Monday, January 21, 2013

7 Ways to Be a Jerk on a Bike Tour

#1: When passing slower cyclists, keep quiet, and pass close and surprisingly quick.
Polite cyclists prefer to call out "on your left" to let slower riders know they are about to pass. Those riding in a paceline will often call out "line on your left" or "riders on your left". Riders in the line will let the slower riders know there are several more riders passing. Passing riders should give the cyclist enough room on a pass, while being courteous and safe with approaching motorists.
More: 10 Riding Tips for Organized Tours
If you want be a jerk, buzz the slower cyclist while smugly thinking, "I don't need to let them know, after all they should know that they're slow and faster riders will pass them. Additionally, I just get tired of saying 'on your left' all the time. I'm so fast."
#2: Don't look over your left shoulder when you move to pass someone or when you move into a traffic lane.
Cyclists that prefer to remain safe and live to ride another day will look over their left shoulder to see if traffic or other cyclists are approaching before they make a move.
More: How to Prepare for an Ultra-Distance Event
Support vehicles tell me that they constantly see cyclists on organized rides behave as if the roads are closed and they can dart into the lane of traffic anytime they please. This kind of behavior is dangerous for everyone involved, but that fact doesn't seem to faze a cycling jerk.
#3: When riding with a group of friends, ride three and four abreast. If the bike lane is big enough to ride three or more abreast, while still allowing room for other cyclists to safely pass your group on the left side without going into traffic, go ahead and ride several riders abreast. Courteous riders will often check over their shoulders to see if they are still sharing the bike lane and being safe, while riding abreast.
Cycling jerks will do their own thing, riding multiple people abreast, while expecting everyone else to accommodate their little group. After all, the jerks paid their fee and now they expect personal privileges and service--dammit!
 #4: Your group is riding in a paceline and you are going fast enough that you can pass most other riders. Ride as far left in the bike lane as possible because you're so darn good.
The very best riders are well-mannered. They do indeed ride fast; but after they have made a pass they move as far to the right side of the bike lane or road as possible.
Cycling jerks block other riders and force faster groups to slow down and create a traffic jam; pass on the right side of the jerk group; or force faster riders into the traffic lane even though the bike lane is big enough. Jerks shout out, "This is not a race!" to anyone that rides faster than they do. The biggest jerks force passing riders across rumble strips while taking up the entire five foot shoulder. Yes, big jerks are dangerous to others.
More: How to Train for a Week-Long Bike Tour
#5: When people call out "on your left" and you have plenty of room to move to your right, making it safer for others to pass--don't do it.
Good riders want safety for themselves and others. They would never want to be the cause of harm to another cyclist. When someone calls "on your left" they prepare themselves for the pass by moving as far to the right of the lane as safely possible and they hold a straight line.
Jerks do not want to move at all and don't care if they put others in danger. "They can go around me," the jerks think.
More: How to Successfully Complete a Century
#6: When your group is in a paceline and riding very fast, get around slower riders without slowing your pace--even if that means creating problems for vehicular traffic or making dangerous moves close to slower riders.
Good riders know that they do not need to pass slower riders the instant they cross paths, if doing so puts anyone in danger. They will wait for the appropriate time to pass, even if it means slowing down for a few minutes. The best riders want to ride again tomorrow, so making moves that could cause a crash are simply not worth it.
Cycling jerks do not want to slow down or be impeded by anyone or anything. They are in "the zone" and want to hammer away, regardless of anyone else (traffic or other cyclists). They are in the zone alright, the jerk zone.
More: 10 Tips for Your Fall Century Ride
#7: Do not point out obstacles or hazards in the road.
Civil riders on a big tour know that pointing out hazards is the right thing to do, even if they are pointing out hazards for people they don't know.
Jerks, on the other hand, figure that everyone should be responsible for their own well being and other riders should look out for hazards on their own. Jerks will swerve quickly around a hazard, not alerting other cyclists to the hazard and allowing no time for cyclists behind them to react. In jerk-world it's every rider for his or her self.
On long rides, nearly everyone makes an occasional mistake due to fatigue or low energy. Riders that make knucklehead moves apologize and try not to let it happen again. Jerks have no remorse for bad moves and huge egos override common courtesy.

7 Ways to Be a Jerk on a Bike Tour |

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