Road Clovers

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It may be the fluoridation of the water. Possibly the chem trails. Perhaps it is an assault at the micro-genetic level. Q tip CloverWho can say?

Whatever the source, Cloverism is propagating. They are everywhere.I thought five chapters (see here, here, here, here and here) would cover it. But it seems there are still a few more subsets to document:

* The Defensive Driving Clover –

He is steeped deep in the learned passivity taught by government “defensive driving” schools. If any one thing defines a Clover, it is just that – his passivity. Taking the initiative, acting on his own judgment – those things are as foreign to him as the Grotto at Hef’s mansion must have seemed to Liberace.

A Clover will sit at a red light all night long. He will never tread over the double yellow – even for the 10 yards it takes to pass that Amish hay truck crawling along ahead of him at 8 MPH in a 45.

But most of all, he expects – that everyone else be just as passive – as “defensive” – as he is. When they are not – as when a person waiting at a never-changing red light finally “runs” the light – a CloverMobile will erupt in flashing headlights and honking horns.   herky jerkey clover

* The Herky Jerky Clover –

This Clover stabs the gas – and then the brakes.

Repeat.

Over and over and over again.

Smoothness is a concept foreign to this Clover. His stabby braking – and equally sudden bursts of acceleration – create an accordion effect that wastes gas, burns up clutches and brake pads.

It also wastes time as traffic slows abruptly – then starts up again – for no apparent reason.

Probably, the advent of the automatic transmission is inadvertently responsible for the proliferation of this species of Clover – since it made it possible for people who otherwise wouldn’t be able to drive at all to pretend that they can.

* The “Break Your Car” Clover –

This Clover rails against using more than 50 percent of a car’s performance capability on the theory that to do so constitutes abuse and will result in the car’s premature demise. He therefore buys a car with a 300 hp V6 and drives it as though it had no more than a 150 hp four under its hood.clover lead

Why won’t he just buy a car with a 150 hp four?

Because Clovers are usually egomaniacs who have cars for the same reason people in Henry VIII’s time wore codpieces.

They are both for show only.

* The roundabout stop Clover –roundabout Clover

Someone ought to tell Clover that the whole point of having roundabouts is to get rid of stop signs – and the need to stop.

Clover loves to stop. It’s his next most favorite thing – after slowing down.

Clovers look for reasons to stop. A pedestrian walking on the sidewalk adjacent to the road, for instance. A school bus that has stopped on the other side of a divided highway.

And of course, when entering a roundabout.

* Q Tip Clover –

At first, you’d swear the car ahead is driving itself. It’s the Google car! Except Google probably wouldn’t use a ’95 Oldsmobile with uneven AARP stickers on its paint-peeling bumper as the platform for its driverless car. So, you look again – and see the little puff of white hair just barely higher than the headrest. It’s Q Tip Clover – on his way back from the veterans of the Spanish American War meeting down at the legion hall.

He fought for freedom… and now feels free to make you wait.

* The “Kids First” Clover –kids first pic

Vanity plates are helpful in that they give you fair warning that the driver ahead of you is probably – and in some case, almost certainly is – a Clover.

If you see a “Kids First” plate – or “Clean Special Fuel” – consider yourself on notice.

When the light goes green, Clover won’t go.

Almost always, you won’t be able to see, either. Because these egocentric plates are almost always affixed to a monstrous SUV, bloated minivan or similar Clover conveyance.

* The Motorcycle Clover –

It’s less common for bikers to be Clovers, but there are some – and they tend to ride in groups.

And, Harleys.

These are usually particularly loud and obnoxious (straight pipes) and festooned with patriotic flair. I guess they ride at Cloverific speeds to avoid jostling the stuffed teddy bear riding bitch, or maybe because their under-powered but over-loud “hog” can’t deal with the weight of the hog riding the thing.

 

* The conga line Clover –turn 1

At busy intersections, there are often two turn lanes. But frequently, you’ll find only one of them is being used.

A conga line of Clovers will stretch back from the head Clover at the front of the line to the point at which the two lanes thin to just one – making it all but impossible for you to access the empty turn lane.

Not one of the Clovers ahead notice the empty lane to their left. They just follow the Clover ahead of them who follows the next Clover – and so on.

You’ll encounter this same phenomenon at bank drive-thru windows. Two lanes will be open, with a line of several Clovers waiting in Line 1 – and Line 2 open but inaccessible because of the stacked-up line of Clovers to the left.

* The Emergency Flasher Clover  – rain clover 1

He’s the Clover who can’t handle rain or fog – but instead of pulling off the road until it clears up, turns on his emergency flashers and keeps on going. . . . very, very slowly.

Often, he will straddle the center line of a two-lane highway in order to lead the way and (per the Clover Handbook) prevent anyone else from getting by him.

If you try to ease around him, Clover’s concern for your safety will manifest in the form of horn honking and high beam flashing.

Sometimes, Clover will even speed up – his fear of rain driving apparently having been trumped by his bottomless urge to show you who’s boss.

Sigh… what is to be done?

Ultimately, Cloverism is a function of density. The more people in a given area, the greater the number of Clovers – and the harder it is to get away from (or around) them.

At some point, a critical mass of Cloverism is achieved – and escape becomes impossible. Get by one – and there’s another up ahead. It’s like trying to fend off a herd of Walking Dead with just one mag full of ammo.herd

The only advice I have t offer is to flee.

Get as far away from people as possible and you’ll be fairly free of Clovers.

You’ll still encounter them, of course. But because they are fewer and farther in between, it’s usually no problem to just break left and pass the occasional Clover. Which is very gratifying.

Until, of course, the herd grows… .

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42 COMMENTS

  1. Eric,

    I see no mention of the ‘Pole Position Clover’, in case this breed has not been mentioned before, allow me to elaborate.

    This clover is a believed to be a direct descendant of the ‘The Pacer Clover’ (described here: https://ericpetersautos.com/2013/04/24/clover-taxonomy-iii/)

    The preferred habitat of this clover would be a late model Toyota Prius, but, this clover can also be found in the Nissan Leaf or pretty much any minivan.

    The ‘Pole Position Clover’ differs from ‘The Pacer’ in that the ‘pacer’ instinct does not reveal itself until a red light appears, and there is somewhat faster moving traffic coasting to the light in an empty lane that the ‘Pole Position Clover currently does not occupy. This is when the base instinct of the ‘Pole Position Clover’ will kick in, and then he’ll abruptly swing his car out of the stopped lane he’s currently in and secure his spot to be the front car at the red light in that lane.

    Upon completing this ‘pole position’ maneuver, the clover will than revert to it’s ‘pacer’ ancestry the moment the light turns green, buy matching the acceleration of the car that that heads the lane he was previously in, or worse, actually accelerating a little slower, but, never enough to reveal a hole to the driver who previously had the empty lane in front and was clearly ready to use this accelerator when the light turned green.

    Another variant of the ‘Pole Position Clover’ would be the ‘Right Lane Pole Position Clover’. This variant will be found in locations where right hand turns on red lights are legal. This clover will pull out of his stopped position at the red light to the right hand lane of a multi-lane road and drive right up to the red light and stop. Taking special care to be sure that any one of the myriad cars that unfortunately ended up behind him (all with signal lights indicating a right hand turn) will have to WAIT until the light turns green. Whereby the ‘Right Lane Pole Position Clover’ will then continue on ‘straight’ ahead (and obviously pacing the car to the left).

    Some theorize that this Clover might be the the result of the breeding of the regular ‘Pole Position Clover’ with the ‘The Won’t Move Forward Clover’, because the overall affect of both breeds of Clover is to thwart opportunities for other drivers to make a turn during the current light cycle. However, other researchers believe that the ‘Right Lane Pole Position Clover’ and the regular ‘Pole Position Clover’ are actually the same breed, but are simply just manifesting a slightly different behavior depending on which lane they are given opportunity to pole position.

  2. And, the Harley riders in groups loooove to “Rule the Road”. 2 examples.

    1. A gaggle of them (20 or so) putting up toward the Blue Ridge Parkway on the 2 lane section running 10-15 under come upon a passing zone where the uphill section goes to 2 lanes up for about a half mile. Do they, the Patriot/Love the Police/Military goons, obey the sign, “Slower Traffic Keep Right”? No, they spread themselves intermittently across both lanes. I just considered them moving obstacles, wove my way through, being told I’m number one, all the way until I got passed the last one just as the lanes went back to 1. I felt sorry for those I left behind who had to put up with another 10 miles of their a$$holiness.

    2. About 100 bikers decided to have a “Memorial Ride” for one of their dead brethren. Trouble was, it was impromptu. What to do since you don’t have any “official” escort? You just block traffic at the intersections and run red lights all the way through a town of 60k on the main 4/5 lane U.S. Route. What could go wrong? Well, how bout one of your knuckleheads rear ending a classic 57 Bel Air that, suprisingly, stopped for a red light.

    Some bikers are idiots but, when they gather they create a negative synergy that grows exponentially.

    • Hi Mark,

      I do my best not to group guilt… but sometimes…

      The Harley demographic used to be bikers. Serious guys (like the Angels) who knew how to ride. But something has changed. Harleys – not the real-deal ones from the Old Days but the new $30k dressers – seem to disproportionately attract a very different demographic: Late middle-aged guys with pressed chaps and faux “biker gang” gear (including patches) plus the flags and bears. They seem to be (my observation) terrible riders. Over the double yellow (and into the opposite lane of traffic) in curves (which they misjudge or can’t quite lean/steer through correctly… riding well below the PSL and oblivious to traffic behind them.

      • Two things here Eric:

        1) When you see one of those insipid “Baby on Board” Signs dangling in the rear window, be assured the driver is pure, unadulterated Clover.

        2) Here in the greater Chicago area, we have most definitely reached critical mass. I finally get by one clover only to find another one directly in front of the first. –Sigh–, frustrating in the extreme!

        • Today I encountered another newish Chicago area clover…. Go fast to pass you and then slow you down. I am driving the ’12 today in an area well patrolled by the local PD because… well we were a block from the police station. Anyway I’m doing the PSL and people pass me, including a dufus pointing a minivan. At the next light I am behind him. Guess what? No acceleration. So I use the 412hp and go around him when I get a chance. At the next light he flips me off.

          I have these asshats do it to me when I am on a bicycle. They have a 300hp car while I have a bicycle and they pass me to slow me down.

          • Hi Brent,

            I know those Clovers!

            The other day, I had one such move over to the left lane, then not move (much). So I passed him on the right, then moved back into the left lane, ahead of the Clover. This infuriated him (I guess he saw it as challenge to his status as the lead car). He honked and flashed at me.

            I laughed and sang my Clooooooover song!

      • The NEW hardly bunch of oldsters is the “wild bunch” of the corporate party crew. I’d rather hang with the golfers, there’s some cobby old boys in that bunch and anything might happen including wild women and the occasional fisticuffs but the Hardly crew is a sober bunch of weenie wannabe’s. The entire thing is “image”.

        Young guys tear around me, some doing the Mexican carry thing with the leg up shirt tail up and .45 showing but the old ones are a hazard. I’ve had to follow them off an exit and stand on the brakes since they get so slow before they even hit the exit.

    • Then on the other end are the sport bike types who will shut down a road to do their stunts and other nonsense. And road here often means expressway. They also alternate between very slow and very fast when they are moving in traffic.

      There’s one thing both groups have in common. They have to pass me between lights then once the red turns green I have to sit and wait for them to do the rituals to get their feet off the ground, their bike in gear, and for them to shove off and get moving again. I could have been a 1/4 mile away or more by the time they get through the whole procedure.

      • I’ve rarely had a problem with the sport bikers. At least the ones I encounter running the mountains of western NC. I’ll gladly give them a wide berth and pull to the side if needed. I don’t like being held up when I’m on a run on 226A or 181 and I try to extend the same courtesy to others.

        However, you should have seen the Clover flip out when I passed him on the right in a designated pull off area he refused to use.

        • One thing you can take to the bank, when a clover is blocking you, they’re doing it on purpose. I don’t need to make them see the grasshopper guts on the Peterbilt logo, I can do it in any size rig. Get right on their ass, close enough if they brake check you there’ll be just one vehicle forged together. I turn on my brights, night or day when that’s all they can see in their mirrors and let them know I ain’t playin. They really aren’t that stupid and I’ve proved it to them countless times. They WILL move over if you get close enough and stay there. Oh, they might cuss you or give you dirty looks when you pass but they will move over. Don’t do this with granny, she ain’t playin with a full deck.

  3. Different species of Clover down here in Ecuador. Though truly, there aren’t many of them. Most drivers here are hyper alert, and are at least moderately aggressive drivers. You have to be. Frankly, I like the drivers here. Get to where you are going as fast as possible. Lane markers, speed limits and driving laws are merely suggestions. In 5 years I have yet to see anyone get pulled over for speeding, or be bothered for dead tail lights (or missing bumpers, mufflers, or even the whole bed of their pickup truck). But they are extremely serious about parking tickets in the cities. I think it’s their way of running a ‘publicly tolerable’ scheme of revenue enhancement.

  4. Your point about density is spot on…I was wondering why speed limits of 70 mph worked just fine on highways in the days of Chevy Bel Airs and Ford Fairlanes with horse-cart springs, solid rear axles, over boosted steering, skinny visa ply tires and manual drum brakes…it occurred to me that they were a lot less crowded.

  5. I do take the on-line Defensive Driving course every three years to keep my insurance rates down a bit. This is less galling than having the spy hardware installed, which I refuse to do. Much of what they monitor would cost me because I believe that acceleration is sometime a good thing! They don’t. And I will top 80 sometimes when cruising or frequently while passing. They don’t like that. But, dammit, I have to admit that once in a while something on the video is actually a good idea. Worth eating humble-pie by conforming to the corporate safety folks for the discount. At least until they enforce the spy-ware.

    About roundabouts. I can never get used to that. Where I grew up they were called “Traffic Circles”. Lost my license in one at 17 because I (gulp) passed a car in one. I thought that was why they were there. Funny how it was as we were leaving the first-and-only meeting of a “Hot Rod Club” a local guy was helping us form, and three SSNJ State Troopers just happened to be in the area. But I digress.

    There is a classic example of how government creates Stop-Before-Entering types in Huntsville, Alabama. An intersection was “converted” into a roundabout when some traffic lanes were added. It is roughly 100 feet in diameter and is a single lane. The throughput cannot handle the input. When rush-hour traffic is busy on the three 4-lanes, one must consider the car disposable to enter in anything but the current feeder lanes which have taken possession. Frankly, if you do try to “merge”, the conga line already in there will come to a full stop in panic. It really worked better in the past as a 4-way stop because at least then people took turns. It probably would have worked even better if there was no control at all.

    Take a gape at it at 34 45 27N, 086 41 16W.

    But highway engineering has fallen by the wayside anyway. Who ever thought it was a good idea that traffic entering a limited access highway should come on 50 yards before the exiting traffic leaves?

  6. We were on the Harley with two other bikes on a four lane highway. Our leader chose to cruise in the left lane. My husband was getting all pissed off because people were flying around us on the right. I’m like “Hello … you all are in the fast lane.” Then I started thinking about clovers and told him to get his ass over in the right lane or we’d get run over and we’d deserve it. I’m trying to do my part anyway. There are nice people on the road too. I drive another four lane highway that the state revenuers just love for some reason. Without fail, the oncoming drivers will double flash their lights to warn us and there he will be, lurking in the median around a blind curve waiting to relieve us of some cash and ruin what’s usually a pleasant drive. I love that people do that. It restores my faith in humanity.

  7. “* The Emergency Flasher Clover – rain clover”

    I sort of resemble that remark.

    But I would use the shoulder when it was snowing to the point of barely being able to see the hood ornament.

    Speaking of hood ornaments, what was the last car to sport one of those?

  8. Congaliners in my vernacular are those who keep going through an intersection (usually left turns) after the signal has expired.

    There’s a new breed for 2016. They have officially multiplied enough to be a new breed now. I saw four in the last hour and half. Those who drive in traffic with their high beams on.

    Roundabouts… I’ve seen them where they’ve been ruined with stop signs and even stop lights.

    break your car clover…. Another variety buys an SUV then slows to 2.5mph to go over rail road tracks I can take in my lowered Mustang with barely lifting the throttle.

  9. Eric,

    The cloverian headlight flash and horn honking you brought up reminded me of an episode a couple of weeks ago. I pulled up on a clover in a 90’s era Accord. She was in the left lane driving about 5 under. When I got close to her she slammed on her brakes and turned her flashers on. When the right lane cleared, I passed her. When I got around she immediately flashed her headlights, honked her horn and gave me the bird.

    I blows my mind how ignorant and thoughtless people are. Never once did she attempt to move into the right lane. She continued behind me in the left lane for another mile, until I had to turn, forcing everyone to drive her speed or pass on the right side.

    • I’m not one to advocate violence, but anybody who pulls a dumbass stunt like that woman did deserves a coma-inducing ass beating, as well as having their license permanently revoked.

  10. What is it with Harley riders? They got the “look”, they got the “sound”, but they seem to be, mostly, a bunch of old guys who shouldn’t even be on a motorcycle. Not that a Harley is a motorcycle, it’s a “Harley”. Different thing I’m told. I ride, a scooter, as my daily driver. It’s a big scoot, 650cc, and it goes fast and handles well. When a Harley sees me, they pretend I don’t exist. I wave, they look the other way. Some are more cloverish than my long dead grandmother. They don’t ride, they pose. Sorry for the rant.

    • No man, you’re right. Guys lots younger than me fat as ticks, no muscle but plenty whiskers stop and take a smoke break while one of ’em whiff’s off his O2 bottle and they all call their wives(ease up close to a pack of em and hear em pussy out on the phone). They can’t pass a slow skunk or a bbq joint and shiver when a black and white gets near. If he stopped one they’d all stop and line up to give him a bj. We’re so sorry, we didn’t see the light was green till it was red.

      What kills me is they can’t go anywhere without there being enough of them for a presidential funeral procession…..and of course, they might need one if it’s very far from the house.

      I know several old guys like me and older who ride Jap bikes and you can tell they’re bikes are “transportation” since it’s hard to put 80,000 miles on one and keep it looking like it just came off the Hardley Ableson showroom floor. Even their clothes show wear, not new, shiny vests and jackets and chain wallets with no sign of wear. A couple friends rode to Canada on their Gold Wings with another guy who’d just bought a new Harley. They had to stop every 200 miles and use some belt lube and try to push the drive belt back to where it was supposed to be running. He’d had it in the shop for this, brand new, and they didn’t do anything to it. He’ll buy another one when this one finally drives him crazy. They got tired of babysittin that fuckin Harley when they were using their radar detectors and cookin on those “rice burners” as the Hardly crew calls em. Well, get the water boiling boys cause I’m ready to get some rice cookin and blow the fart crew into the weeds………..putt putt

  11. It is so common to see these dickless asswipes get pissed off about being passed. They picked the motorcycle that rides and handles like a dump truck, but everyone else is an asshole, apparently. I recently picked up a second-hand ’82 Honda CM250 to train my daughter to ride. For the purchase price of $750.00, it shames most any HD Rider it frequently passes. It is ironic that all I have to do is go out and enjoy a fun, affordable bike ride, and in the process I end up humiliating a bunch of losers with all their money, and, apparently, no self esteem. Funny how all the money they spend looking cool never does any good for their personal insecurities. I always found that riding any motorcycle bolstered my self-confidence, and made any feelings of insecurity vanish. It was easily a prescription-free (commitment free) way to get a natural rush and just celebrate being alive. I had my first ride at age 4 1/2 or 5 and was hooked, and I still the own and ride the very bike that seduced me. Nowadays it hard to find those long-ago inspirations, and I’m just thankful to get back home in one piece!

    • I ride my baby green Honda C70 the time, and frankly I couldn’t give a damn if Harley riders give me crap. If all their self esteem is tied up in their bike, I genuinely feel sorry for them. It’s all about enjoyable commuting, and my little Honda makes me smile, and quite frankly it makes most people I encounter smile as well. Nothing I own starts more conversations than my C70.

  12. Hi Eric,

    Two more for you.

    The crawl up to a light clover. I live on a side street that intersects a 2 lane (each direction) major street. To my left is a major intersection, to my right is a stop light. Nearly everyday I will be blocked from crossing, or turning left because a clover will slow down way before the light. He should pass my intersection in a few seconds, behind him is a huge gap. But, he slows way down, blocking my ability to cross and allowing the cars behind him to close the gap. “Our” clover has actually bragged about this “sensible” way of approaching a light.

    The block the side street clover. This one is similar to the above and often the same person. He will crawl up to the line waiting for the light to change. The driver in the far lane has often stopped, making it possible for side traffic to pull through. But, clover is clueless and stops right in front of the side street.

    Clovers manage to combine self righteous indignation (when they feel put upon) with a complete lack of consideration for others.

    Jeremy

    • My favorite nitwit is the Harley Walker. This, of course, seems to include 95% of them. When coming to a light, or stop sign, the Harley Walker literally walks his bike, with clutch half-engaged, a full car-length up to the line. When pulling away he will also start with a car-length walk. Now, granted, the ape hangers and the foot pegs on his bike do make balancing a challenge, but why in God’s name do these guys want to ride down the road with their legs up in the birthing position?
      I can tell you from experience, it makes a poor handling machine that much more uncontrollable. However, these goons do make for a lot of amusement.
      At a light they look like a 5-year olds on tricycles, and pulling off from the light sound like a bunch of 5th graders having a farting contest. It really is embarrassing to be anywhere near one when I’m on 2 wheels.

    • To expand on your first one Jeremy, there’s the “let’s put a football field between me and the car in front of me while I sit at this red light” clover. You know the ones. They’ll stop 2 car lengths behind the car in front of them. For safety of course. So I get right up on their ass. This galls them. So they move forward a little bit more. They’re still light years away from the car in front of them so I get right up on their ass again. Now they’re really getting heated. This continues until they’ve finally got within a reasonable distance of the car in front of them or the light turns.

      Maybe I’m wrong, but I see it as taking liberty with peoples time and hogging the road by putting major real estate between your car and the one in front of you. There’s no reason for it. Plus it’ll plug up lanes or a lot times what ends up happening is someone misses the green light all because some idiot was oblivious and discourteous to his fellow driver by taking up too much real estate. Which brings me to another clover. I think Eric has already touched on it but I refer to the “lets accelerate through the green light as slowly as possible” clover….

      Now, if one is riding a motorcycle it’s different. You’ll obviously want to leave yourself an escape route in case some dumbass looks like he’s going to rear end you.

    • I think a lot of the behavior at stop lights is because of the automatic transmission. If creeping along requires a driver to feather the clutch it just won’t happen (heavy trucks being an exception because they have gears that are made for crawling). Just coast to a stop and be done with it. It might also have something to do with hypermiling or trying to save break pads or some unknown. If I just stop at a stop light I’ll often end up with several car lengths of open space in front of me because of the cars in front creeping up instead of just stopping. And of course once the light turns green we see the opposite: Because there’s no gap between vehicles the guy behind has to wait until the front vehicle starts to move, wait a little time for a gap, then start moving. If there’s a decent gap already they can just move. I was taught that you should always see the bottom of the tires of the vehicle in front of you. I figure that’s a minimum, and if you have a very long hood.

  13. A few weeks ago I was riding the bicycle on old route 6 outside Rifle. An old first generation Prius passed me a little too close for comfort, very slowly. After getting past he watched me in his rear view mirror, so I stretched out my arms to indicate I didn’t like him endangering my life and that he should keep more space (not to get too law-and-orderly, but in Colorado the law is that you can pass a cyclist on a double yellow and at a minimum of 3 feet. The other part of that is bicycles should keep to the right side of the lane, something most bikers forget/ignore). He then flips me off, so I return the bird. He then pulls over and waits for me to catch up. Turns out the guy is in his late 60s or so, and he starts screaming at me that I’m “on the wrong side of the road” and I “can’t see cars behind me so I should be over on the other side.” I tell him to fuck off and mind his own business and ride off. But he won’t let it go and continues to tell me how to ride. I tell him I have his license plate number and a cell phone, and if he keeps it up I will call the police (I won’t, but he doesn’t know that). He then drives off.

    The guy’s age is what threw me for a loop. The few times I’ve been harassed it’s been high-school age dickhead kids, and they usually just yell a few insults and drive off. This idiot really thought he was 100% correct, even if he injured or killed me. I’m sure if I would have been killed he would go to his grave “knowing” he was right.

    And for the record, I ride with a rearview mirror, usually on the white line, and my hearing is still good enough that I can hear vehicles behind me, even shitbox first generation Priuses. Some people think the double yellow line is a forcefield or something. It’s just paint, folks.

    • Old men followed by old ladies are by far the worst when I am bicycling. They will use their cars to enforce their personal rules of the road and have absolutely no concern about brush passing, right hooking etc. Sure there are bad examples through out but by me the old people are the worst. And it’s never been senility old, but deliberate actions.

      • Bicyclists can also be real dickheads. This is especially the case when they’re in packs, they’ll sometimes spread out over the entire road making normal motorized travel almost impossible.

        When that happens I won’t do anything to physically endanger them but since I drive a hulking old V8 car with a carb and no emission controls, when it’s finally safe to pass them with a wide berth I’ll really nail it — maybe even pull out the manual choke a bit. This along with a bit of oil burning gives their sensitive elitist noses and ears a nice dose of hydrocarbon exhaust and V8 roar out of my dual exhaust. (A lot of those guys tend to be environazis and it really galls them, I see them waving their fists and fingers in the rear view mirror in the cloud of exhaust.)

        As far as the road clovers, it’s possible they’re on the rise but really they’ve been around forever. We used to refer to them as “road hogs.”

        • Agree, I’ve met some VERY militant cyclists (search for Critical Mass) over the years. They’re quick to point out that in a bike-car accident the bike always looses. What they don’t point out is that most of the time if they’d just ride a block away from the busy road they’d have no traffic or cars at all, most cities have been building out bike paths for decades and situational awareness works both ways.

          And just because someone gets on a different vehicle doesn’t mean they suddenly lose their cloverism.

          • Hi Eric,

            Most of my friends in the bike community call those folks “critical massholes”.

            Yes, there are definitely some clover style bike riders (self-righteous and inconsiderate) however, most of the ire directed at bicyclists is because the drivers get annoyed when they see a bike do things that they can’t to circumvent traffic. I never block a lane or impede the flow of traffic. But, I routinely break the law. If safe, I will ignore stop lights and stop signs. I’ll ride around either side of stopped cars, cross intersections by weaving through a line of stopped cars (who are all actually breaking the law because they have blocked the side street), dart on and off sidewalks to avoid congestion, etc…

            Note, that none of this behavior inconveniences a driver in any way. I am hyper aware when I ride. I never listen to music, use the phone, etc… because most drivers are clueless and some will actually try to hurt you for the crime of passing them. Clovers get annoyed when a car passes them, some get apoplectic when a bike passes them. I suggest that the surest test for determining whether one has completely expunged their inner clover is how one reacts to the sight of a bicyclist who rides like Eric drives (fast, assertive, conditional observance of traffic “laws” and awareness of others). If, upon seeing a cyclist “beating traffic”, you smile and think “good for him”, you have truly killed your inner clover.

            Jeremy

            • Jeremy, I was really into bicycles in my 20’s. Eventually I couldn’t wait to get out of a truck and on my bike. Back in college days some of us rode together and we’d do the rush hour thing, split-laning it and staying with 45 mph traffic, our big sprint for the day. We got lots of thumbs up and lots of a-holes who couldn’t stand for us to pass them. Being a college town, it was probably better than many other places. I had to give up bike riding in the 80’s oil boom. idiots in cars and pickups didn’t care if they ran right up on you doing 100mph and barely miss you. I switched to racing carts and they thought running up on me while I was doing 80 with their front bumper nearly on my helmet was great fun. I should have ridden with my AR mounted backward.

              • Hi Eight,

                First, I agree with Eric, I’m really enjoying the narrative vignettes you’ve been posting.

                Most drivers simple can’t believe how fast, under certain circumstances, a bicycle can go. My personal record is 63 mph approaching Madrid, NM from the ABQ side on Hwy 14. I had no idea I was going that fast until I checked the max speed function on the computer. Just as poorly skilled drivers simply can’t accept that other, better drivers can drive faster and more safely than them, most drivers freak out when they see a cyclist going fast.

                Jeremy

                • Thanks Jeremy. I used to run(and lived close to it) US 180 a lot back during the 70’s. I-20 that parallels it wasn’t the place to ride a bike, still isn’t….even moreso.

                  A great many people, of the same age as myself used that highway for coast to coast cycling. I’ve stopped and invited them to lay over at my house. I’ve stopped and strapped their bike to my trailer and given them rides in bad weather. Those were great times. People who are of the same mind as yourself with the same interests and passions doing what I wished I could do. It’s a bit hard to pay for a big rig and take time to run coast to coast. Those who did were always fascinating. They had a lot of guts and faith in others, rarely misplaced back then. It takes a special person to go all day every day with minimum clothes and protection much less food and drink. We didn’t have the water-bottle holders and such back then so for most of those people they had to make it from town to town without sustenance.

                  People don’t realize how far some people can go in a day either. I had a friend hard into racing. He left Dallas one morning and caught a ride for 40 miles or so leaving him only another 240 or so to our house. He got there late afternoon in the heat, pouring sweat like he was a sprinkler. He stood in the yard while we kept a spray of water going on him and glasses of iced tea. It took him half an hour to quit sweating like crazy and another half hour to finally cool down completely. We had a great meal and conversation along with old Grinmore. He continued on to Lubbock, another 135 miles the next day, called in just a few hours to let us know he’d made it.

                  • Hi Eight,

                    Years ago I planned and began a cross country bicycle tour with my then girlfriend, now wife. I set up racks, panniers and skinny road tires on our very nice mountain bikes. I kept full size, folding dirt tires in the panniers because we planned to stop at certain places, camp for a few days, and explore dirt roads and trails. We set off from Santa Fe on route to Crested Butte. We averaged about 60 miles a day, which was pretty easy. Our first 2 night stop was in Creede, where I put the dirt tires on and we explored trails in the area. Next came Slumgullion pass, the first truly strenuous climb, but one rewarded with an exhilarating descent into Lake City. Another 2 night stop, donned the MTB tires and rode to the top of Engineer pass.

                    Our next extended stop was in Crested Butte. We planned to stay here for at least a week, as the trail network is arguably the best in the country. We found a beautiful spot about 8 miles up the Slate River road and set up camp. Met one of the local shop owners the next day and prepared for a week of epic MTB rides. We did Pearl pass to Aspen, spent a day there and returned via East Maroon pass but got hopelessly lost. Fourteen hours, over seventy miles and at least 10,000 feet of elevation change later we finally found the road heading back to Crested Butte.

                    After a great week, I was riding around town before heading back to camp. Suddenly, the owner of the local bike shop ran out of his house and yelled, “Hey you, with the GT, do you want to work for me this summer?” Thus began the best summer of my life. We lived in a tent, about 8 miles from town. I worked 3 days a week, Sarah not at all. Over the next three months we explored all of the trails in the area, by bike and hike. We rode a minimum of 20 miles a day, cooked ridiculously good gourmet meals every night and made friends with others in the loose tent community that developed. Man, that was a great summer.

                    BTW, the most considerate drivers I’ve ever encountered was when touring the Hill Country in Texas.

                    Cheers,
                    Jeremy

                    • Jeremy, what a great adventure. I always wished I’d had someway to record everything I was seeing, hearing, etc. and still do.

                      It would be great to have a mind recorder and a Holodeck to relieve it.

                      The hill country is high populated by retirees and the roads aren’t conducive to fast driving for the most part and cyclists are replete there. I don’t enjoy driving there because of the number of cyclists, afraid I’ll run over someone. It’s no criticism though since we lived near Cedar Park in the 70’s for a while. That was a fun time although most of what we “rode” had a big block of some sort.

                      When the patch was booming I’d see people haul their bikes out from places like Big Spring and ride those ranch roads. It would be a fine idea if the oil field traffic hadn’t been solid and fast. Those roads are narrow, rough, curvy and have 70mph speed limits and some with 75mph limits. I was hauling a dozer one day headed south on one of those roads and noted an SUV sitting at the interstate so I wasn’t surprised to come up on two cyclists but for some reason they were and I had to go into the oncoming lane to pass them. I was just thinking about how bad a road they had picked a couple miles on when I came over a hill and met a huge Pete dragging a 8 or 10 axle lowboy hauling the substructure for a drilling rig. We barely had room to clear each other using the barditch to the fence lines. He was about to crest a hill and be going downhill. I thought about the cyclist. I delivered the dozer and came back, relieved to find no squashed cyclists. The substructure was wider than the entire road, much wider.

        • Yep. Here in southeastern Arizona, cyclists interpret “share the road” signs aimed at motorists as reading “cyclists rule the road.”

          Now I have nothing against cyclists (I are one occasionally myself), but what used to be known as “common” sense tells you that when bicycling as a group, you do NOT ride four abreast in the middle of your lane on a two-lane country highway with no shoulders, especially when said highway is usually heavily traveled/congested by vehicular traffic. “Common” sense also tells you that it’s probably not a wise idea to bike on such a road at all. But since cyclists in these parts are protected minorities in the same class as blacks, gays, trannies, women, and illegal aliens, there is no sanction for irresponsible behavior (other than being rendered a mangled organ donor through the consequences of your own arrogant carelessness).

          • Hi Lib,

            I sometimes get grief from other cyclists because I will point out an obvious truth like, “while you may have the right to use the entire lane, it is stupid and inconsiderate to do so.” Still, I stick to my original observation that most of the ire is directed not at cyclists who impede traffic, but to those who circumvent it. Maybe it’s different elsewhere but many drivers just can’t stand to see a bicyclist “cheating” the traffic rules.

            Jeremy

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