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August 27, 2008


Jamie Fellrath

Doug, wonderful comments and right on the money. I was putting my comments here but I decided it was worthy of a blog post of my own (and it was getting pretty long) so I posted a response at my blog.


Parker MacDonell

Doug - thank you for speaking out on this entire range of issues. I appreciate your advocacy of the biking community in Columbus. I also agree that both bikers and "box drivers" need to obey the rules of the road. That breeds mutual respect and safety, two things that our community needs in large supply.

Tyler Steele

Thanks for summing this up Doug. I agree completely with your comments on being spoilers, and hurting the cause more than helping.

As a longtime biker and occasional bike commuter, it drives me nuts to see cyclists (or at least people on bikes) blatantly breaking the law.
We all want our mission to be strengthened and receive the amount of attention we think it deserves, but we really have to be mindful of the consequences of negative publicity. Doing things that piss-off even the most die hard, activist cyclists are certainly going to infuriate some red-neck looking for a fight (like corking intersections).

Organizations like Critical-Mass have been promoting group rides and "awareness raising" activities for years. These events (like the MNRs) only target a niche audience, the individual who is already into biking. We need to think more about how our cyclist mentality is perceived and portrayed to the greater population. This isn't some boy-racer phenom, we are starting to see a modal shift. If you want to take your fixie out for a MNR and have some fun, do it! But don't think that you're raising awareness by upsetting people, or getting in their face-- You're giving us all a bad image.
Follow the rules, take off the ipod and try to wave to fellow cyclists.
We're all in this together-- and

Jamie Fellrath

Great point, Tyler - I hadn't even considered the audience for Critical Mass and the audience for the Monday Night Ride as an issue. The MNR folks make it clear that they're going at a certain pace, and if you get dropped that's your own fault. There seems to be nothing in place to make sure that all the riders can get home from the ride and not get lost.

An elitist attitude? Yes, a bit. There's nothing wrong with a good hard training-type ride, I totally understand people who want to push themselves on bikes or in any other endeavor. But if you're going to lead a ride like this, you need to at least provide maps so that if people do drop, they can figure out how to get home!

But it's attitudes like this that MNR rider leaders need to be wary of taking, otherwise they're going to be increasingly hurting their own standing and respect level within the cycling movement. And that's sad - experienced cyclists always are welcome in the discussion of how to move things forward, and we need every voice we can get.

They need to lose the attitude and think about the big picture - the big picture that says if they play nice in the sandbox with everyone else, then the sandbox is going to keep getting bigger and less filled with cat poop.

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