Article: Beware the Lone Wolf in Lycra

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Article: Beware the Lone Wolf in Lycra

Postby human909 » Sun Jan 13, 2013 5:00 pm

http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/societ ... 2cmbt.html

Beware the lone wolf in Lycra

I am a pedestrian. OK, sometimes I am a car driver, sometimes a train traveller, and quite often these days an airline passenger, but for the purposes of this column, ich bin ein pedestrian.

My husband and I have reached the age where, to the deep approval of our GP, we walk for an hour most mornings. She thinks we do it for our health; actually, we do it so we can continue to eat and, even more importantly, drink, without going up by more than a dress size each year.

We walk on the cycleway because it's officially a shared pedestrian and cycleway. It used to be a drainage reserve and before that something they used to call a ''creek''. Now it has been spruced up and turned into a shared path winding its way past backyards and an oval, under an expressway, and through a smattering of bushland. That's why we thought it would be safer than walking on the road.

How wrong we were.

We have made the walk part of our daily routine for a few years now, and have learnt things about the characters around our neighbourhood that we never could while whizzing past in a car or, as will become painfully clear, a bike.

Because we usually leave home at the same time every morning, we tend to see the same people. A couple of the more colourful characters we have christened Hat Man and Bread Man (I know, our wit and creativity are awe-inspiring). Hat Man is rather sweet. He is short, dapper and of a certain age. Every day he wears a different snazzy hat. Trilbys, sombreros, caps, sun hats, you name it. We look forward with some excitement to see what sartorial treat he has in store for us every day.

Bread Man is slightly more peculiar. Naturally endowed with generous cheeks, he solemnly ingests bread while walking and then holds it in said cheeks (quite noticeably) while slowly and methodically chewing it. We have no idea why and - for obvious reasons - are rather loath to ask.

Other observations we have made include that joggers always look as if they are about to die and are probably wishing they could, and that many dog owners really do look exactly like their pets. However, our most constant companions - given that we walk on a shared cycle path - are cyclists, and it is within this community that we have made most of our observations.

The first thing we have noted is that any cyclist wearing their own - ordinary - clothes is the pedestrian's friend, particularly women who cycle in wide skirts (Mad Men style), sitting bolt upright behind the basket on their handlebars. They are harmless, have lovely manners, and will even occasionally trill a bright ''good morning'' as they trundle past. They are there to be admired and we oblige.

But men in ordinary trousers, T-shirts and runners are also courteous cyclists and, while they may not give us a breezy greeting, they do appear to be quite comfortable about using their bell.

It is as the clothing worn by the cyclist becomes more purpose-designed that the behaviour deteriorates, with the honourable exception of those who ride in pelotons. Their behaviour is exemplary. The leader always lets us know he is approaching by calling ''walker up'' (that's us) and then we hear the cry carried back among the bunch so we know to stand to one side as they ride past.

No, it is the lone-wolf cyclist dressed to kill (I think literally) in his/her (when fully kitted-out impossible to discern gender) Lycra, bum-padded speed suit that strikes terror into every pedestrian's heart.

Silent, with a seemingly genetic incapacity to ring a bell, they hunch over their weirdly angled handlebars, riding as if invisible hounds from hell are on their tail. (They may be fleeing magpies. I notice many make their hideous, space-alien helmets look even stranger by affixing vertical plastic straws to them, presumably to ward off the birds. I used to hate magpies; I feel a strange affinity with them now.) These cyclists appear to regard pedestrians as oddly shaped bollards, our cringing humanity and vulnerable flesh invisible to them.

Silently (I know I am repeating myself, but I can't emphasise the horror of this enough) they whizz past, missing the poor unsuspecting (completely unsuspecting) pedestrian by centimetres. One actually knocked the bag from my shoulder. If you listen you can hear the startled, strangled cries of other pedestrians further along the cycle path as the lone wolf weaves his/her ruthless way to whatever life-and-death emergency they have been summoned to attend so urgently.

Recently, my husband and I paused on the narrow part of the shared path delineated for pedestrians to say our goodbyes because, for reasons far too boring for a column, he was going one way and I another. As we pecked each other on the cheek, one of these speed fiends rode by. Then he stopped, turned round, cycled to our side and began to tell us off for - wait for it - standing still on the path. ''Cyclists come down this hill fast,'' he said, as if we didn't already know. My husband gently (OK, not that gently) pointed out that we were within the lines, so to speak. This impressed the speedster not one jot. He continued his finger-wag undeterred. With my usual wit, I then turned into a kind of female Colonel Blimp and blustered and sputtered at him. ''Outrageous!'' I think I said to him and then, in case he hadn't understood, I said it a couple more times. That ought to teach him to mess with me!

From now on, rain, hail or shine, you will see me walking with an umbrella. Held at right angles.

Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/societ ... z2HpsHUjwB


:roll:

Ho Hum....

Not an overly offensive article really. But what disturbs me is how such a boring piece is considered "news". Cyclist bashing articles seem to be all the rage now. Cyclists seem to be the one group you can safely berate in the media.


That said it is interesting the observation made about the clothing.....
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by BNA » Sun Jan 13, 2013 5:08 pm

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Re: Article: Beware the Lone Wolf in Lycra

Postby WestcoastPete » Sun Jan 13, 2013 5:08 pm

Nice writing style. I can understand the issue. A lady in my office knows I'm involved in cycling advocacy and this is her biggest complaint about cyclists. The stories she's told about her walk to work are shocking.

They are shared paths. Most people are fine with that, but the renegades that feel they are more important could probably do with a bit of pulling into line.

BTW - I think it's a totally appropriate opinion story for the Sunday paper...

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Re: Article: Beware the Lone Wolf in Lycra

Postby Sydguy » Sun Jan 13, 2013 5:10 pm

Damn I searched before I posted this in NSW forum - we must of posted same time!

What utter rubbish, I bet when when she sees a friend getting off the train they stand in the doorway and chat.

As for carrying an umbrella, crazy much? Keep left and you will not be hit.

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Re: Article: Beware the Lone Wolf in Lycra

Postby Mulger bill » Sun Jan 13, 2013 5:12 pm

I can't see the problem with stepping off to one side if you aren't moving and indeed maintaining a little situational awareness...
...whatever the road rules, self-preservation is the absolute priority for a cyclist when mixing it with motorised traffic.
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Re: Article: Beware the Lone Wolf in Lycra

Postby Nobody » Sun Jan 13, 2013 5:23 pm

You get a strange attitude from peds that they own the path and just tolerate your presence at best. Similar attitude that you get from cars on the road. If it's so difficult and/or dangerous to share, there are many thousands on kilometres of footpaths in NSW for peds to use theoretically free of cyclists. Too bad I can't say the reciprocal for cyclists. :roll:
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Re: Article: Beware the Lone Wolf in Lycra

Postby grantw » Sun Jan 13, 2013 5:28 pm

I think you will find that that is an opinion piece as opposed to news, and it's only the opinion of Jane Caro, self described "media tart", "gruen chick", "stirrer" and above all else promoter of Jane Caro.
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Re: Article: Beware the Lone Wolf in Lycra

Postby RonK » Sun Jan 13, 2013 5:29 pm

Well it comes as no surprise to see who posted this, and particularly the final comment - don't miss a chance to bag riders who wear lycra.

But I think it would be a fair bet that most forum members ride in lycra at least some (if not most) of the time, and many will find this generalisation tiresome.
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Re: Article: Beware the Lone Wolf in Lycra

Postby human909 » Sun Jan 13, 2013 5:41 pm

RonK wrote:Well it comes as no surprise to see who posted this, and particularly the final comment - don't miss a chance to bag riders who wear lycra.

But I think it would be a fair bet that most forum members ride in lycra at least some (if not most) of the time, and many will find this generalisation tiresome.


I would not be myself if I didn't raise on comment on this.... :wink:

It would be quite naive to think that there isn't some basis for her comments about the differentiation between the Lycra wearers and the non Lycra wearers. I too have noticed significant attitude differences between a typical Lycra wearer and a typical non Lycra wearers. The generalisations while tiresome do ring home as truth to me.

Lycra does not suggest general commuter it suggests hardcore cyclist. Personally I am much more a fan of promoting and encouraging the general commuter cyclist than the hardcore cyclist. :wink:

(But each to their own. I don't care what anybody wears or how they cycle. But do I hope all road/path users are considerate no matter what their conveyance.)

grantw wrote:I think you will find that that is an opinion piece as opposed to news, and it's only the opinion of Jane Caro, self described "media tart", "gruen chick", "stirrer" and above all else promoter of Jane Caro.

But such opinion articles exist because of and entrench negative views towards cycling. It is not socially acceptable to berate many groups these days but cyclists are free game. :roll:
Last edited by human909 on Sun Jan 13, 2013 5:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Article: Beware the Lone Wolf in Lycra

Postby RonK » Sun Jan 13, 2013 5:48 pm

WestcoastPete wrote:Nice writing style. I can understand the issue. A lady in my office knows I'm involved in cycling advocacy and this is her biggest complaint about cyclists. The stories she's told about her walk to work are shocking.

Probably like most of us, I'm a pedestrian as often as I'm a cyclist, and have had plenty of opportunities to observe exactly the kind of behavior reported.
I now avoid shared paths, but before I stopped using them I witnessed two incidents on the Bicentennial Bikeway where idiot cyclists collided with pedestrians - in one I had to assist an elderly lady inexplicably hit from behind (by a female cyclist) until an ambulance arrived.
Oh, and neither of these idiots wore lycra.
If you think this reporting is inaccurate, I suggest you take a walk on a shared path. It won't be long before you are on the receiving end.
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Re: Article: Beware the Lone Wolf in Lycra

Postby Red Rider » Sun Jan 13, 2013 5:56 pm

That was quite amusing, and I understand where they are coming from. It's quite tricky to share the same space when going at very different speeds. There is frustration on both sides, I don't think that's ever going to change. A bit more courtesy from both parties would go a long way.
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Re: Article: Beware the Lone Wolf in Lycra

Postby human909 » Sun Jan 13, 2013 6:01 pm

Red Rider wrote:That was quite amusing, and I understand where they are coming from. It's quite tricky to share the same space when going at very different speeds. There is frustration on both sides, I don't think that's ever going to change. A bit more courtesy from both parties would go a long way.

That is far far too sensible a response and it wont sell enough newspapers! :-)
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Re: Article: Beware the Lone Wolf in Lycra

Postby munga » Sun Jan 13, 2013 6:09 pm

even when riding on a shared path, i am surprised at the speed at which some cyclists will pass a pair (or group) of pedestrians.
perhaps some cyclists assume pedestrians 'keep their line', like a cyclist does.
go to woolies sometime and be convinced otherwise. people walk on shared paths just as they do in supermarkets.
also surprised how many strava segments are on shared paths.
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Re: Article: Beware the Lone Wolf in Lycra

Postby il padrone » Sun Jan 13, 2013 6:20 pm

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Firstly, your 'shared pathway' is way too narrow, significantly less than the Austroads guidelines. Talk to your council about getting it upgraded.

Secondly, the clothing-based discrimination that you seem to be applying is really disturbing. What, you intend to wield an umbrella at any lycra-clad solo cyclist, because..... because..... they may be about to skim close by ?? Maybe I should take that approach with all passing motor vehicles on the roads?
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Re: Article: Beware the Lone Wolf in Lycra

Postby Nobody » Sun Jan 13, 2013 6:29 pm

munga wrote:...also surprised how many strava segments are on shared paths.
Didn't know about this. There should be none IMO.
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Re: Article: Beware the Lone Wolf in Lycra

Postby human909 » Sun Jan 13, 2013 6:38 pm

Nobody wrote:
munga wrote:...also surprised how many strava segments are on shared paths.
Didn't know about this. There should be none IMO.

Another reason why Strava is a problem. It encourages hooning..... But I think that was a discussion in another thread.
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Re: Article: Beware the Lone Wolf in Lycra

Postby bigfriendlyvegan » Sun Jan 13, 2013 6:42 pm

I too think that we should victimise individuals who dress and/or act differently.
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Re: Article: Beware the Lone Wolf in Lycra

Postby Releng » Sun Jan 13, 2013 6:46 pm

I think the opinion sounds fair. Cyclists on a shared pathway are pretty dangerous and annoying for peds. When we are walking with the kids they can sometimes lose focus of which side of the white line they should be on.
I avoid the shared paths on the bike and prefer to take my chances with the cagers on the roads, unless it is worth the risk for a significant short cut.
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Re: Article: Beware the Lone Wolf in Lycra

Postby il padrone » Sun Jan 13, 2013 6:53 pm

Releng wrote:I think the opinion sounds fair.

I have no real problems with the attitude re the actions of renegade cyclists. I deplore such close-passing acts. It is her failure to take responsibility for her own irresponsible actions (standing, kissing the hubbie in the middle of a shared path) and, far worse, her implied incitement to take aggressive action that is appalling. Such off-the-cuff aggressive threats feed through to influence the actions of many members of the public, including the actions of drivers on the roads.

If anyone knows her email address, let me know. I wouldn't mind sending her an illuminating comment.
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Re: Article: Beware the Lone Wolf in Lycra

Postby Milar » Sun Jan 13, 2013 7:04 pm

The article has some obvious issues as noted above but I agree with the general sentiment. I ride on shared paths on my daily commute and I've been appalled by the behaviour of some cyclists on these paths. The majority of cyclists I see don't ring a bell or call out to warn peds (or other cyclists) when passing. I've been passed a few times by cyclists as I slow to negotiate some peds (once by a recumbent easily doing over 40km/h :shock:). If you want to travel at these speeds and there are peds around, use the road!

Summer is worse as the population of both cyclists and peds rises and I often have to go very slow when I meet a bunch which can be frustration but some cyclists I've seen continue as if the other users of the path have less entitlement than they do.

There are also some peds who walk on the right or middle of the path, have dogs off lead or stop for a chat in the middle of the path who aren't showing respect for all the users of the path. Overall I think the cycling community need to, generally, be more respectful on these paths as I fear there will be some draconian regulations introduced that make these paths less attractive.
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Re: Article: Beware the Lone Wolf in Lycra

Postby Sydguy » Sun Jan 13, 2013 7:13 pm

Lately I have noticed more peds walking on the 'wrong' side of paths - and I am convinced that it is done so they can see cyclists approaching.

Shared paths are a recipe for disaster, and I think there are plenty of hits that go unreported. I've seen a few peak hour hits, mostly minor, bikes on peds all were non-cyslists but plain clothed people trying to ride bikes ;)

Having a Strava segment on a shared path is no big deal, it does not mean you have to smash it, but it records your ride and allows you to see how long it takes. You can then evaluate routes and if it is just easier to use PT or drive.

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Re: Article: Beware the Lone Wolf in Lycra

Postby RonK » Sun Jan 13, 2013 7:16 pm

munga wrote:also surprised how many strava segments are on shared paths.

And then there are the commuter cup racers.
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Re: Article: Beware the Lone Wolf in Lycra

Postby Releng » Sun Jan 13, 2013 7:16 pm

il padrone wrote:far worse, her implied incitement to take aggressive action that is appalling. Such off-the-cuff aggressive threats feed through to influence the actions of many members of the public, including the actions of drivers on the roads.


IP, I am not sure that talking about carrying an umbrella at right angles is an overly aggressive threat. I think that the poor ped is trying to make herself more visible as a justified passive method of self protection rather that inciting anyone to take aggressive action. Please think about the physics involved here, and the purpose of the shared path and what would have been considered in the design of the path.
We have a group of walkers moving at probably 4 KPH. Approaching a silent cyclist moving a 50KPH. Through a bend with vision of approaching traffic of 30M. If she notices them as soon as they become visible that gives my 7 year old that has chased her ball onto the right hand side of the path 2 seconds to get out of the way of the approaching lone wolf.

Maybe we could help by slowing down and sharing paths with the peds.

Dare I say that peds on shared paths have the same issues as cyclists on the roads. A faster and heavier type of user bullying their way and causing crashes and fear.
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Re: Article: Beware the Lone Wolf in Lycra

Postby il padrone » Sun Jan 13, 2013 7:21 pm

Releng wrote:IP, I am not sure that talking about carrying an umbrella at right angles is an overly aggressive threat. I think that the poor ped is trying to make herself more visible as a justified passive method of self protection rather that inciting anyone to take aggressive action.

I read it as carrying the (folded) umbrella, sticking out at right angles to spike any passing cyclists. Maybe I'm incorrect, but I doubt it.

Releng wrote:We have a group of walkers moving at probably 4 KPH. Approaching a silent cyclist moving a 50KPH.

This cyclist should be riding on the road. End of story.
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Re: Article: Beware the Lone Wolf in Lycra

Postby booge » Sun Jan 13, 2013 7:50 pm

This stuff really bugs me, i ride, jog and walk my dogs on a shared path for years. I've never had a single issue with another cyclist whatever activity I'm doing at the time on the shared path. If everyone keeps to the left there is very little that is going to go wrong. My biggest issue is with peds and the sense of ownership, walking on the right side of the path, stopping to have a chat right in the middle, walking 3 or 4 abreast, having dogs on extendable leads or walkers with headphones in and can't hear cyclists ringing bells right behind them. I'm the first to say there's rude or stupid cyclists out there, but they're very few and far between from my experience. If the writer is having such problems on the shared path, perhaps a good hard look at herself would be most appropriate.
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Re: Article: Beware the Lone Wolf in Lycra

Postby Lukeyboy » Sun Jan 13, 2013 7:58 pm

Some pedestrians deadset have it coming though by thinking they own the pathway. Its a shared pathway so treat it as if your driving on the road. Keep left. Don't wonder over the pathway. Don't stop on the pathway for a chat. If your going to cut across give a quick look behind. The majority of people that I've had confrontations and swore/flipped off are those that don't do that or think they are high and mighty. Its those same people that walk off the nature stip and onto the road without looking or looking in the process of crossing because they don't hear a car. I scared the crap out of one guy on a shared pathway. He was on the far left jogging. I was on the far right doing a casual 40kph. Nobody else around. Kids are at school. People are at work. Its not long long before 11am. The pathway is a 500m straight line and he decided to do a jogging uturn and go back the way he came while looking and playing with his watch. Problem? It was a 6-7m wide pathway that took one middle aged guy to do a uturn. Funniest incident I've seen was when a walker walked into a bike. Me and about another 6 riders (cycleway congestion :P) caught up to him but couldn't overtake because of oncomming people. First rider sounded his bell and moved to the right to overtake. Second rider followed directly behind the first bike, as did I and fouth rider. Only problem was the fast walker/jogger had now caught up behind someone slowly walking a with a pram and holding her other childs hand. Just as the fourth rider in the congo line was passing him he decided to step directly into his path. Needless to say there was an exchange of words with the rider being in the wrong, the bike rides fault, the bike rider shouldn't be going so fast, cyclists are always going too fast past him, you just ripped my shirt, going thru red lights blah blah blah...

The reason there are so many segments on shared paths are because they aren't created by the fast riders or people wanting to hoon. They are created by those casually riding along it, a funny segment between mates or want to compare point to point for their comutes (instead of private). It just so happens that other people ride that same section faster than they do and over time some fast speeds can pop up. I got a KOM months after one ride because someone created a segment that I had already ridden along before :D
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