posts
    403
    Quote Originally Posted by Melalvai View Post
    I had a "friend" say "Hey, I saw you not really stop at that stop sign" (I put my foot down but didn't come to a complete stop).
    Not that it really makes it okay, but that's better than many motorists do... many around here seem to barely slow down. There's one particular intersection near me that makes me nervous because there is only a stop sign one direction and it used to be a yield, and many people still treat it as such - and I am convinced most don't even bother looking for oncoming traffic before blowing through (which is a large part of why it's a stop now, and not just a yield, and even though it was changed about 2 years ago, people still don't seem to notice).

    It's a frustrating issue.. and I think you may need to separate from being a shop owner to just being a concerned cyclist... it's not exactly as if your concerns are different based on owning a shop, and I don't think that should really play a part in confronting them about this issue, unless it were from an advocacy standpoint whereby you could use the shop to help promote safer cycling and awareness of recognition cycling laws.. because while I don't know what the cycling laws are for AZ, I'd be really surprised if there aren't a few being broken.

    It may be pessimistic, but I have a feeling these guys probably won't take the whole issue too seriously until someone from their group does get hurt - a lot of people who act as if they are above the law have a bit of a "that won't happen to me" complex.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Beautiful NW or Left Coast
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    5,619
    i really like the idea about calling the police. It's one thing to go through a stop sign when there is not a car in sight, but to take up the whole road and not yield the right of way (I've ridding in your area, I know how wide those rodes are) is just plain ignorant AND illegal. Give a few of them traffic fines.. that will help them learn some manners.
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