Basic Cycling Etiquette

Alright I get it cycling got cool again a few years ago especially amongst hipsters and then baby boomers which then sorta drove the hipsters away. But it’s actually been and established thing for a while now so if you’re gonna do it, do it right! This post was brought on by a large group of older, very rude cyclists I met on the trail. Last post was all about the runners and I was less incensed about that so bear with me. I think it might matter a bit more than running too. I say that because cyclists go a lot faster, especially the roadies and you mountain bike a long way from help. I’m way more of a mountain biker than a roadie so it might lean that way but I’ve done some work to inform myself but keep that in mind. SO listen up, learn it , love it, live it! But don’t worry this isn’t a list of stupid things roadies might insist on like always, always wearing shorts and a jersey.

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For the love of god, move over!

So this is what inspired the post. I was cycling on the trail when I came upon a group of about 12 older cyclists with big packs and even though the trail is wide enough to accommodate a side by side ATV (quad) and a bike they rode three abreast and blocked the trail for about 2 km. I rang my bell, they turned and saw me and still didn’t move over. They also all passed me while I was taking a water stop so they knew I was coming and yet … If someone wants to pass you let them pass whether it’s a chill trail ride or a race. In this case I honestly can’t think of a reason why other then they wanted to keep chatting? It’s not a personal affront to your masculinity just a faster rider that day!

Take care of others

This can be considered a trail rule rather than a biking rule. Especially when mountain biking not even all that far from civilization any interaction you have with another human might be your only one all day. If someone looks in tip top shape smile and nod. If there is ANY chance at all that they need a hand stop and offer what you can. Even if you have literally no skills going for help can be the most important skill. If you’re this sort of biker make sure you check out the cyclemeter app because it can keep you safe in situations like this and even help your loved ones direct help to you if you need it automatically. I talk about it a bit more in this post. Even if you are a roadie you’re still a human if a fellow biker or even a walker needs help, do it. After all you’re hella fast!

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Follow the rules of the road, other wise your just being reckless

You have a responsibility to keep yourself safe and those around you safe on the road. Sure you could dart in and out of cars and make slightly better time on your commute but you don’t want to hurt yourself or someone else in the process. Stop at red lights, pick one road or sidewalk (if legal), wear a helmet and even if you have the right of way check for cars because if you two get in a fight you’re going to loose. You might think that the only person you’re hurting is yourself but that’s not true. You’re being reckless with your life for sure, those that depend on you and love you and even those that might hit you. Driving unpredictably on the road dramatically increases the chances something bad will happen and someone will hit you. Even if it’s totally legally you’re fault some people never get over that sort of accident. They might never drive again, have to stop working to support their family or a whole lot worse.

Cut in cautiously

If you do race or generally need to pass someone remember you’re not an indy driver or actually on the tour de France. Most races aren’t even draftlegal so that means three to four bike lengths is the rule! Let the person know you’re passing and you don’t need to cut back in at the first possible moment. My young drivers instructor Wes advised me to wait until I could see headlights in my rear view to cut back in line other wise I’d freak the other driver out and the sameish goes here. Get just a little further ahead before you cut back in during a group ride or a race and a lot further ahead if it’s just a Sunday ride.

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Just because you’re a ‘real cyclist’ doesn’t give you licence to be an a$$

Ya’ll need to watch the frozen movie like a dozen more times and just let it go already. This is one aspect where mountain bikers and roadie’s really differ. When I looked into the basic etiquette of cycling a lot of the sites talked about the exact amount of time you should be clipped out before coming to a stop, exactly what to wear and what you could never wear, how to deal with getting bumped from the more prestigious ride times in your club and that you’re matching outfit (it has to match my the way) can’t include this long list of things. Seriously? What it should have said is what’s on this post and carry an extra tube, know basic repairs or have an escape plan like a mom pick-up and go over the rules nicely with new members one on one so as not to make them feel uncomfortable. It’s not cool to say women can’t wear sports bras (not called jogging bras BTW) that’s kinda the whole idea of those quaint little take back the night rallies we’re always having as women! If someone gasp modifies their bike in such a way to make it slower but more realistic for them, it’s their freakin’ bike god dammit! PS I plan on adding a kick stand and bell to mine after the race. If they want reflectors or mirrors to feel safer that’s their prerogative and you know what at the end of the day it’s all about the engine!

Mountain bikers could not be more different and more chill, sure we have a reputation of getting some help with our chill, especially on the west coast, but we really are. It’s not at all about the outfit but I’ve recently learned those sissy padded bike shorts rock, even in the woods! On several weekends honey and his RC nut friends head out with their tiny trucks and drive them in the woods. It’s nutty but actually still really fun. Often we head to the Mica Trail since it’s so rocky, jagged and has all sorts of cliffs, sheer drops and lot’s of obstacles. The thing is we don’t go there all the time because some normal humans can’t walk there. Even though I have fun with my tiny truck too I do look wistfully at those mountain bikers out there. On a couple of occasions I’ve complemented bikers at the trailhead that happen to be packing up their sweet (see $6000) rides with something like, “good job out there it’s a pipe dream of mine to ever be able to ride like 10% of this someday.” And they’re like “you can buy a lot of that skill” pointing to their bikes, “I could show you I’m here most Sundays” or after chatting “wanna try mine out” after just meeting them. No matter what type of biker you are or your particular bike (or outfit or whatever) you have or do or wear at the end of the day it’s always about having the best version of the ride you were setting out to do. All that other stuff is trivial and doesn’t matter at the end of the day.

Follow group rules and teach them

I want to join a group cycling club that I could at least tag along with here and there. But all the rules and customs freak me out. I’ve looked into it but still it’s overwhelming and I’m super intimidated my the culture. I know I need to know and learn all that but I get the impression I have to do all that before you even show up and you do. Now that I’m doing more on my road bike I all of a sudden get the fact that roadies often end up in piles and how fast you’re going and the reality of the brakes makes knowing the rules an absolute necessary. But someone taught you and you should make newbies feel comfortable, give them some leeway and teach them if you’re going to accept new members at all!

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What drives you nuts about other bikers? I’m sure I’ve misses something here since I usually ride alone and if I even see someone else it’s usually and ATV. PS I’d love a few tips/ tricks/ heads up about joining a club!

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