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Lunchtime Ettiquite

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Lunchtime Ettiquite

Post  Steak on Thu Apr 03, 2008 4:29 pm

Hi everyone:

As most of you know, there was a little altercation on the lunchtime ride yesterday. In short: An old kook who appeared to have been drinking ran Ray Ignosh and a couple other riders off the road with a move that was deliberate and dangerous. There’s no doubt that this guy acted aggressively and illegally, and we’re lucky no one got hurt. But there’s also no doubt that the group, myself included, could have handled itself more than a little bit better yesterday.

Before the ride rolled out today there was a brief conversation on this topic, and I’m sure folks have talked about the situation in smaller groups, too. But it’s on my mind, so I thought I’d offer my own take on this.

The lunchride has gotten bigger and better and faster—and honestly, just better in every way—in the past year or so. Soon, when beautiful, warm days become the norm, I’m expecting to see 20 or 25 people out at the loading dock at noon. This is great. The mix of people has gotten better, too. Still, this is a ride that has long originated at a Rodale building, it remains full of people who work for Rodale, and people wearing Bicycling and Rodale jerseys. People in the community (and the police force) often associate this big group with the company. And the lunchride is not the Derby—we don’t carry ourselves as if we’re above the law or uncaring about scorn from the communities we ride through. That doesn’t mean we can’t sprint three wide for town signs or whatever, but we should take a closer took at how we ride in some spots, and be more careful about how we react in situations like yesterday.

So I think we need to carry ourselves out on the roads—particularly in and around Emmaus—with all this in mind. Rodale has done a lot to make itself a respected member of this community. And even though I firmly assert that Bill is strange vessel for any community relations project, he has lately done a good job of discussing and demonstrating how cycling diplomacy should work. We can, and should, do better.

Yesterday, like a number of riders in the group, I got pretty worked up and made a point to engage that driver who tried to run us off the road. At the moment he went ballistic on us, it was right after the Bridge Sprint, in a spot where’s also a stretch of potholes and bad pavement. So the group was pretty far out in the road. It turns out that this guy had a run-in/conversation with Bill in the recent past, so maybe there was no way to avoid a confrontation with him. But maybe there was a way to avoid it—and surely there was a way to prevent it from escalating into the kind of counterproductive spectacle that ensued. We collectively could have avoided yelling and making angry gestures after he began his horn blaring—who knows, maybe he would have just sped off, cursing us off. And once he stopped, we could have just taken down his plate number and sidestepped the ugly shouting match. It seems like that kind of display does far more harm than good. I don’t see how that’s going to make this community a safer and happier place for us to ride. Truth is, this sort of incident raises the odds that we’ll have more run-ins, face more antagonism, and perhaps get less support from the community and police in the future.

Just to be clear: That guy was an assh**e and he could have killed someone. I’m glad that Ray is pushing Emmaus police to pursue the matter. We need all the help we can get to stay safe out there. I’m just saying we can be better ambassadors for the sport.

I’ll post this on Emmaus Cycling forum, too. If anyone has anything to add—particularly any constructive ideas on how to avoid flare-ups like we had yesterday—should post them there.

Thanks for listening,
Peter


Last edited by Steak on Fri Apr 04, 2008 11:37 am; edited 1 time in total

Steak

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There is more to this than the lunch ride...

Post  brdfrd on Fri Apr 04, 2008 11:18 am

Peter,

Very well put. I know this has has weighed on several peoples' minds, including my own.

It's hard to put the rage aside when someone's life may have been put in danger, but the fact is, a poorly handled situation can endanger more lives—either on that given day, or another day down the road. The idea of ettiquite should extend beyond the lunch ride. We truly are ambassadors of the sport. We all are, in some way, looked up to or at by fellow cyclists—either because of our accomplishments, knowledge, proffession, or job title.

In short, without preaching, what we say and do will carry more weight than we may realize.

Brad

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