Etiquette / Non- Consensual Integration

As spring makes an appearance and  The Cycle Tour aka “Argus” entry date comes around we see our roads swell with cyclists. Here a story from a while ago. resurrected from “unpublished”
We were riding out on the “red road”, north out of town. The tail wind meant only one thing for the way home. As soon as we turned in the pre dawn black I had the wind on the nose. No problem, keep the pace steady and make sure M can stay in my slip. This will mean that we get back in good time and both have a good ride.
It does not take long until we creep up to and pass a guy on a mountain bike. I slide past and greet him but then it happens: He tucks in behind me and leaves no space for M. She is forced to swerve and drop back. I slow waiting for “the natural order” to be restored. It takes a couple of minutes and then things go on as they were. I have absolutely no issue with mtb dude sitting in our draft but please take up the last position.

How to survive the Pick and Pay Argus cycle Tour 2014:

Entries for next year’s Argus have sold out in a record 6 days! The only way you can still get a place on the start line now is to get a charity entry. Assuming that you have raised enough Randelas for dying pandas in Mexico you can now turn your attention to how to get ready for 9 March 2014!

Every year I see the same thing come spring when winter bodies are forced into summer lycra. Everybody heads out on their steads. A few things should be remembered in order to ensure that you have the best chance of success on the day. I say chance because unless you follow these simple pointers you are wasting your money on the latest Tour de France training techniques and Lance Armstrong drug cocktail.

Most importantly is that you get to race day in one piece. This is what I will concentrate on for this blogpost.

1) Make sure you choose the safest routes when out on your bike!

No riding on highways of any kind. That means any road that has a blue road sign is strictly off limits despite the fact that they may be part of the race route. So no riding on hospital bend and the Blue Route M3 highway. It is not pretty when a car traveling at 100km/h collides with a bicycle.

2) Ride safe. Be aware of your surroundings, be aware of other road users. That means never go through a red traffic light. Not because it is convenient or the right thing to do. How can you expect motorists to respect you as a co road user when you weave in and out of cars? Think of it from there point of view. “There goes that cyclist again and now I need to pass him AGAIN inconveniencing myself” this makes motorists angry.

Ride single file. Simple. Yes obviously there are occasions when riding two abreast is perfectly safe but you better acknowledge motorists so that they can see that you intend to get out of the way.

3) Make yourself visible. Red light at the back and flashing white light at the front really draw attention.

Don’t assume that motorists have seen you. Malcolm Gladwell writes about this in Blink.

Greet and acknowledge other road users. A simple thankful wave when a car waits patiently behind you to pass goes a long way. Think of it as reinforcing positive behaviour.