Spandex Harleys

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There’s a classic episode of the TV cartoon series South Park lampooning Harley riders. Not bikers, the young guys who used to ride Harleys. The new demographic – which consists of old guys who pose as bikers.

These ersatz Hells Angels are recreational riders, generally in their 50s and 60s, prefer pressed leathers, favor LED Christmas light trim and teddy bears over the pickelhaube and Iron Cross.

You will find them swinging wide in the curves and going slow on the straights – often in groups that congeal traffic like General Tso’s chicken does your arteries.

All the while making lots of noise – to call attention to themselves by annoying others.

This apparently being the main purpose of the activity, as the noise made  by these bikes is unrelated to performance or speed.

There are also the Spandex Harleys – bicyclists who exhibit many of the same obnoxious behaviors, such as riding in packs at speeds grossly below both the speed limit and the flow of traffic without (key thing) yielding to it.

The militant ones even have a slogan: Share the road!

But their intention seems to be: Take over the road!

Including roads that are awkward for bicycles and cars to use at the same time – regardless of technical legalities.

Busy roads, with lanes that are too narrow for two vehicles to occupy the same space at the same time – and where there’s not enough shoulder for the cyclist to easily/safely pull off, in order to allow a faster-moving car to get by without having to partially cross over the double yellow (illegal as well as unsafe, if there is oncoming traffic) or risk getting too close to the cyclist (also illegal in many states) and possibly hitting him.

Roads with blind curves and steep inclines and travel speeds grossly disproportionate to the speed a non-motorized vehicle is capable of attaining or maintaining.

The argument here isn’t about legalities. It’s about common sensibilities. If a person wants to scuba dive in shark infested waters, he ought to be free to make that choice, too. But he should also keep in mind he’s in the shark’s world – and ought not to expect the shark to make accommodations.

Interestingly, a car driver may legally pass a cyclist  – unlike a motorcyclist – which makes no sense when you think about it because  both take up approximately the same space, each being about the same width as the person riding them.

Arguably, it would be safer to pass the slowpoke motorcycle – because it’s more stable. A bike  is powered by an engine while a bicycle is powered by one leg and then another pumping up and then down – the bicycle tending to sway left-right with each alternating pump.

Bicycles are also much more susceptible to being pushed into the path of a passing car by wind than bikes – because they’re much lighter.

Passing a bicycle on a narrow road is one of those damned if you do and damned if you don’t deals. To do it legally,many states require that you maintain three feet of space between your car and the bicycle – but that’s often not realistic because the road is too narrow – or because the cyclist isn’t giving you enough room to do it. 

Your other option is to safely pass by moving left to make the room – but that forces you to cross over the double yellow and if a cop sees you do it, you’re up for a piece of payin’ paper, no matter that what you did was the safe thing to do.

Unless, of course, there was traffic coming in the opposite lane.

If so, you probably had to give up trying to pass and now find yourself stuck behind a Spandex Harley chuffing along at 16 in a 45 – possibly for several painfully slow miles.

He knows you’re back there – but he won’t pull off to let you get by. Maybe he can’t – because there’s no shoulder. Which ought to be clue enough to prompt the cyclist to avoid riding on such a road, out of common courtesy.

Unfortunately, courtesy is much less common today – and to be equitable it’s not just the Spandex Harleys who are guilty, either.

Similarly boorish behavior is exhibited by the drivers of overtaxed RVs, whose gimpy rigs can’t maintain speed on a 9 percent grade but who won’t use cut-outs provided to give them a convenient/easy place to pull off – no matter how long the line of cars stacked up behind them is.

The left lane Clovers who won’t move right – or speed up.

And who then speed up when another driver attempts to get around them.

People who can’t park straight – and take up two spots in a busy parking lot. Or snug their passenger side up close to your driver’s side door – so that you can only get in your car via the passenger side door.

The Harley Fags (per South Park) who run straight pipes just to be obnoxious.

But the Spandex Legions are a new kind of toothache. A kind of SA in skin-tight neon-colored bodysuits – whose recreation is also often political. Many are vehemently, openly anti-car and use their bikes to make their point via organized mass rides purposely designed to assert control over the roads and to inconvenience car drivers.

Their belligerence is as luminous as their spandex – and as unpleasant as the bulging codpieces they favor.

They insist on using any road a car uses – regardless of the practical and common courtesy problems which this creates – and the cars just better accept it. Yielding  seems to them a kind of loss of face – and many adamantly refuse to do so. 

And that’s the cavity which is the source of this toothache. Not the Spandex and codpieces.

Not the bicycling, either.

Laws or not, there would be no problems if slow-moving traffic (mechanically or biologically powered) did its best to avoid inconveniencing other travelers.

Axiom:

If you can’t keep up, then move over.

And if you won’t do that, then you’re a Fag – in the South Park sense.

. . .

Got a question about cars – or anything else? Click on the “ask Eric” link and send ’em in!

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243 COMMENTS

  1. For a site that endorses liberty and freedom, this thread really shows how fickle they are when it comes to something they don’t like.

    Forget the law, forget mutual respect, how dare you inconvinience a motorist in any way. SMH.

    • The point that cyclists never want to concede is that the roads were paved and have been expanded to where they are today in response to the rise of the automobile, period.

      The roads are for motor vehicles, and that is the undeniable truth. Cyclists who insist that their rights will protect them and that they have as much right to ride on narrow, curvy rural 55 mph posted roads and even truck routes are prime examples of what eric has termed the”clover” mindset.

      A “clover” is a self absorbed asshole who obstructs traffic, creates hazards for others using the roads and maintains a insufferable attitude about his selfish behavior.

      This thread just illustrates that there are “clovers” riding bicycles.

      • Return the roads to a single track of dirt. I’ll still be able to bike them. Bicyclists don’t need the roads big and paved.

        If you can’t manage to pass a vehicular bicyclist safely on a two lane road such that it has approximately zero impact you shouldn’t be behind the wheel.

        I do not have the problems you do passing bicyclists. I simply pass them and go on with life. I could be minutes, miles, before I get past a “clover”.

        • I didn’t say shit about having problems passing your slowpoking ass. As usual, you drag up shit you wish I had said so that you can sharpen the point on your head. Face it, dude, you’re a clover obstructing traffic. I doubt you even own a car.

      • Hi Ed,

        I manage to ride my bike on the streets without obstructing traffic. Do you think that any use of a bicycle on the streets is necessarily clover behavior?

        Jeremy

        • People like Ed and Chuck are offended that a bicyclist is merely there. I encounter similar people on the road and I am sure you have as well. People who pass by me with no effort doing 10+ over the PSL but still have to yell at me, throw objects, whatever. Or brush pass me for the sake of doing so even though I end up right behind them until they reach their destination. Why? because I was on the road.

          • Hey Brent,

            That is certainly my experience. The “obstruction” I supposedly create exists in the imagination of others, not in reality.

            Cheers,
            Jeremy

            • Hi Jeremy,

              I have been thinking this business over – specifically, the reason for the animosity of many drivers toward cyclists. I think I can explain some of the reason for it – and it may be legitimate:

              Failure to yield.

              It occurs to me that other slower-moving vehicles (and pedestrians) are expected (reasonably, I think) to defer – move off onto the shoulder and so on – to let faster-moving vehicles pass. It’s when they don’t yield that drivers of faster-moving vehicles get annoyed.

              Now add in that we’re talking about (for the most part) obviously recreational cycling; as opposed to slow-moving work vehicles, tractors and so on. Put another way, people understand that a backhoe is on the road because it has to be there – and so people are more tolerant. Plus, the backhoe will usually pull off when it can – and usually doesn’t stay on the road for very long.

              Thoughts?

              PS: I understand and appreciate the arguments made about there being room enough on most roads to pass cyclists, if the driver is competent. This also presumes the cyclist is competent – and hews right without weaving left/right (many do, at least in my experience). And of course, when there is a pack of riders and they refuse to ride single file (this happens, too) then the competence of the driver is no longer the issue.

              Broad-brush, cyclists get a bad rap because of some of them are assholes, just as some sport bike riders and Harley riders are. It’s a shame, but it is a reality. If the minority of assholes (all varieties) could be kept in check, we wouldn’t have to debate all of this!

              • Hi Eric,

                Thanks for responding. As I said earlier, I appreciate your comments because I know that they come from a desire to figure out how “we”, who may have disparate interests, can behave so that freedom and autonomy are respected without invoking the “need” for coercive authority.

                So to your specific points:

                – Failure to yield: When possible, which is most of the time, most bicyclists do yield. In rare circumstances it may be necessary to “assert the lane” because of a pothole, grate, etc… But I, at least, never swerve into the lane without being aware of my surroundings, if necessary I will come to a complete stop because I don’t want to be hit by a car.

                “It occurs to me that other slower-moving vehicles (and pedestrians) are expected (reasonably, I think) to defer – move off onto the shoulder and so on – to let faster-moving vehicles pass.”

                Yes, but as you tirelessly point out, most slower moving cars do not do this, even when they have the opportunity to do so. This behavior may hinder you for miles (which you have documented). But, a cyclist is unlikely to hinder you for very long.

                – Recreational cycling:

                This has some visceral appeal but we, as libertarians, should react in horror at any argument against non violent activity based in “need”. “Why do you need to do that?” is the mantra of authoritarians and can justify any violation of our freedom.

                – Asshole cyclists:

                It is true that some cyclists are assholes and will intentionally obstruct traffic. In my experience, they are very rare. Brent, Nunzio and myself have been clear that we despise these people. But, nobody here considers that “asshole drivers” create an excuse for a blanket condemnation of drivers in general.

                In sum, as a cyclist and a driver, I consider it my responsibility to be aware of other people on the road and behave accordingly.

                Cheers,
                Jeremy

                • Thanks, Jeremy!

                  I think you nicely sum up this dilemma, as follows:

                  “…as a cyclist and a driver, I consider it my responsibility to be aware of other people on the road and behave accordingly.”

                  Amen.

    • Hi Anonymous,

      I’ve wrestled with this one for a long time and haven’t come up with a clearcut answer. I personally would not ride a bicycle for pleasure/exercise on – as an example – Rt 221 in my neck of the woods. It is a 55 MPH narrow country road, with often nonexistent shoulders.

      It strikes me as dangerous to myself and a hazard/inconvenience to others because of the bicycle’s much lower speed relative to motorized traffic and the lack of enough lane space to safely (yes, not saaaaaaaafely) pass another vehicle. This latter is my main point of contention with Brent. Especially now that many states require a three foot air gap between your vehicle and the vehicle (the bicycle) being passed. I’ve mentioned before and will again that a guy on a bicycle is nearly as wide as a guy on a sport bike (motorcycle). To pass either with three feet of gap in between without crossing over into the opposite lane – at least a little – is difficult, unless the cyclist is riding very close to the edge of the pavement, which many don’t.

      It’s illegal, regardless, to cross the double yellow – so you open yourself up to a ticket when attempting to pass with a safe (as well as legal) margin. And if there is traffic occupying the opposite lane, one must then slow to the much lower speed of the bicycle and wait for a gap in traffic, so as to get around the bicyclist.

      A group of such cyclists on a road like 221 can (and does) badly interrupt the flow of traffic.

      And that’s of course a compounding factor. The huge increase in popularity of recreational adult cycling. I can remember when – for the most part – only kids/teenagers cycled and they generally kept off the main roads.

      Nowadays, it’ routine to encounter adult pleasure/recreational cyclists on almost every road. Not arguing they haven’t got the right; just pointing out that it’s a relatively new phenomenon which brings a new element to the mix.

      I personally would only ride on roads where traffic is running 35 or so and where there is plenty of shoulder. I personally would restrict myself to secondary neighborhood roads and so on – which was practice when I was a kid in the ’70s and ’80s, before adults got into cycling as a recreational sport.

      That said, I acknowledge Brent’s points regarding RVs and so on.

      The cyclist thing is one of those things which we can thank government for, ultimately. If the roads were private, these problems would likely not exist. Charlotte Motor Speedway does not allow bicyclists on their road.

      • eric, I was running this FM road, 281 south to a location. It’s your typical narrow, no shoulder road used by ranchers and the oil field and the few people who live along it. I noticed going by one day an SUV with bicycle racks and two guys in their reflective spandex getting ready to ride it. If I could have communicated with them I would have shouted “Don’t do it”.

        The next week I was hauling a big load down it and come over a hill and luckily, no other truck was coming and I barely missed the guys and we probably all nearly had a heart attack.

        Then I lucked out cresting a hill and saw a rig-up truck hauling a drilling platform that was barely missing the fences out to the side and I luckily found a gate that’s normally closed and locked, open. I dove in till my trailer was inside the fence. In half a minute or less this load tops the hill and passes by. They should have had a lead vehicle but they didn’t. It doesn’t matter who’s right or wrong when your dead anyway. I knew those cyclists were behind me and hoped like hell they’d have the sense to lay their bikes down and let this thing go over them. It was a fairly steep downhill and that rig-up truck was not going to be able to stop.

        I later came back along that road, saw no sign or carnage and the SUV was gone at the interstate where they had parked. I had seen that SUV there before but never saw it again. They got the message and I hope they were ok.

        The point of this is you never know what’s coming at you. If it had been me in my hot car decades earlier I would probably not have survived. To me, it just makes sense to pleasure ride somewhere you won’t find a situation like that or fast cars either. I wouldn’t tell someone where to ride but I’d advise them of where NOT to ride. It seems to me if you can find a speed limited, pleasure vehicle only road like in a park, the access road of an interstate(in some areas)would be the place I’d ride. In the last several years I’ve come across people riding bikes on the access road since they were traveling across country, often on 3 wheelers hauling everything but the kitchen sink. I spoke with a guy doing this one day who had stopped at a Walmart. He said he was heading to a town in east Texas from way out in west Texas to kinfolks house where he’d have food and lodging since he’d lost his job. Taking everything he could was better than sticking out his thumb I’m sure. He probably wouldn’t have been out there otherwise.

        I had one road I used as a racetrack and I lived on it. Most people who lived on it lived well back off the road and I used it early on Sunday mornings when no one would be out. It only had a couple hills you couldn’t see over and all the curves were in the farmland so you could see things coming for miles at times, but 3/4 mile all the time. That was the safest time to ride it and I did so with my dumps open announcing my presence long before I got there. I took my sister on a run one morning since she was a speed freak too. We got back and my mother was in a huff, saying “we” could hear you for 5 miles. Good deal, it’s safer than a silent car.

        My dad was always mowing his lawn on Sunday mornings and I would take over when I got back. He’d have grass all over the concrete drive and have to sweep it so I would coast in and stop in the carport, then crank my car up and rev it up backing out…..no more grass clippings on the driveway. My dad said he wished he had that car every time he mowed. I didn’t mind his driving it but I always got into trouble with the law since he’d burn rubber for two blocks.

        • The loop that I like to ride horseback in the summer, up through a neighbor’s place and onto a “big” cattle ranch, requires about 3/4 mile along the county road coming back to our place. You can’t get too far off because there are fences both sides most of the way. Usually I don’t even see a vehicle, but when I do, I “spur” my horse off into the ditch or up on the bank, and I’m very careful not to get caught crossing a coulee/culvert where there’s a big drop off on both sides.

          It only makes sense to protect my own safety and that of my good buddy.

      • Hey Eric,

        I appreciate your observations because they are fundamentally about what personal behavior is appropriate in a civil society. Libertarians often lose sight of the fact that just because some action is not a per se NAP violation that doesn’t mean it is appropriate or conducive to civility, cooperation and freedom.

        Most cyclists do place personal constraints on where and how they will ride. There are exceptions (critical massholes, pack riders, etc…) but all of the cyclists here despise them as much as you do. But, those who ride a lot are likely to have different constraints than those who don’t ride. First, there is nothing inherently problematic with massive speed differences as long there is enough room. Most roads have enough room, though I recognize that some do not. Which brings up my second point, road bicycles take up far less space than motorcycles, and are much easier to pass than any other form of slow moving traffic (except perhaps pedestrians). The widest road handlebars are about 19 inches, and this is usually close to the widest “footprint” taken by a cyclist. The “footprint” of most motorcycles is usually at least 30 inches. But, this is beside the point because motorcyclists almost always use the full lane, most cyclists do not. This renders a slow motorcycle the practical equivalent of a slow car.

        What I find confusing, and I think Brent shares this with me, is the idea that cyclists are particularly or aberrantly annoying/ intrusive, etc… As both of us point out, the average driver impedes your driving far more (hundreds of times more) than cyclists. So, why the ire directed at cyclists as such and not at the asshole cyclists (I know that you are sensitive to this distinction but many are not). After all, few condemn drivers as a class because some of them (far more than cyclists) are inconsiderate clovers.

        Cheers,
        Jeremy

      • Eric,
        I’ll try not to duplicate what Jeremy already covered but there’s more. I would say greater than 90% of the problems I get from motorists are on roads with 35-40mph PSLs. When the PSL gets up to 50-55mph the problems drop dramatically.

        The 3ft laws exist because motorists will intentionally brush pass bicyclists to cause them to crash, send a message, teach them a lesson, etc. They didn’t used to exist when we lived in a civil society. But now everything has to be law, so there you go. Even so on even two lane 55mph we’re talking 12′ wide lanes if it’s not some 1930s hold out. And it’s rare to see those still posted with a PSL that high IME. Also most such laws allow crossing of the double yellow.

        Furthermore I do take the calmest routes I can feasibly take. But here’s the issue, they generally do not go through. At some point the main roads become the only way from A to B or the alternative carries a significant distance penalty.

        Thank government for? Bicyclists paved roads privately before the automobile. Motorists then joined in. Government then took over.

      • Eric says “The cyclist thing is one of those things which we can thank government for”

        But what I see is ‘Condemn all cyclist or pedestrian for the government caused issue and some a-hole pack riders’ if that is your stance.

        The roads are common right of ways. What is suggested by the motor-centric seems the same as ‘Take all the guns from the law abiding because of the odd mass shooting’.

        SMH a bit harder.

      • BTW, here it is perfectly legal to carry an unload rifle slung over your shoulder inside the city limits. In theory.

        Try it and you will be treated like a terrorist, police sirens, guns drawn and cuffed. Because clovers don’t like guns. So defacto law is “You can’t”.

        The whinging about non-motor use of roads is of the same cloverness. Even if admitted it is legal by those here, apparently everyone who wants to do so should self restrict because the motor-clovers here don’t like it….. So it becomes defacto law.

        Again I am extremely disappointed. Really smacks of hypocrisy, especially on a site that touts first principals, individual rights and non-interference.

        • Hi Anonymous,

          I’m not arguing against you – or Brent. I tried to be careful about stating my personal choices. I’m absolutely not arguing “there oughtta be a law.”

          • Please re-read your post here with an eye towards who you burden with more responsibility on a public right of way. PUBLIC. And who seems to be ‘more equal’.

            Sure, you don’t want a law. But it seems you would welcome one to me. Plenty of others clearly do want one. Which is what I find disturbing. First principal issue.

            Then consider people who simply can’t afford a car.

            What if Red Barchetta was about a bicycle?

            • Hi Anonymous,

              I would not welcome a law. And I understand that not everyone can afford a car. And that’s beside the point, regardless – as I’m sure you’ll agree.

              Certainly, roads are a public right of way. No argument there, either. For me personally, it’s a question of “horses for courses.”

              And of yielding right of way.

              • “And of yielding right of way.”

                Except the bicycles have right of way just like any other vehicle in front of you does. It is up to the following vehicle to pass safely.

                So we come full circle to,

                Forget the law, forget mutual respect, how dare you inconvinience a motorist in any way.

                More equal…….

                • Hi Anonymous,

                  Right of way isn’t absolute, either in law or as regards common courtesy. For example, cars are expected (legally obliged) to yield to faster-moving traffic; a driver who refuses to yield can be cited for obstructing traffic.

                  This doesn’t seem unreasonable to me.

                  Leaving aside laws, good (considerate) driving (and riding) practice is to scan mirrors and – when one becomes aware of an overtaking vehicle – make an effort to let the overtaking traffic pass. Ideally, to make the effort to get out of the way before the overtaking vehicle is forced to slow down.

                  The object – for everyone – ought to be to not be the cause of inconvenience. Yielding is one way to accomplish this. I do so reflexively on those rare occasions when I am not the fastest-moving thing on the road! I don’t grok people who have a problem with yielding, who don’t make an effort to do so. This applies – as far as I am concerned – off the roads as well. For example: If I am walking on the sidewalk and become aware of someone behind me, walking faster, I reflexively move over to make it easy for him to get by me. We both have the same right to use the sidewalk, but I don’t think I have a right to block his progress, or to expect him to defer to me – since I’m the one causing the blockage.

                  So, we disagree on this point.

                  • Actually I mostly agree with you.

                    And yeilding to faster traffic is the considerate thing to do. Nobody in cars, RV or trucks do in my experience.

                    My issue is that there seems to be an attitude that cars have more right than other road users and that respect for cyclists is rarely shown. As Brent has mentioned drivers often intentionally come close to hitting cyclists even if they try to get out of the way.

                    Some roads are difficult to pass on but if a car can’t manage to pass safely when a cyclist is doing 20mph, either their car is incredibly underpowered or the driver is incompetent.

                    • Hi Anon,

                      I dislike/object to car drivers who behave in that manner as much as you do; so I think we’re getting close to common ground here!

                      Whether in a car, on a bike – or on foot – each of us ought to try to be considerate to the same degree.

      • OH, one more.

        Just replace ‘bicycle’ in any of the anti-cyclist posts here with ‘non-automated car’ and ‘motor vehicle’ with ‘self driving auto’.

        Your future.

        First they came for the bicycles…..

        • Exactly Anonymous, first they came for the bicyclists. The controllers, the social engineers, etc and so on want us fighting over the public way. That way there is a winner and everyone else is banished and then they are in control with ease.

    • Everyone wants their own rights to be respected.

      People who imagine that they have artificial and superior rights, and seek to flaunt those imaginary rights, usually by citing some law which is nothing but the decree of some other man, are statists.

      Libertarians/Anarchists/Voluntaryists, if true to their philosophy, seek toi uphold the true natural rights of all- which often involves deference to others, as well as respect for their rights. i.e. you don’t steal his property, because you respect the sanctity of private property; you don’t go barrelling through an uncontrolled 4-way intersection, because you
      know that your responsibility to check for approaching traffic is the same as the other person’s.

      Some bicycle clovers needlessly block traffic, by riding several abreast, or refusing to move over when there is space; some drivers [cough Chuck cough] think that they have a superior right to use the roads in a given manner, just because the powers that be which have extorted the monies of all of us, build the roads mainly for the use of high-speed vehicles- although they have no moral nor even legal right to do that.

  2. As one who used to cycle a lot, I’ll simply comment on groups of cyclists. In NJ, they’re supposed to ride single file. If there’s no traffic, then they can ride double file; when there’s traffic, NJ law dictates riding single file to allow vehicular traffic to pass. It used to piss me off when I’d see cyclists riding three and four abreast with traffic behind them, because it gave all of us a bad name.

    Now, the lead rider is breaking the wind; because of this, he’s working harder than the riders behind him. Every so often, the lead rider needs to rotate out, so someone else can break the air for the group. The procedure for this is for the leader to pull to the left, drop back along the line, then slip back into line at the rear. When it’s time to change leaders again, the process repeats itself. This process should only take a matter of seconds. The whole point is to remain single file, so as to share the road with other traffic.

  3. I have hated cyclists here for about 10 years now. That is when they started getting belligerent.

    They ride several abreast even when they have a dedicated bike lane and purposely slow traffic.

    The dirt trail hikers in the mountains hate cyclists too. They nearly run the hikers over going 40 MPH past the hikers on a foot-wide path.

    • Hi Interferon,

      I may be off base here, skewed and such – but it’s my general view that density beyond a certain critical mass threshold is what creates the problems – not just the one we’re talking about.

      Driving is one example

      When we (I was married then) moved to where I live now, about 16 years ago, driving into “town” 30 miles away was almost always pleasant because I almost always had the road to myself. Occasionally, one might roll up behind someone doing much less than the speed limit, but it was just a matter of briefly swinging over to the left into the (almost always clear) opposite lane for the moment it took to pass them by.

      At night, or early morning, it was paradisiacal to be alone on the road.

      Fast forward to today. The number of cars has noticeably increased; there are almost always other cars – even in the middle of the night. There is occasionally traffic. Too many cars to make passing feasible, at times.

      It hasn’t yet come to stop-and-go traffic, such as I escaped from 16 years ago… but it is coming. One is already often effectively cock-blocked by Clovers, whose ranks are increasing.

      Similarly, the occasional bike on a lightly travelled road is no problem for either, usually. Plenty of room to pass, no hassle. But make the road busy; add those multiple cyclists, often (as you rightly say) riding in packs or two/three abreast – but even if not. The noblesse oblige attitude begins to evaporate. People become obnoxious as they jockey for position, asset their turf.

      It is like walking the streets of NYC, attempting to get on the train and find a seat. Forget the casual, enjoyable – relaxing stroll.

      I am not a Malthusian. This isn’t life or death; just a subjective quality of life valuation.

      Too many people in a given area – whether on foot, on two wheels or four – sours me on a given area.

      Your mileage may vary, of course!

      • I used to ride bicycles fast. The best was when one could pick up the draft behind the mail semis that would allow 50+ mph on a particular highway. That was on fragile wheels with Hutchison butyl sew-up tires that held air for a long time.
        Nowadays I wouldn’t go past 20 mph because of the horrible conditions of the roads and streets. A bicycle rider gets the real feel of the pavement conditions and how badly they have deteriorated. Since 9/11/2001 the surfaces have gone to hell.
        Few people know just how fast one can go in an ideal draft situation. It was scary in not being able to see the road ahead but I knew the pavement condition.
        And no, I didn’t have Spandex and a helmet.

        • I forgot to add that the high speeds were in the mid 1970’s. The road surfaces were damned good then. Drafting on cars was ok to pick up on agreeable drivers.
          Health insurance was under a grand and the employer paid the deductible.
          Long Gone Sam.

    • Hi Interferon,
      It’s a bummer that the actions/attitudes of a small number of cyclists lead many to think that all of us are like that.

      Cheers,
      Jeremy

      • Jeremy, I think too, that it doesn’t help that those obnoxious radical libtard cyclists seem to be the ones who get all the press. So even though they may be the minority in the cycling community, since they are the ones who are heard by the average joe, it is assumed that they represent all cyclists. The media strikes again! -altering our perceptions.

        What’s even sadder, is that when such an image is projected, it is also adopted by others who want to “join the group”. Imagine how different it would be, if the media, instead of always only promoting the radical libtard cyclists, were to instead mainly show courteous, considerate, safe cyclists! Then the “joiners” would be adopting THAT behavior!

        • And then Nunzio simple ways of protecting ones self get interpreted in that light. For instance one day I am bicycling on a four lane road, 35mph at about 18-22mph. I am near the curb with the minimum space to move right before the upright part of the curb if I have to. A motorist comes up behind me and starts honking. There’s a mostly open left lane and what little traffic there is flows by at over the PSL. I move more left. The idiot honks again I move left. The idiot honks yet again I move into the center of the lane. Eventually the moron figures out there’s a left lane and passes me while flipping me off. After missing countless chances to pass.

          And why do I do that? The last time I moved right for someone who honked I struggled not to get sucked under a box truck and ended up crashing into the ditch. I will never move right for someone who honks for space again. I will presume they are a moron and will hurt me if I do. They aren’t going to murder me but their stupidity could hurt or kill me so I have to prevent them from doing it.

          But that probably gets me lumped in with the “obnoxious radical libtard cyclists” but it’s just self preservation.

          • Brent, since there are nothing but narrow roads here where I ride (8′ lanes- no shoulders, at best. Other roads: barely enough room for two cars to pass in oppossite directions) I was too intimidated to ride for a few years after I got the idea that it might be nice to have a bike as an adult.

            Then, I figured out that the ONLY way to ride such raods, is to take the lane, and not hug the right edge, unless I’m in a spot where there is sufficient width to allow a vehicle to pass safely in that lane.

            For those who don’t understand: That’s not being a radical libtard cyclist; that’s just being safe/not being a victim/being traffic.

            When a car rolls up behind me, I just maintain my space, until we get to a spot where it is safe for the car to go into the oncoming lane to pass- and then I wave them ahead, when safe to do so.

            It works nice. No one seems to have a problem with that (and I also usually acknowledge the car’s presence, too)- but I guess that’s because it’s a rural area, and people are used to getting stuck behind slow moving vehicles (Usually ones much wider than a bike- often much wider than the lane!).

            It works in reverse, too! Once while riding, A combine was coming down the road, which was wider than the entire road! Forget moving to the side, I had to get a few feet off of the road, so it could go by!

            But it just illustrates how different people’s attitudes are in in places where life is more real. It is just common behavior, and expected of one, that you will cooperate to share the road.

  4. ***”The agenda 21ers will be coming for the bicyclists eventually. I can be 50 miles away from home in a couple hours on a bicycle”***

    Exactly, Brent. The bicycle was the most freedom-oriented machine ever invented. They can be cheap to purchase; last forever; can be maintained and repaired by a chimp; require no fuel; are always ready; are very versatile; etc.

    And if the powers that be get rid of cars, or greatly diminish the number of them (which seems to be the agenda) the bicycle becomes even more relevant, useful, and versatile. And they can’t have that!

    Look for the usual routine of control toc be established for bikes, which the government enacts on all things it seeks to eliminate- be it guns or cars, whatever. First: Licensing and registration; then mandatory insurance; then more rules and laws, with fines, confiscations and jail times imposed for their transgressions; then finally elimination.

    • Nun, if it were a SHTF scenario a bike would be my last resort, and this comes from a bike lover.

      Of course I won’t need to bug out, just need to hunker down and keep an eye on my 3’s, 6’s, 9’s and everything in between.
      Biking is not only good exercise but a enjoyable thing that gets you back to nature in my part of the woods.

      My neighbor has a more macho take on it and probably I would too if I were 39 years younger as he is.

      I do value we have that and more in common. We’ve been harvesting deer and hopefully the big hog that destroyed my feeder 2 days ago.

      When I see him we’ll be eating high on the hog so to speak

      I was once cooking along pretty fast and saw something hauling ass in the barditch. It was funny and a bit frightening too to pull up beside an emu and see eye to eye. It was as tall as me and had that look in the eye like a snake, a very basic animal. It was hauling ass too. In that instant I thought “wish I had my lasso” and later upon reflection, was glad I didn’t. It probably weighed as much as me and was definitely a lot crazier.

      I can’t wait to come across a red wolf cross. OK, I can wait and hope I never do unarmed.

      Biking in west Texas is definitely an adventure.

      • SHTF, 8? Yeah….no bugging out here, and a bicycle would be my last choice then! (My neighbor’s bulldozer might be an option though!)- Hopefully I’ll be out of here long before that though.

    • The bicycles are no longer cheap or easy or inexpensive to repair. I gave up on bikes 15 years ago due to the constant flat tyres, weekly, and also my boys were also getting flats faster than I could repair them. I also developed dry eyes, which made open and glasses covered eyes create so many teardrops and irritation I could not see. Also the increasing amount of SUVs whose drivers can’t see much anyway, judging by how slow these vehicles are driven here in Australia. These SUV drivers drive like they are just flat out scared of life.

      • Probably scared of hitting bicycles. But according to some people here, that’s just how it should be and they should go that slow if that’s what it takes.

          • Sorry, but that’s really what the things you say come down to. It’s hard not to drive like you’re “flat out scared of life” when you have no idea which rock, crest, or clump of trees the nonmotorized road user is going to pop out from behind this time, even on the freeway! You say you don’t want dedicated bicycle facilities because they’re anti-motoring, you say I’m a maniac for wanting to drive fast despite the lack of such facilities, but somehow when I say you want to shackle the road to the lowest common denominator, you still think that’s a strawman. What do you actually want, then? For the car to be un-invented somehow?

            • Now you’re behaving like Clover would, just with the opposite sign. You’re essentially chastising me for not wanting to drive 80mph in school zone rather than creating a strawman the other way around. You’re also being as dishonest as Clover was creating extreme strawmen that bare no resemblance to what I actually wrote.

              You want to out drive what you can see on the public way. That is you want to dive such that other normal modes of transportation on the public way will not be seen until it is too late for you to avoid hitting them. There is nothing “lowest common denominator” or being shackled by driving within your got-damn’d sight lines. I don’t give a damn what happens to you because you decided to be stupid, but you have no right to force other people off the public way because you don’t like general traffic being there.

              The solution for you is simple. Build your own road course.

              But no, you have to be what I once thought was nothing more an imaginary construct of the speed kills crowd.

              • “That is you want to dive such that other normal modes of transportation…”

                But that’s exactly it. Bicycles aren’t a normal mode of transportation anymore, not in NA anyway. In fact that’s always been the problem… you want to be considered normal traffic, even though you can’t keep up with traffic. I mean, you’re on roads which are posted at 35-45 MPH with traffic likely going faster than that, and you’re riding at 20 MPH because that’s the best you can maintain over a long distance. Anyone else who did that would be roundly and, probably, deservedly chastised as a jerk, but somehow because you’re on a bicycle I’m supposed to just be totally fine with it? Hello?

                That right there is probably what drives me the most nuts about bicycles on the road. There are other modes of transportation with similar inherent limitations on their abilities, but the people who partake of them, with some exceptions that I will admit, are usually aware of those limitations and take pains to keep them from becoming everyone else’s limitations – I’ve never been held up or otherwise annoyed by a moped or horse, for example (granted there are no Amish here, but still). Bicycles, on the other hand, are everywhere at once, see no problem with foisting their limitations on everyone else, and think everyone else is the jerk for objecting.

                “The solution for you is simple. Build your own road course.”

                Right, because I’m just swimming in cash right now. But even if I had the money to do that, and even if personal-injury liability wasn’t a thing so I could let other drivers use it, it’s still a half-solution which would only cover a specific part of Alaska.

                  • I won’t say that; I will however say it’s not particularly smart to walk on roads that have nowhere to walk, and I will also say that you won’t easily catch me doing that, with my feet or with a bike either. Even long ago, before I started recognizing there was a problem, before was even old enough to drive, it just never occurred to me to force myself into that space and just make everyone else deal with me.

                • Chuck,

                  “I’ve never been held up or otherwise annoyed by a moped or horse, for example (granted there are no Amish here, but still). Bicycles, on the other hand, are everywhere at once, see no problem with foisting their limitations on everyone else, and think everyone else is the jerk for objecting.”

                  What the hell are you talking about? Bicycles, unlike cars, mopeds, motorcycles, horses, tractors, etc… almost never take the full lane. Thus, it is almost always possible to pass a bicyclist without slowing down. When a clover is driving at 20 mph in a 35 zone, it is almost always necessary to slow down and wait until it is safe to pass.

                  I can’t remember the last time a bicyclist hindered my driving in any significant way. However, every day some clover will pull out in front of me without looking, dawdle at a left turn arrow and cut in half the number of people who could have gone through the light, stop in front of side streets, blocking access for entry or left turns, etc…

                  Bicyclists, more than any other type of transportation “with similar inherent limitations on their abilities” do “take pains to keep them from becoming everyone else’s limitations”. There are some asshole cyclists, most are not.

                  Jeremy

                  • Exactly Jeremy. Even biggest asshole bicyclists I’ve encountered barely reach the level the least offensive “clovers”. And how many bicyclists like that have I encountered in my life? Maybe 3. Three. One of them when I as also bicycling.

                    Now to some motorists I’m a big asshole on a bicyclist. But it’s because of their lack of skill. Like the woman last year who didn’t have the skills to pass me even with two lanes going our direction. Instead she pulled up close to me and honked. Lots of room to pass even in the same lane and keep a 3ft distance. But she honks. The only option that could make her pass easier is for me to stop, dismount, and carry my bicycle over the high square curb.

                    So I moved left with each honk until I was in the center of the lane. Then she used the left lane to pass me. This was in light traffic too. Everyone else while I was on that road segment passed me using the left lane without slowing. except this idiot.

                    I am sure she tells stories about bicyclists are assholes and shouldn’t be on the road.

                    Maybe next time I get someone like that I will slowly come to a stop, dismount, and carry my bicycle off the roadway. Of course they’ll have to stop too while I do that.

                  • “What the hell are you talking about? Bicycles, unlike cars, mopeds, motorcycles, horses, tractors, etc… almost never take the full lane. Thus, it is almost always possible to pass a bicyclist without slowing down.”

                    They take up JUST enough space to be annoying. A bicycle that’s ENTIRELY on the shoulder isn’t going to be too much of a problem, as long as 1. there’s a good sightline so I can spot them at a distance, 2. it’s daylight (or they have rear lights as good as a car’s), and 3. I can count on them to stay there. But if there is no shoulder (or no significant shoulder), or they’re acting directionally unpredictable, or they do what Brent does and ride just barely in the lane, now I have to cut a rather tight path between them and whatever’s to the left of me, which, considering the kinds of roads that tend to have narrow/no shoulder, might well be oncoming traffic. At night, well, let’s just hope I can catch a glint off something or spot their outline in an oncoming car’s headlights.

                    In other words, bicycles (and pedestrians too, on those kinds of roads!) are a slow-moving, hard-to-spot threat coming from the side opposite where threats usually come from… and to make it worse, they’re basically invisible at night, which is when it should be easier, not harder, to get away with more “intense” driving. See, that’s what started this whole thing… on higher-speed or simply deserted roads, bicycles create a situation where much of my side of the road can’t be used (this whole thing started over the gutter/shoulder, but with the way Brent rides a significant portion of the lane itself becomes off-limits as well, which frankly would be annoying even in normal daytime driving).

                    I’d be a lot less upset about nonmotorized road users if I could be sure one of them wasn’t going to materialize out of the darkness/from behind concealment 100 feet in front of me some night, or get me involved in a metal-on-metal incident by forcing someone to dodge (oh by the way – coming home tonight on a 2L55, an oncoming big rig had to veer to miss a pedestrian, which required me to brake and veer to keep a safe distance from the big rig, all this happening on my side of a crest which I would consider at least semi-blind. If there had been a pedestrian on my side of the road… let’s just say that could have ended badly. But yes, pedestrians totally belong on the shoulder of that road, even where there are much less disruptive.

                    “I can’t remember the last time a bicyclist hindered my driving in any significant way. However, every day some clover will pull out in front of me without looking, dawdle at a left turn arrow and cut in half the number of people who could have gone through the light, stop in front of side streets, blocking access for entry or left turns, etc…”

                    When did I ever say I was fine with these people?

                    • It’s not smart to ride any road at night on a bike, at least not without a strobe. I ride Farm to Market roads but not at night. Oh, it would be nice but I’m a realist and somebody like many people I know who don’t like to drive and night because they don’t see in the dark very well might be on that same narrow road and not see me. There’s also those tired tanker drivers out that probably started work in the dark of the morning.

                • You’re complaining that bicyclists are everywhere but at the same time saying they should be banned from the public way for lack of popularity. That’s contradictory. Even if we allow you the absurd notion of popularity determining what is normal every day traffic if they are so extraordinarily rare to encounter then it’s not a problem worth your time.

                  Second paragraph again you’re complaining about bicyclists being everywhere. Seems bicycling is extremely popular where you live and thus not only a normal mode of transportation but a common one.

                  I can’t remember the last time a bicyclist hindered me beyond some gutter passer making me pass him twice. And guess what, those people do it to me when I am bicycling too.

                  But just about every day some motorist will pull out in front of me and force me to brake to avoid hitting them. Some pedestrian will step in front of my car and force me to stop to avoid hitting them. Something of that nature. But people like you simply don’t even notice those daily events. Instead you see a bicyclist on what you consider your road, taking up a couple feet of the right edge and you’re offended. How dare he be there.

                  I don’t care how much or how little cash you have, the public way is not your road. If you want your own road, buy the land and build it.

                  • “You’re complaining that bicyclists are everywhere but at the same time saying they should be banned from the public way for lack of popularity. That’s contradictory. Even if we allow you the absurd notion of popularity determining what is normal every day traffic if they are so extraordinarily rare to encounter then it’s not a problem worth your time.”

                    One thing about that: this time, I’ve said absolutely nothing about a ban. You convinced me on that one. That doesn’t mean I’ll stop trying to convince you to stop doing it.

                    “Second paragraph again you’re complaining about bicyclists being everywhere. Seems bicycling is extremely popular where you live and thus not only a normal mode of transportation but a common one.”

                    Bicycles are in a weird place where there’s just enough of them to be annoying, but not enough to be a significant part of… anything. In the city they are more common but USUALLY not causing a problem (I say usually because one of them just recently managed to eat a windshield while blowing red lights and riding the wrong way), outside the city they’re very rare to see (hitchhikers and shoulder walkers being more common) with the problem being that pretty much none of the roads are suitable for nonmotorized use of any kind.

                    Now, on the local mountain road, nonmotorized use in general is a freakin’ disease. It has an appearance of seclusion due to being inside a national park/forest/something, but is actually only about 10-12 miles from the center of town and only a couple from the edge of that town’s suburban sprawl, which puts it right in target range for the people who drive to the road, unload their stupid bikes, and ride up and down all day. Yes, technically the grade is steep enough for a bike to coast down at 45-50 without pedaling at all, but guess what, on that road, it’s uphill first, then downhill. I’ll leave it to you to figure out what’s like to climb a grade that steep on a bicycle… let’s just say that some perfectly adequate cars have to rev to the moon just to maintain 35MPH up that hill.

                    The sad part is, that road would be the equal of any driving road you’d ever seen, if only the tree huggers and exercise nuts hadn’t found it. And now someone’s trying to build a stupid ski resort up there, because obviously that road really needed more slow traffic and more transplants from the left coast who think they are outdoorsy. Apparently ski resorts are exempt from any and all prohibitions on raping the land, too!

                    (That road is far from the only thing the North Face-wearing outsiders have ruined. Just to pick one example, many older hardcore Alaskans ended up quitting fishing completely after all their favorite spots got published and tourist-ized, and of course it should be obvious to even a casual observer how much of Alaska’s productive potential i.e. mining, logging, etc. has been put out of reach more or less permanently because of environmentalist idiocy. Perhaps casual outdoorsiness is the real disease.)

                    “But just about every day some motorist will pull out in front of me and force me to brake to avoid hitting them. Some pedestrian will step in front of my car and force me to stop to avoid hitting them. Something of that nature. But people like you simply don’t even notice those daily events. Instead you see a bicyclist on what you consider your road, taking up a couple feet of the right edge and you’re offended. How dare he be there.”

                    I notice those events all right, I just think nonmotorized road use in general is on the same level as all of this or is at least very close to it.

                    • Now it’s a “weird place”. So you want everyone who isn’t the majority of road traffic to voluntarily not use the road. What difference is that from a ban? None. If you’re not to do it what difference does it make if its legal or not?

                      It all comes down to you don’t want those you disapprove of on what you consider a road for only how you want to use it.

            • I want to drive my rocket car down the road at 400MPH. Damn peoiple in cars and trucks that can only do 70 or 80 MPH keep getting in my way and making me crash into them! They should have separate facilities for people who can’t as fast as I can, and who thus get in my way and make me crash into them!

              • You want a strawman, there’s your strawman. 400 MPH rocket cars don’t exist yet outside of speed record attempts, and I don’t have a problem with normal automotive traffic. However, it is vaguely theoretically possible that such machines might trickle down to the common-use level, and if/when that day comes, you can be assured of one thing…

                …certain people will still be pedaling down the side of the road at 20 MPH insisting that everyone else is the problem.

              • Has nothing to do with cycling.

                “should not be constrained by consideration of others” is simply how the majority of people seem to operate today.

                AKA – Me first, Fuck you.

                I am not sure if they are aware of their behavior as meta-cognition seems near extinct.

                • This is actually kind of hilarious as that’s the exact principle nonmotorized road use works on. “I can be as slow as I want and you’ll all just have to deal with it! If the road’s too narrow then car space should shrink, not bicycle space!”

                  • If you don’t have the skills to deal with obstacles on the road, whatever they are, maybe you should rethink whether you should be driving. Random obstacles happen and it is clear you don’t want to have to accommodate them. Very selfish.

                    At least around here, the roads are for all to use. Legally. Highways are all 40mph minimum, no slower vehicles allowed.

                    Maybe you need to learn to share and not see everything as MFFY.

                    • Random obstacles are one thing, deliberately becoming a random obstacle is quite another. That’s where the problem comes in. Just because it’s legal to walk and ride in stupid places, doesn’t mean you should. Especially as a car enthusiast. Car culture is enough of a garbagefest right now without so-called “car-guy bicyclists” actively making it worse.

                      Also, just because it’s legal to go as slow as 40 MPH on the freeway, does not mean it isn’t incredibly bletcherous for everyone else.

                  • What’s your malfunction Chuck? Seriously?
                    It’s not -your- road. It’s not a road for “motorized vehicles” only. It’s the public way.

                    A bicyclist is not a “random obstacle” but predictable traffic. If you can’t handle other traffic STAY HOME.

                    Furthermore you can shove your purity testing right up where the sun doesn’t shine. You’re no better than the new urbanists, just with a different demand on who gets to use the public way and who doesn’t.

                    • What Brent said.

                      And,

                      “deliberately becoming a random obstacle is quite another.”

                      Yeah. Malfunction.

        • Shotgun Chuck, You drive with the awareness that wildlife and livestock may appear in your path anyway. Why have the persistent gripe about bike riders which are usually far more predictable than animals? Do people have less rights than animals in your mind?

          • Exactly the opposite. A wild animal carries little to no moral weight and there’s not much that can be done about them anyway; thus the only concern in such an impact is how much damage is done to me/my car. The bicyclists 1. carry moral weight and 2. should know better, especially the ones who claim to also be car people.

            @BrentP, that last one is one of the major disagreements I have with you specifically. You claim to be into cars, and yet you have very little respect for car culture and its places. You think about amazing driving roads, even well-known greats like The Road to Hana, and your first thought is “that would make a great bicycling road!” You hear about bikes on the Nurburgring and you’re just like “eh, not worth the toll I guess.” (BTW: I’m glad I found out about that before I wasted time/money going there). There may not be any way to stop people from riding bikes on narrow roads, but if you are a car enthusiast then you shouldn’t want to make the situation even worse by joining them. As I said in an above post… I never said anything about a ban this time. You guys convinced me not to want a ban. You will never convince me not to not want bicycles on the road.

            • Respect for car culture and places? WTF?
              Who made you the purity tester?
              You brought up bicycling on the ‘ring, not me. You’re just pissed you were dead wrong. And since you don’t have a rational argument for using the public way as your personal race course you now turn your attack on me personally.

              And so what if I like challenging for a bicycle roads on bicycle? The road to Hana a well-known great driving road? By who? I’ve been there, my relatives have driven it countless times and they don’t think much of it. It’s just a 1930s road built to 1930s safety standards. The scenery is nice. There’s nothing technically challenging about it in a car. Especially a modern car.

              So you don’t want a ban, you just want them to stay off the road. Same thing effectively.

              You’re inability to think in anything but an us and them binary is your defect.

              • Responding to everything here because this post has the most room left on it.

                “What’s your malfunction Chuck? Seriously?
                It’s not -your- road. It’s not a road for “motorized vehicles” only. It’s the public way.”

                If we’re going to go that route, a non-motorized vehicle which could go fast enough to keep up wouldn’t really be a problem. Too bad such things barely exist, are not available on the consumer market, and still can’t sustain such speed without a rider at the absolute peak of physical condition.

                “A bicyclist is not a ‘random obstacle’ but predictable traffic. If you can’t handle other traffic STAY HOME. ”

                Someone who is traveling at anywhere from 15 to 35 MPH below even the flow of normal traffic, small enough to hide behind pretty much anything, and all but invisible at night. Yes, I know about your halogen eye melter and good on you for using it, however some people seem to think a couple of blinky keychain lights are sufficient assuming they bother at all.

                “Now it’s a ‘weird place’. So you want everyone who isn’t the majority of road traffic to voluntarily not use the road. What difference is that from a ban? None. If you’re not to do it what difference does it make if its legal or not?”

                I could say the same thing back to you. You don’t TECHNICALLY want to put up stupidly underposted speed limits and chop several feet from the width of every lane, but the way you expect people to drive amounts to the same thing.

                “Respect for car culture and places? WTF?
                Who made you the purity tester?
                You brought up bicycling on the ‘ring, not me. You’re just pissed you were dead wrong.”

                Yes. I did bring it up. As an example of something so stupid and inconsiderate that I literally can’t fathom any reason someone would do it other than to be annoying. The fact that there are people out there obnoxious enough to actually do it, does not change any of that.

                “And since you don’t have a rational argument for using the public way as your personal race course…”

                Without street racing, car culture WILL go extinct, because it will no longer have a reason to exist. I mean, you’ve mentioned before that you have a Ford Mustang, and you seem to like it, but really, and this is a 100% serious question, why would you even spend the money when you yourself are constantly doing something which renders the very existence of a Ford Mustang at least 98% pointless?

                I’m being serious. Why even bother when you are obligated by your own preferred subculture to never do anything more intense than loafing down the center of your lane at 3/10ths, maybe 4 in the daylight?

                I’ve seen this before, too. One person on a bicycling forum mentioned that he “used to race a GT3-prepped Volvo Amazon in the canyons, but had to quit because he kept seeing more and more bicyclists.” Why is it never the other way around? Why do people like that never quit bicycling to preserve racing instead?

                “…you now turn your attack on me personally. ”

                I said it as politely as I could.

                “And so what if I like challenging for a bicycle roads on bicycle? The road to Hana a well-known great driving road? By who? I’ve been there, my relatives have driven it countless times and they don’t think much of it. It’s just a 1930s road built to 1930s safety standards. The scenery is nice. There’s nothing technically challenging about it in a car. Especially a modern car.”

                That’s not what I’ve heard.

                “So you don’t want a ban, you just want them to stay off the road. Same thing effectively.”

                Again. You don’t want to enforce ridiculously low speed limits or cut down lane size/quantity, you just want me to drive very slowly and stay away from the right side of my lane. Same thing effectively. No really, it is.

                • Hi Chuck,

                  “I’m being serious. Why even bother when you are obligated by your own preferred subculture to never do anything more intense than loafing down the center of your lane at 3/10ths, maybe 4 in the daylight?”

                  Your fundamental premise, that the mere possibility of a bicyclist being on the road forces you to drive in a severely restricted manner, is just absurd. Now, it is true that some actions of some bicyclists are reckless and inconsiderate of others (this is Eric’s point). But you object to any cyclist being on any road at anytime.

                  I’ve been driving and cycling on the roads for many years. In all that time I have never caused an accident while driving or cycling. But, I don’t drive at some retarded pace, as you suggest. I drive faster than most but within the limits of reason, my skills and morality.

                  If you can’t drive well above the speed of the average driver because of your fear of injuring/killing a cyclist, there are a number of possibilities to pursue.

                  First, you’re simply exaggerating to make a point. The constraint you describe because of bicyclists is so outside of reality that it is hard to believe that you are sincere.

                  Second, you’re actually a terrible driver, but I suspect this is not the case.

                  Third, the way you want to drive is so extreme as to be reckless and dangerous no matter who is on the road. I suspect, based on some of what you’ve written, that this is the case. You wish to use the roads as a personal raceway. This is absurd. You imagine that cyclists and pedestrians are what constrains you from doing so, this is also absurd. The constraint, that you falsely blame on cyclists, is morality.

                  Jeremy

                • This is nothing but the repetition of you wanting everyone you don’t approve of off of what you consider “your” roads coupled with strawmen.

                  I’ve been an advocate of proper speed limits for over over 20 years Chuck. Underposted speed limits make roads much more difficult to bike. I used to go a mile out of my way to ride a road that had a nearly properly posted speed limit and a slightly wide curb lane. It was since restriped putting the extra width into a painted line created median.

                  I am not a new urbanist and I have made it very clear here that I despise them. But you attempt to hang their crap on me because you think in an ‘us and them’ binary.

                  I have NEVER asked for a speed limit to be lowered, a bike lane created, or anything else of that nature. NEVER. So shove it right up your behind. The ONLY things I’ve EVER advocated for when it comes to bicycling are wide curb lanes and a grid system of roads where slower streets go through parallel to the main ones. That’s all Chuck. Now of course you’re going to try and find some fault with that, because that’s the kind of person you are. But both of those help you.

                  “Without street racing, car culture WILL go extinct, because it will no longer have a reason to exist”

                  And you’ve chosen bicyclists as your targeted enemy because you want to preserve street racing? Street racing is under attack from the safety moms like bicycling has been for 20-30 years.

                  “why would you even spend the money when you yourself are constantly doing something which renders the very existence of a Ford Mustang at least 98% pointless?”

                  What? What renders my V8 pony cars “pointless” in your mind has nothing to do with bicycling. I’d very much like to drive 120mph on the interstates. The Illinois State Police however have a problem with anyone who’s not them do that. Other than that I am not using the roads I bike on as a race course. I don’t know why you want to do 80mph through residential areas and school zones, but that’s 90% or more of my bicycling. If that renders my cars “pointless” then so be it. As to the rest of my biking, again no bicycling on those roads would not allow for any speed increase. Getting rid of “clovers” and leaving the bicyclists would.

                  Let’s see, why don’t I out drive my sight lines? Oh because I like my car and don’t want it wrecked. I’m not on a closed race course. That’s why. You could ban bicyclists entirely I am still not out driving what I can see on the public way.

                  No, Chuck, I don’t want you to drive very slowly, I am pointing out that your asinine rant against bicyclists is because you want to drive like the public way is a racecourse. It’s not. Out driving your sight lines is exclusively something for a race course, closed roads, private roads restricted appropriately, etc. Bicyclists or no bicyclists its a stupid thing to do on the public roadways for reasons that are seemingly obvious to everyone except you.

                  • Good point Brent. I used to commonly drive well into triple digits but not everywhere of course. That I’m still alive is proof I chose where I drove those speeds….and was lucky. And when I drove like that I did nothing but scan and drive and listen to music(not too loud since I needed to hear my radar detector).

                    Like the guy who got a ticket for 132 in his Porsche, he was breaking the law but not being dangerous. Where he was you could see into at least two states.

                    I wouldn’t drive triple digits now in places I used to think nothing about it because of the lack of driving skills of so many drivers these days.

        • I bought some of those before I switched to Gatorskin tires….. They were so heavy, I ended up throwing them out without ever using them….. (And I am NOT exactly a weight-weenie!)

          • Since there’s a chert filled road we have to run to get to the pavement….but mostly don’t and use the pickup, the neighbor bought some Gatorskins. He likes hell out of them. I’m too damn heavy and the chert is sharp. No dirt road for me. If it were gravel, ok, but chert off the RR wasn’t the best idea for a road.

              • Nun, it’s basically the lighter shades of flint the RR uses on it’s tracks. It is commonly very sharp at some point on the rock. It’s unforgiving on tires. I was pulling a 24′ offset tandem plow with my pickup and got in some washboards. I just happened to look at one tire on the plow as it landed on a piece of chert and blew out. It was powerful enough to leave that one rock by itself with everything else blown away from it and to make matters worse, a small piece of it came through my sunfighter headache rack, bounce off the windshield and into my face. It was the damndest set of events and I thought twice about repeating it.

                It was about 300′ from my gate with a concrete bridge right in front of it so I had to unhook, go get a tire and come back to change it while it blocked the road. When it rains it pours. I later walked into the house and the wife says ‘What happened to your face?”. I was hot and pissed off enough I had forgotten about that part.

                I couldn’t tell you how many tires I’ve ruined on that road with pieces of RR plate, countless thousands of spikes and billions of pieces of chert…….7 miles of hell.

              • Hi Nunzio, Most of us in the midwest use either creek gravel or crushed rock from bedrock limestone quarries on gravel roads and driveways. I learned at least one new word when I moved temporarily to the oil patch in western Texas/ southeastern New Mexico. That word was caliche , which is another word for chert I believe. The county roads in that region are terrible! The grade of the road is usually lower than the surrounding landscape, and rain makes them really slippery as they fill with water. They seldom grade those super rough and bumpy roads.

                • Hey Ya’s, Brian & 8,

                  Wow…..railroad ballast grasvel for roads? I can only imagine! Locally, they use a rather nice limestone dense grade gravel on the roads- which I also use in my 700′ of driveway (I just graded & groomed it last week!)- It packs down like cee-ment, with all the nice lime dust in it- and stays nice unless someone wrecks it……and even then, it’s easy to repair.

                  Poor 8! I have to admit I was laughing at your expense! I can just picture the scenario you described- sounds about like my luck!- Kept picturing the poor schlepp in an old cartoon, who has a series of mishaps, including his car hood popping open and slapping him in the face…. 🙂

          • It’s just thicker wall rubber, it’s not like they are made of lead. I don’t even notice the difference in riding.

      • Sounds like ya need some Gatorskin tires! They’re still pretty darn light and perform well….but hard for anything to get throiugh ’em.

        When I got back into cycling as an adult, I kept getting flats with the stoopit Kenda tires that came with my bike. Switched to Gatorskins and haven’t had a flat in years!

  5. Here in California they’re taking it to a new extreme. What a surprise. They are establishing “Road Diets” which means they are deliberately replacing car lanes with bike lanes in order to not only encourage the use of bicycles but to discourage the use of cars.

    That’s right. They are making driving harder, deliberately, to make you not want to drive. That’s California.

  6. I am embarrassed to say that I used to ride a bicycle on all sorts of roads. While my existence on the road probably annoyed more than one motorist (I know because I could hear the honking), I believe that I still have the right to be on the road as much as he/she does. That said, unlike members of the spandex mafia, I am a motorist first, cyclist second. I think that lanes and shoulders should be widened to accommodate both modes of transportation. The spandex mafia is too politically connected and a blight on the road. If there is a loosely organized gang of them intentionally blocking the road to delay travel, they should all be hit with a lead pipe and sent to jail. There is a palpable difference between someone who is using his bicycle for transportation or sole recreation and these miscreants. Or the ones wearing spandex with their left wing anti car diatribe seething underneath.

    I think that because there are different types of vehicles on the road, the same laws shouldn’t necessarily apply. There used to be different speed limits for trucks as cars. Since a bike is human powered, stopping at a stop sign when no one is not necessary and often inconvenient. A wholesale honest look at enhancing traffic flow for bicycles and cars needs to happen, with a bias towards the people paying the fuel taxes. I’m not holding my breath.

    • Hi Swamp,

      Nice, balanced post. A few points:

      – Some drivers are annoyed simply because you are there, not because you’ve done anything that inconvenienced them.

      – Most of the cyclists I know are considerate and aware. They do not like the activist type cyclist who is anti-car much more than pro bicycle. Certainly all of the cyclists here feel that way.

      – In almost 40 years of wrenching, I’ve only had two customers who didn’t own cars. Cyclists do pay fuel taxes, often more than average folks. Most mountain bikers drive to the trailhead, which is often 3 – 20 miles from one’s house.

      – Finally, I’ve said it, Brent has said it but, it is important. I am far more likely to be inconvenienced/endangered by an auto driver than a cyclist. This happens numerous times, every day. I can’t even remember the last time such an event was caused by a cyclist.

      Cheers,
      Jeremy

      • I have no doubt about that. I haven’t seen these spontaneous bicycle events in a while if ever. They got a lot of publicity at one time. The anti-car disposition of the bicycle lobby is palpable though at least for me. I know because I have a brother who hates cars and loves bikes.

        I know about almost getting hit because I was riding when a UPS truck was within 1 foot of turning me into road pizza on a narrow 11ft lane. Scary shit. That was in 2006-7.

        I rode my bike a lot when I was in FL. Always got honked at regardless of what I was doing. In Texas I rode a bit too, but only on underutilized streets. I didn’t like riding otherwise. Texas road designs suck. No shoulder on anything other than long state highways.

        With the proliferation of cell phones and texting, I have reduced my exposure. I think that the sport is too dangerous for me. It’s sad because I liked doing it. I saved some money on gas by doing it.

        • When I was younger and lived in a suburban type neighborhood with wide, lightly traveled streets I used to cycle quite a bit.

          When I moved out to “the sticks” I took a look at the network of narrow 50 mph roads in the area (which most people travel at 60+ mph), most with no shoulders let alone bike lanes, and put my bicycle out on the edge of the road with a sign saying “Free bike, take me.” (It was just a cheap-ass Kia 10-speed, nothing special.)

          The scenario just looked too damned risky, so got an exercise machine for indoor use instead. A lot of things that are “legal” and one may have a right to do are just not a good idea. I put cycling on those kind of roads in that category.

          • Hi Jason,

            Amen. I know Brent disagrees with me, but – like you – I see it as a matter of self-preservation as well as common courtesy to not bicycle on roads which are too narrow – or too fast – for non-motorized traffic. Any “vehicle” that cannot at least approximately keep up with traffic is both a hazard and an annoyance.

            Limited use, or for necessary reasons (e.g., a tractor making its way a mile up the road to the field that can’t otherwise be reached) is one thing. But it’s another thing to deliberately choose to ride a bicycle at 15 MPH or less on a road where traffic is running 50-60 for miles on end, with lanes too narrow for cars to pass either safely or legally and insist that motorized traffic defer and accommodate.

            It’s a lot like the militant handicappers, who insist that everything be made “accessible” to them rather than accepting that their limitations should not impose a burden on others.

            • Roads that are not pleasant to bike are not deliberately chosen for fun. They are chosen because they are the route from A to B. Usually the route and if not the route the shortest one or the one with the least traffic.

              For instance:

              There was one unpleasant road I biked just about every day in season once upon a time. I rarely bike on it today. Why? Back then I lived on that road. Well a little bit west of where the two lane section ended, but going east meant using that road that according to you folks I shouldn’t use. So I suppose I should have simply restricted myself from going east? I suppose I could have taken the 6 lane road to the south or gone two-three miles north to the even more busy two e-w two lane road. (now four, and mostly under construction to become four when I lived over by there)

              I was nearly clipped by the lead engineer of the group I was working in at the time on that road. He decided I was ‘crazy’ for being there.

              Furthermore the roads you all don’t want bicyclists on are already “accessible”. Your wide vehicles of choice is the problem for that road not the bicyclist. It’s not the bicyclists’ fault your vehicles need the entire width of the lane. You can choose a smaller vehicle or demand a wider road for your needs. The road as it is perfectly “accessible” for bicyclists. It’s the anti-motoring people who demand “bicycle facilities”. Vehicular bicyclists don’t. At the most we demand a wider curb lane for motorist convenience.

              • That road I was nearly clipped on being the one I road nearly every day because I lived on it. Also the six lane was good mile or more south and required me riding another four-to-six lane road and taking an on-ramp to get to because its a grade separated intersection.

            • Eric, the flaw in your argument here, is that the only reason that cars can go fast on these roads, is because Uncle has made it so, by specifically making the public way commodious to vehicles which require a smooth hard-paved surface in order to drive at high speeds.

              You’re essentially saying “Government has made this road to accommodate me, without room for any others, therefore I am entitled to do what government has made it possible for me to do, and anyone else for whom no provision was made when making the road such, should just stay away!”.

              But I do agree, as far as practicality, in what you and Brent and Jason are essentially saying: Given that things are so- there are just places where cyclists and pedestrians whould not venture. And I don’t think most sane people would have any objections, as long as there are reasonable alternatives- i.e. we don’t need to ride or walk on the expressway when there is a perfectly good service road, etc.

              But the problems arise when, say, we come to a bridge which is the only way across something, and there is no provision for cyclists or pedestrians; or like here, where I live, where there are vast expanses where the narrow, shoulderless high-speed roads are just not suitable for walking or riding. I stay off of those roads for safety’s sake [unless, of course i am driving]- but that illustrates the very nature of the problem- and it is very relevant to Libertarianism: Why should it be, because government has taken the public way and made it so that it is suitable for one mode of transport, that we effectively can not walk, run or ride on those roads?

              If they passed a law saying that pedestrians and cyclists and horseback riders were prohibited from using primary and secondary roads, I’m sure you’d be appalled- but yet, if they essentially accomplish the same thing by building a road in such a way so as to make it commodious to cars and trucks, without regard to any others, you think that that justifies a superior right for us when we drive?

              And of course, like I said, in a network of close parallel streets, where there are many alternatives to accomplish the same thing, few but the most lefty-libtard cyclists would complain about staying out of the way of faster traffic- but where there are NO alternatives, and thus vast areas of a county are off limits to cyclists and others…..one’s ability to travel freely is greatly hindered.

              Basically, they can restrict our right to travel by just designing roads in such a way so as to make it so that only registered, insured, licensed vehicles can travel on them…..

              • You got in Nunzio.
                A bicyclist can get by with smooth dirt trail. It’s the design of the road such that it attracts many motorists but lacks features to effortlessly accept motorists and non motorists at the same time that causes the problem. Roads designed to put people in conflict with each other. And you make the good insight that government permission then becomes required to use it once non-motorists are discouraged from it.

            • I should have mentioned that a lot of those narrow, shoulderless roads around here are county highways that see a significant amount of truck traffic. If guys like Brent want to get on their bicycles and argue with 18-wheelers barreling along at 60 mph about who is entitled to be on that narrow patch of roadway, well God bless ’em. You have to pick your battles and that’s one I opted out of.

                • My car can out-accelerate trucks to keep out of their way.

                  If you want to challenge cement trucks and 18-wheelers for your right to space on the road while riding your bicycle you are free to do so. I personally don’t think it’s a very good idea given the laws of physics and all that, but you are certainly within your rights so go for it.

                  • My bicycle can out-accelerate pedestrians, therefore, if they get in my way…tough on them! They take the chance by using the same roads which I use! 😉 (That’s essentially what you’re saying, Jason, is it not?)

                    • I’m not sure how you get from being able to stay out of the way of trucks to running down pedestrians, but whatever.

                      What I’m saying is that some things that are within your rights to do are not necessarily in your best interest.

                      Yes, it is perfectly legal and you have every right to ride your bicycle on narrow roads frequented by large, fast-moving trucks. I just don’t think it’s the best idea in the world.

                      Discretion is the better part of valor.

                    • Hi Jason (and Nunz and Brent)!

                      I am a runner and I think there are some analogs to cycling in that it’s legal for me to run on most roads, as it is legal to cycle on most roads. But I only run on roads when I am forced to, by weather (the trail I usually use is inaccessible because of snow) or because it’s the only option. I would never choose to do it, recreationally – just because there’s no law that says I can’t.

                      Legality doesn’t enter into my decision. Common sense does. Running on roads such as we’ve described – narrow, no or very little shoulder and high-speed traffic relative to my speed – puts me in danger (and I am no Safety Nazi; besides, this isn’t about Safety Nazism as I am only policing myself) and (assuming I can’t run on a shoulder) creates a problem for the motorized traffic, which is forced to slow for me and get around me, assuming I insist on running on the road (as a lot of runners seem to be doing lately).

                      I should have given more attention in my original article to the compounding problem of the width of many recent-new-vintage vehicles. For example, the new Ranger I just wrote about. It is 86 inches wide – about half a foot wider than a ’90s-era full-size pickup.

                      This is not unusual. The new Camaro is also very wide; it takes up almost the entire lane.

                      Wider vehicles means that much less room to pass a cyclist on a narrow road without having to partially (and illegally) cross over the double yellow in order to pass the cyclist with a safe (and legal) margin of space.

                      Which means you’re stuck behind the cyclist traveling at a fraction of the legal/normal road speed for motorized traffic. Which means the cyclist is impeding the normal flow of traffic for the sake (generally) of recreational cycling.

                      That, too, is for me a relevant consideration. Yes, I know some cyclists are using their bikes to get to work. But many – probably most – are just out for a ride. Just as I am out for a run.

                      It’s one thing, in my opinion, to briefly drive a tractor with a top speed of 18 MPH on a road where traffic is flowing (or was flowing) at 60 because you have to. It’s another to ride a bicycle at the same 18 MPH (or less) for 20 miles, for fun – when it’s clear your presence is interrupting the flow of traffic and you could have ridden on a road with speeds (and space) more agreeable for cycles to coexist with motorized traffic without one creating problems for the other.

                      Just my 50.

                      And I grok all the previous points about Uncle’s interferences and the problems he created; agreed. But none of that obviates the practical problems discussed above.

                      And, again – to be very clear: I am not arguing “there oughta be a law.” I am making the case for self-policing, common sense and common courtesy.

                    • Eric,

                      This is an interesting one. Trying to judge reason for use is inconsistent with theory, because, in a vacuum, the desire to ride slow and the desire to drive fast are both equally valid. Such a judgment is not, however, inconsistent with common sense or courtesy. It’s like going to the store and making a huge purchase right before it closes. Technically there’s nothing “wrong” with it, it might even seem less “wrong” than doing the same thing at rush hour, and there might be some circumstances where it is necessary, but most of the time, the guy behind you trying to buy one box of ice cream bars is going to see red when he sees your $200 heaping cartload of school supplies. And so is the cashier, because you’re keeping her from going home on time.

                      It’s like I said in another post below. I could theoretically go ride a bicycle on the road tomorrow. I have a bike that could do it (albeit one that hasn’t been touched in about 6 years). However, I would not dream of inflicting myself on other road users that way. Even as a kid, I rarely rode out of my neighborhood and tried to stay away from the road if I had to leave it. I just believed that was the way things were done, and I still do. Even if I’m driving, I don’t like holding people up behind me, even if I’m well within my rights to do so. Even if I have a perfectly valid reason for going slow (i.e. heavy fog or slippery road), I still feel guilty for it unless there’s no one behind me.

                      That’s why I can’t go for Nunzio’s idea that every public road must be 100% open to 100% of vehicle types 100% of the time. In theory, everyone is equal, in practice, everyone is equally constrained by whoever is most vulnerable, who can then make as big an obstacle of themselves as they like and no one can do anything about it. Such a system could only work in a perfect world where people try not to impede each other and, well, the fact that either of us considers this worth ranting about is proof that we don’t live in such a world.

                    • Hi Chuck,

                      I agree with all you’ve said; and that was also my experience growing up in the ’70s and ’80s. I and all my friends rode bikes back then (very few adults did; this was before Armstrong Fever took hold) but we rode on side streets, through the woods – rarely on busy roads, because it was obvious to us – even as kids of the ’70s and ’80s, pre Safety Cult – that it was both dangerous and obnoxious.

                      I, too, go out of my way to get out of the way of anyone/anything traveling faster than I am – regardless of “the law.”

                      I don’t jog on roads without shoulders, with fast-moving traffic.

                      And I don’t drive my tractor (top speed 18 MPH) down US 221 (speed limit 55, traffic generally running faster) the 20 miles into town, either – even though I technically/legally could do so.

                    • Eric, that’s exactly what I’m saying. I really don’t know (or care) if Brent is just being deliberately obstinate or really is so dense that he just doesn’t get it.

                      An example not involving roads would be that I do not believe it is a good idea to jump out of an airplane. That doesn’t mean that I want to make skydiving illegal or prevent anyone else from doing it just because I think it’s bonkers. It just means that I won’t do it.

                      It’s about what level of risk versus reward you are willing to go with. In my case, bicycling was simply not important enough to me to continue it when I moved to an area where I deemed the roads to be unsuitable. That was my personal choice but it doesn’t mean I have any desire to force it onto anyone else.

                    • Jason, you simply have no clue. I’ve ridden countless two lane roads and the only real danger I have ever faced is from motorists who decided to teach me a lesson about using their roads. Motorists who deliberately ran me off the road. Truckers who saw me and then deliberately chose to cause me trouble for no reason. Like the idiot with the gravel truck who blew his airhorn and brush passed me so close as to where I had to struggle not to be sucked under. For what end? To get to the red signal queue before me. That’s all. When I caught up to him at said light I came up to him in the gutter and this guy said ‘it was a courtesy honk’.

                      The only “safety” problem I’ve experienced riding vehicularly has been the intentional acts of motorists.

                      Now when I used to ride (20+ years ago now) to stay out of the way of motor vehicles then there were all sorts of close calls that weren’t deliberate. Virtually zero ‘road rage’ but a very high incident of accidental near collisions because I was riding in a manner that put me out of sight and out mind for the motorists. (side walk riding for instance)

                      When I switched to vehicular bicycling full time in 1996 the instances where I was nearly creamed dropped dramatically to those very few where the motorists did so deliberately because they didn’t want me on their road or they felt I didn’t belong on that road.

                      I suppose there have been a couple brush passes with totally unaware motorists but even if I add those in it’s still far fewer. Even with the narrow two lane roads.

                    • “growing up in the ’70s and ’80s….[etc.]…”

                      Ditto that, Eric!

                      It may be my right to speak freely, but I try not to say ‘nigger’ too much around my black friend, ’cause it may seem obnoxious.

                      It may be my right, but I might not yell ‘nigger’ to a group of ’em in the ‘hood as i walk past, ’cause it could be hazardous and not conducive to my health….. 🙁

                    • Hiya Nunz,

                      We were lucky, eh? I think so! I often think about that better, vanished time. About riding bicycles all over the place (but not on major roads) with my friends, all of us under 10 when we did this, without helmets, without parental supervision… until it got dark and it was time to head home.

                      Then, riding motorcycles without helmets – it was legal. Not having to “buckle up” in cars and being able to road trip at 16, with my friends…

                      We’ve lost a lot – and the kids of today will never know what they missed.

                    • A store is open for people to purchase things. Of course the grocery store I once worked at rarely closed and when it did we locked the doors. The last customers purchasing things had no bearing on when we went home either. Well if there were no customers we could sometimes go home early but someone with two carts of food never once kept us late. And as the guy with one or few items stuck behind someone with a ton of stuff I blame the store for not having another register open. I become less likely to shop there again.

                      Your analogy thus is quite frankly nonsense. Blame your government for not making the public way suitable for the wide range of the public to use it all at the same time in a manner that you approve of. Imagine for a moment the roads were private. Would you blame the road company or the other customers? Oh wait, your analogy already shows you would blame the other customers.

                      So you have barely any experience doing any sort of bicycling in traffic. Thanks for confirming that. The only people ‘held up’ by vehicular bicyclists are morons. I’ve never had any sort of major issue passing a properly operated bicycle ever.

                    • Runners? Oh don’t get me started about runners. The sidewalk concrete is too hard. The dirt or gravel too soft. The asphalt road is ‘just right’. But they can’t just run on the edge and they can’t run in the direction of traffic either. And any “bike path” becomes their domain. (see: why there are no bike trails)

                      Wide motor vehicles means bicyclists should restrict themselves or be restricted? What? Motorists choose vehicles that make it difficult to get around other traffic so other traffic should just banish themselves or be banished from the public way? Their choice of vehicle makes me inconsiderate?

                      Since we’re talking such things, this morning I was stuck behind some mammoth GM SUV. Older one. Guy couldn’t get it around the turn before the arrow expired. But see, I in my much better performing vehicle was stuck even though he was no where near the limits of his. Well actually he may have been. As I got a good look when he changed lanes to the right I saw his left front wheel & tire was visibly out of balance. This sort of thing is perfectly acceptable I’ve found out and I’m the asshole for demanding people well keep up their vehicles and use them to their abilities for good traffic flow. Yet, when I am on my bicycle operating to the best of my ability, I’m still the asshole. Interesting how that works. Never mind I would be taking that very same turn on my bicycle faster than this SUV did this morning.

                      One thing I’ve noticed in traffic is how some people find their accelerator pedals when I am bicycling but not when I am driving. Some people accelerate so much faster when I bike while others are still painfully slow. Which tells me it’s not just a matter of perspective.

                      I’ve mentioned it before, there’s a left-right set of turns I make on my commute home from work. I have executed this turn set faster on my bicycle than many if not most motorists do. But I would be rude and inconsiderate to use my bicycle on those roads according to many. After all it’s a 45mph speed limit. Although the typical motorist I get stuck behind usually tops out at 22mph. because *gasp* turns.

                    • Brent, I frankly would say that it is you who has no clue.

                      I am simply stating my own personal preference. I am not dictating to you what you or anyone else should do. (If I read Eric correctly, he understands this since his position is essentially the same.)

                      Perhaps in your world I am not permitted to conduct my affairs as I see fit and should be forced to continue cycling even if I deem conditions unsuitable for me to do so. I can’t think of any other reason why you would have a problem with what I’m saying. (To repeat, since there appears to be a problem getting the point across, “unsuitable” refers to my own judgement in how I conduct my own activities. Not yours or anyone else’s.)

                      That’s really all I have to say on the matter since I’m tired of repeating myself. If you don’t get it, you just don’t get it.

                    • Jason, You don’t have a say in my best interest. You don’t have a clue about bicycling in a vehicular manner. You clearly don’t do it. I have untold thousands of miles under my belt since I got my first adult size bicycle in 1982 and began riding roads.

                      You have feelings and feelings do not about to a clue. And like everyone else with feelings you seem to have this idea that your feelings determine the sanity of my choices.

                      I am demanding you bike, I don’t care if you do or don’t, but you don’t get to tell me my choices are wrong from the seat of your automobile. I have the actual experience to make my choices as I see fit.

                    • You’re just acting like an ass, wanting want to engage in mind control, telling others what they can and cannot think.

                      For the record, I do think you are nuts. And there is not a damned thing you can do about it.

                    • I am not telling you what to think. I am calling out your uninformed opinion as an uninformed opinion.

                      Bicycling is a very safe activity and the reason I do it less is not because of the stress of ordinary traffic but the stress of hostile people who deliberately decide to enforce their rule of the road.

                      I don’t run a camera when I am bicycling because some motorist may unintentionally brush pass me. I run it for the assholes who brush pass me, cut in front and slam on the brakes. I run for the assholes who brush pass, park up in front, get out of their vehicle and want to fight. I run it for the assholes who throw objects at me. Those and many other clearly deliberate acts.

                      One day I am at light. To my left in the neighboring lane is a Dodge Neon. Behind me a Ford Taurus. I beat the Neon off the line by a big enough margin that the Ford’s drive can change lanes. They get in the left lane and while passing me the passenger thows a bottle at me and it hits me. But if I were in a car going the same speed as that Neon they wouldn’t have done anything.

                      Those are the problems I have. And I have them on any road at any time. Especially if I pass a motorist. I now wait behind slow motorists because of how many times they have gone into a rage because I passed them. And I pass on the left, when the whole lane is clear as far back as I can see, not in the gutter. The only place I might still even try passing a motorist is in a downtown area.

                      Regular bicycling even on a narrow two lane road even with clovers who can’t drive properly isn’t that big of deal by comparison. It’s not pleasant if there’s much traffic, but I am not going to give up going to places I want to go just because that’s the only or best route.

                    • I think too, Brent, cyclists are just easy pickin’s for nasty people (who seem to congregate especially in the cities!)- Not so much that they have a bone to pick with cyclists per se, it’s just an easy target, whom they can easily outrun. A free opportunity to bully.

                      Like when I was 16 and taking a walk over the Triboro Bridge, on the pedestrian walkway/sidewalk, separated from the traffic by a low cement wall, and someone threw a beer bottle (with beer in it, no less!)* at me for no reason.

                      There are just pricks in this world who take advantage of easy bullying opportunities…and if any cyclist in the past has given them any displeasure, or if they perceive that you are somehow bothering them by your presence; or by occupying space on “their road”, or embarrassing them by not being a weak fat-ass like they are….they’ll really be compelled to do what ever they can to do you some harm.

                      [*=Then a few years later, I had the very opposite happen! While walking over the Marine Parkway Bridge in Brooklyn next to stop and go traffic, a female passenger in a temporarily stopped car gave me a bottle of Heineken, on a hot summer day!]

                    • “We were lucky, eh?”

                      We sure were, Eric!

                      We got in on the tail end of the pinnacle of civilization; the best it had to offer; the last days of paradise!

                      Literally not a day goes by that I don’t think of my childhood and teenage years.

                      And at least some, like you and I, are still able to enjoy good days, since we live apart from the crowd and it’s full matrix of control; and can manage without doing the 9-5 thing; and have the mindset to seek liberty and avoid all of the trappings of tyranny- but yet we must mourn, for we know that it wasn’t long ago, that ALL could have these things, regardless of where one lived. The rarity we have hewed out for ourselves now, used to just be normal life- typical American society.

                      But now the majority have gone to the dark side, and the few like us- the hold-outs- are all that is left of what used to be normal life.

                  • I’ve out accelerated many trucks with my bicycle. So what?

                    Might makes right. Get off the trucks’ roads with your little sheet steel car.

                  • Hi Again, Chuck.

                    I think you misunderstand. I did not say that I think that every public road should be 100% open to all vehicle types all of the time.

                    As long as there is a practical and REASONABLE alternative, so as to not impede the travel of any others, that is fine. e.g. my example of the river crossing or viaduct. It is wrong to exclude any vehicle (or pedestrians) from such if there is no parallel alternative, because it effectively curtails a [person’s ability to travel unless they conform to the single mode of transport for which that infrastructure was designed.

                    All I’m saying is that when building a new public way, or redoing an existing one, it should not be done specifically for one mode of transport to the exclusion of all others.

                    But just like “public” education, or “public” TV or “public” anything, the real problem is that these things are not “public” at all; they are just paid for by the public, without consent or choice, and are merely means of government control; the exercising of gov’t’s agendas; and forced collectivism- which is the real problem. If we were talking truly about the public way in the traditional sense of the word, this whole argument would be moot, because all naturally understand when using a truly public way, that you use it as best you are able, within the capabilities of your vehicle, and as traffic/obstacles permit.

                    Under this current artificial collectivist scheme, when driving,. we all (including me!) feel entitled to maintain a certain unhindered speed, because government has made it so- by making the roads for cars. But we rarely question what gives government the right to do that? (As is the case with pretty much everything gov’t does…they just delegate to themselves that right!).

                    And I do agree with you 100% about one’s purpose for being on the road being totally irrelevant.

                    Not so much these days, but in the past, I’d often pick a weekday to just take off and just go joyriding in my car! Or I’d take a drive at night with friends, going nowhere in particular- just riding around- sometimes 150 miles worth or more!

                    Whether it’s someone going to work, or someone joyriding; A truck carrying goods, or a queer going out to buy a new butt plug; someone going Xmas shopping or someone going grocery shopping; whether driving a car or pick-up or SUV or crossdresser or semi or Amish buggy or bicycle or walking, really has no bearing on anything.

                    The right to travel and use the public way unhindered by government is right up there with the right to speak freely and to keep and bear arms- and just as with the latter, government, is assaulting the former- first by imposing licensing and mandatory insurance and registration (etc.) and making the public way suitable only for that type of use; and now we can see that they have their eye set on eliminating or more tightly controllingt even our ability to use those vehicles for which the roads were designed and for which we have all paid, and have jumped through the various hoops to be able to use said vehicles on.

                    What government can give…it can control and or take away…..

            • Agreed and this is the thing Brent and his type don’t seem to understand. He brags about being able to charge a hill at 25 and come out at 20… in other words, he goes in 10-20 MPH below the already underposted speed limit and comes out 15-25 under. If this was being done by an underpowered, overloaded motorhome, or a scooter, or a tourist too busy gawking at the scenery to drive, then you would say I was perfectly right to be annoyed Brent probably would too. But if it’s a bicycle or a pedestrian doing this, then somehow I’m just supposed to be totally OK with it and not have any objections. And if they want to continue doing it in the middle of the night or on a road that doesn’t even have shoulders, then I’m still supposed to be totally OK with that and not have any objections.

              Or they’ll admit there it’s stupid to park your car in the shadow of a blind corner and walk away from it, but somehow walking or bicycling in the exact same place isn’t.

              I’m sure somewhere in there, there’s some sentiment about how people shouldn’t have to buy into the mandatory tax/licensing/registration/insurance racket in order to use the road. This comes up often when people discuss making bicycles be registered just like cars. Some other people have come up with a different solution, namely getting rid of vehicle registration and its associated recurrent costs altogether. I say, let’s do it, and the sooner the better. It isn’t even necessary; the vehicle title can handle “proof of ownership” duties just fine and it shouldn’t have anything to do with moving violations either as those are tracked per driver rather than per car.

              The rest of you have it right, sometimes it’s really not worth it. You can carp all you want about how the roads can only support high speeds because someone wanted to force us all into cars, but trying to make that unhappen by forcing square pegs back into round holes doesn’t really accomplish much except to force everyone down to the lowest common denominator. I mean, if we’re going to theorycraft like that, then having cars and bikes share the same roads is still sub-ideal. In the end, either way, you’re going to want separate paths for them. A car can’t achieve its full potential with bicyclists around, and, honestly, a bicycle can’t achieve its full potential with cars around. Too bad that, for politicians, spending money on actually useful things is a confusing and scary concept. Well, that and the fact that unions would probably find a way to make the cost unpalatable.

              (Throw in all the other modes of transportation that hold each other back – for example, horses and horse-drawn carriages that could be easily spooked by loud, fast-moving ATVs and dirt bikes despite otherwise having mostly the same optimum terrain – and things start to get complicated. However it’s still not physically impossible. We have plenty of empty space out there, we just can’t use it because enviromeeeeeent.)

              And, frankly, I do see the road as a place for cars first and foremost. Maybe it’s just the way I was raised, I don’t know, but I wouldn’t dream of riding a bicycle on the roadway even knowing I can – and this includes the urban surface streets for now, simply because I’m too out of shape to not make an obstacle of myself at this point.

              This is, once again, why car guy bicyclists bother me. Their loyalties are always split, and for whatever reason, based on my tiny sample size anyway, the loyalty to the bikes always seems to win out.

              It’s like Brent mentioning bicycles on the Nurburgring. Finding out that was allowed seriously made me want to cry. I’m glad he doesn’t think it would be worth the toll, but where’s the revulsion? Where’s the “freaking heck, how could I even think about doing something that wrong?” Is nothing sacred anymore?

              • No Chuck, what I point out is that people -accept- Mr & Mrs Clover out in their RV and say the people who are stuck behind them are inconsiderate assholes while the easy to pass bicyclist who is putting in full effort is the asshole. Never mind the bicyclist may actually be going faster that the RV tourists.

                I’ve seen motorists stop on an EXPRESSWAY to take photographs or gawk at fireworks. And guess what, I was the asshole for finding this unacceptable behavior. But oh how dare I bike on an ordinary road somewhere in perfectly legal manner at the best possible speed I can manage.

                You brought up bicycles on the ‘ring Chuck, not me. Here, ever see this episode of top gear? Look at those fancy sports car drivers getting passed by a woman piloting a Ford Transit. Maybe they should stay home.

                Part 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BQJKQjXpGQA
                Part two: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5KiC03_wVjc

        • I had an expensive bike in the 70s and lived on a FM road with nearly no traffic.

          Then came the oil boom and lots of these do nothing guys in the patch started driving that road at 100mph. I quit riding after several close calls.
          We had some racing carts too that would run over 80mph and those same dicks would tail us instead of going around. It’s not much fun having a car so close you can only see the grill.

          We sold bikes and carts that were brand new because of that.

          Probably not the smartest move but I went out of my way to blow around those same dicks in the El Camino. Some would see me coming and try to outrun me, a futile endeavor with a stock car against 400 hp…..assholes!

          • I find that high speed, wide roads are often safer for cyclists than urban streets. On a per mile basis, its more dangerous to ride on the sidewalk than on a high speed road. I monitor the amount of cross traffic and choose my routes accordingly. Even though bikes only go about 15-20 for distances, I feel safer on a higher speed wide road than high density urban corridors. I don’t like cycling much anymore. When gas was $4.00 a gallon it was nice because there was measurably less traffic.

  7. I almost got hit today by some looney biker blowing through a red light while crossing the street in Chicago. . They need to be arrested. They think traffic laws dont apply for them and I guess they dont.

    • I’ve been yelled at by motorists for stopping at red signals on my bicycle. I’ve had motorists become enraged and violent because they were behind me in a queue at a red signal. While when I am biking I make comments to bicycle riders I have to pass again and again because I stop on red signals there’s no pleasing motorists.

  8. And you call yourself a libertarian? Fucking hell…
    Every human being has a right to be on the road because….well, it called liberty. Look into it.

    • “I’m going to redefine your libertarian beliefs in this retarded way that I just came up with, that somehow validates my shitty lifestyle choice!”

      • Anonymous, I’m going to stamp my feet and hold my breath till……till…..I’m young again dammit. ?

        I bought my first 18 wheeler in 1973 and what did I have strapped to the headache rack?…a Schwinn 10 speed. When I got home for a couple days I blew the soot out of my badass Chevelle and drove to the boonies in my 55 Chevy pickup to go fishing. I never considered myself to have any special right in any of those vehicles. What was I thinking?

  9. God Eric you just hit the nail on the head again…. you have no idea what a problem these guys are causing in the UK…. and its beyond just ruining a weekend drive in the summer on the beautiful country b-roads out here…… they completely tore apart london to make these superhighways…. in the end these militant cyclist still dont use the cycle lanes and prefer the real roads blocking roads and unfortunately getting killed and causing more issues in for drivers. They spend about 5 years blocking one of Londons main east-west roads and reducing a lane for a cycle lane (and spent 100s of millions)…. in the end the cyclist kept using another route as it was slightly shorter. So now every day the cycle roads are empty, the road traffic is at a standstill… and in the end on the other route they do take a couple need up getting squashed, so guess what – the wise overlords above us banned cars all together on the route!!!! and they say this isnt about getting us out of cars….

  10. FWIW I’ve been riding for nearly 40 years and at least 50,000 miles (lost all the logs from the 1990’s), never had an incident with a car aside from some kids trying to impress their friends. I also know how to hold a line, and actively avoid riding in large groups because it is actually pretty dangerous. Leave the Pelion to the professionals.

    • Hi RK,

      I also ride – my motorcycles – alone. I like to keep my own pace and not have to worry about someone trying to keep up with me – or get stressed out and push myself to exceed my own comfort zone attempting to keep up with someone else.

      This may be just me, but I consider certain things – this includes running – to be best done solo!

      • Amen, Eric!

        A lot of the appeal of cycling (motor or bike) is the freedom it offers; the freedom to just go out and ride- where ever you want; follow your whims; see an interesting place, go and explore it! It’s the closest we come as adults to the freedom we experienced as children.

        When cycling becomes a group activity, the main emphasis becomes that of fitting into the group dynamics, and of pursuing a predetermined goal set by others, from which you can not veer.

  11. Thank you for this. That fourth picture is my worst nightmare – bicycle to the left, oncoming car to the right, not enough room to safely slide between them. If you’re going the speed limit, it’s an inconvenience. If you’re not, it’s a very possible manslaughter charge.

    That, honestly, is my biggest pet peeve with bicyclists. You know of a nice hilly, curvy road and you go out there with visions of high speed time attack dancing in your head, but you end up having to tiptoe around every blind corner because there might be a bicyclist (or hiker!) right on the apex when you get there. Somehow, despite the fact that the road is blatantly unsuited for non-motorized use with narrow lanes, poor pavement that could throw a stiffly suspended car sideways, about a foot of shoulder if that with nowhere to go once you’re off it, and every corner blind with crests aplenty, it strikes your average spandex warrior or nature lover as a perfect place for a ride or hike. Of course, the law is on their side – it’s legal to ride and walk on those roads, not so much to attack the road at high speed and hook your tires into the gutter for extra grip. So there is no way to be rid of them. According to another enthusiast from California, even nightfall is no guarantee that these people will have all gone home. It becomes even more annoying when the road really doesn’t lead to anything except some trails and a tourist trap, meaning that these people are frequently recreational hikers & riders who don’t realize – or, perhaps, don’t care – there there are places where they can get their workout without being annoying about it.

    It’s like I said a few days ago on an old article – motorist disdain for bicycles isn’t just because they “don’t follow the law” or “are unpredictable”. It’s because they’re EVERYWHERE AT ONCE, and because of their vulnerability, we all have to drive as if they’re there whether they are or not. Not even on the freeway, not even in the mountains at 2AM can we be free from the prison of liability bicyclists (and pedestrians too) build around us. Remember – the Mulholland racers’ no-death record probably would have been spoiled much sooner, and their ability to race along with it, if road hiking/biking had been A Thing back in the 50s/60s/70s the way it is today.

    So to all the people saying Eric is too hard on bicyclists – if, as you say, you ride unobtrusively and only in appropriate places, then you are not the problem and this article is not about you. This is about the ones who make people late, clog up all the best driving roads, or just (stupidly) expose themselves to high-speed traffic because the law says they can. This is where I break from Eric’s libertarian dogma – if I were to somehow get rulemaking authority over these roads, my very first act would be to whack up big “BICYCLES AND PEDESTRIANS PROHIBITED” signs along them.

    My ideal would be a completely separate network of paths for bicycles wherever space permits. Like, not a wide shoulder or “bicycle ghetto” extra lane, a completely separate path with no connection to any automobile roads, and a nice, sturdy wall where proximity is unavoidable. They don’t have to constantly look over their shoulder for us, and we don’t have to drive on eggshells because of them. It’s a win-win, and probably a better use of tax money than most of the things it gets spent on these days.

  12. Oh God bicyclists are so annoying. Here in Chicago they ripped up perfectly nice roads to put these lanes in that are barely used 5 months out out of the year and make them more difficult for cars. They dont follow any traffic laws going the wrong way down one way streets while giving you the finger and blowing through stop signs. Plus Chicago forces us to subsidize the short term rental stations that of course bleed money. Its all a joke

    • You’ll note my previous comments deriding Chicago’s bike lanes. I want them all removed and the roads returned to the configuration of 1993-4 before they started the nonsense. And I follow every bit of the vehicle code to the letter including those motorists and cops don’t even know.

      The stuff you are complaining about comes from the new urbanists. One of their online gathering places is chi dot streetsblog dot org. They are anti-automobile and pro government control of transportation. You can see how they really feel about bicycling as they oppose good bicycling infrastructure because it doesn’t take road space away from general traffic.

      It is legal to murder bicyclists. You just have to be sober and say the magic words and do it with your motor vehicle.

      • Yes, the New Urbanists/Agenda 21ers in the DOT want to make driving appear uncomfortable and dysfunctional. Any city that uses federal funds for road projects is required to create a bike lane.

      • Hi Brent,

        I mentioned this before, but it bears on this discussion, so:

        The federal Park Service recently repaved most of the Blue Ridge Parkway in my area. It’s a road that is popular with cyclists as well as drivers and (of course) motorcycles. But it is a road that was designed in the 1930s, so it is not designed to be bicycle and car (at the same time) friendly. The lanes are narrow, there are many blind curves and also steep grades that reduce a bicycle’s speed to less than 10 MPH (on a road with a 45 MPH speed limit). This speed disparity is itself dangerous – and the bicycles often hew left/right as the cyclist pumps to keep the bike moving.

        The Parkway is pretty heavily traveled and this (along with cyclists in groups) makes passing either difficult to do legally or illegal to do safely.

        Well, this problem could have been completely eliminated by adding a little width to each travel lane – perhaps even marking out a bike lane on either side. Instead, the Park people brilliantly eliminated what little shoulder/run-off area there formerly was by adding raised asphalt “lips” (apparently for drainage) along the outer edge of the lanes and then huge wooden guardrail barriers. This makes the situation even worse than it was.

        • Eric, west Texas is not bicycle friendly due to high speed limits and near me, the routing of over-width, overweight, over height and length trucks.

          An old friend and I avoid U.S. 180 except the mile or so we must use to get to each other’s house.

          My 30 year old neighbor rides long distances on it without the safety vests my old friend and I use. I’d use strobe lights if it were practical. I’m paranoid on any road, even the high speed Baja badass style road to my house.

          Guys in heavy lighbt trucks pulling huge trailers haul àss and don’t pay attention. If they’d seen as many head on wrecks on a nearby hill that’s steep and blind for either direction as I have they’d slow down. I get far enough to the right as I can and even a bit in the barditch going slow, The only reason I’ve avoided avoid head on there since so many haul àss going up it right in the center.

          I haul my bike to the paved farm road. It would be nice to have a cycling lane but that isn’t a possibility. I look backward more than forward….the same way I drive a big rig.

          Old truckers are old only because they have paid attention for 50 years. There may be a safe road somewhere in west Texas for cycling but I haven’t found it.

          I’ve seen cyclists on a particularly evil farm road that had close fences and lots of oilfield traffic and not uncommonly a rig-up truck hauling a drilling rig substructure….too fast in my opinion. It’s more than dicey when you’re also overloaded with a dozer with a 14 foot blade and meet that substructure on a blind hill as I did one day and was lucky enough to have an open gate into a lease road I managed to slow enough to get into. I had already slowed down for a couple cyclists I passed. I don’t know what happened behind me when they met the rig with the substructure but I never saw their pickup they’d leave at the interstate to ride that road ever again and I’d seen it many times.

          I slow as soon as I see a cyclist but I seem to be the rare exception. For the most part it’s the young driving heavy light trucks and the elderly I fear the most.

        • The road to Hana on Maui should be great for bicycling but it too is a 1930s make-work project. As a result it is narrow and with modern morons driving modern vehicles the blind curves and such pose a hazard.

          However the roads are how they are and arguing that certain traffic be banned just for the convenience of other traffic is just self serving. One could just as well argue that people who use automobiles selfishly and irresponsibly on such narrow roads should get all automobiles banned. Which is of course the position of the new urbanists and those pushing robot cars. By using their argument against bicycling it makes the fight against them all the tougher.

          • Hi Brent,

            I don’t advocate any sort of ban – and hope readers didn’t take my article that way. The issue is largely about self-policing, common sense and common courtesy.

            There are roads where common sense suggests recreational bicycling is not a good idea – for all the reasons already laid out: Narrow lanes; no or inadequate shoulder; speed variance, blind curves, etc.

            Doesn’t mean don’t do it. It just means it’s not the best idea, if it can be avoided – and to do it anyhow and then not make an effort to minimize the problems created (by deferring/yielding to faster-moving traffic) isn’t courteous.

            By way of analogy (it may not be a great one): It’s not illegal to talk loudly in a public place – and I don’t advocate laws banning it. But people who do so are being obnoxious and ought to try not to be.

            • I have to disagree with you about this topic Eric, aside from your justifiable criticism the asshole spandex crowd. The Amish and many of the Mennonites drive their horses and buggies on narrow, curvy, and hilly roads. Many of them also ride their bikes when feasible. It is, after all, a lot easier to hope on a bike than to hitch up a buggy. And what about farm kids? I used to pedal my bike all over the place on narrow roads. Should farm kids be restricted to pedaling their bikes in the driveway unless they can get transported to an urban bike path 50-100+ miles away? I know that you have no desire to ban people from doing these things, but you are telling those people that they lack common sense and common courtesy for using the roads that lead to their own homes and work places.
              Methinks you and several other commenters have inconsistent viewpoints on this issue. On one hand, younger drivers are lampooned for being lazy drivers thanks to the modern nanny devices; yet you and others here are saying that non-motorized vehicles ‘should’ stay off most rural roads so that driving will be easier for you.

              • Brian, for whatever reason, FM roads in Fisher county and Nolan are 70 mph PSL like the counties to the east and Scurry on west for the most part are 75 mph roads.

                Thats not much difference but the average driving speed seems to be much less on the eastern county roads than the western county roads. The weird thing is the eastern roads are wider than the western roads for the most part.

                I guess it’s due to more oilfield traffic or fewer roads but I’d rather ride on the eastern county roads with slower average vehicle speed than the western roads and the east/west 2 lane US highways that have paved shoulders but very fast drivers and a huge amount of overwidth loads…and traffic. It’s much safer in my experience to stay off the busy east/west highways. My traffic safety neon green vest could use some help. I’m considering a vest with flashing strobe lights. Maybe I should build one and market it to cyclists and road workers.

                • Hi 8S, there we fiberglass sticks about 6 feet long with bright orange triangular flags which were designed to be mounted on kids bicycles back then. I haven’t seen those in decades. I had one on my bike. As the driver pedals the bike and wobbles a bit from side to side, especially when pedaling uphill, the motion cause the fiberglass rod and flag to wave side to side. A vest would also help.
                  I found it on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Diamondback-Safety-Flag-6-Feet-Orange/dp/B00MJYPIM0/ref=mp_s_a_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1546466163&sr=8-1&pi=AC_SX236_SY340_FMwebp_QL65&keywords=fiberglass+bicycle+flags&dpPl=1&dpID=31WRekNqahL&ref=plSrch . I think the biggest problem is the fact that there is so little biking going on in rural areas! People no longer expect to see bicycles there. I recall after the crash of ’08 encountering a person pedaling his bike to work before daylight on a very long rural State highway on my way to work. He only had a flashing tail light and a tiny headlight. From then on, every morning I kept in mind that he might be out there on the road too, and often he was. I didn’t mind seeing him at all.

                  • Brian, I recall those flags but never used one. I didn’t ride at night and probably am alive because of it.

                    In college I did ride at night since city streets were well lighted and for the most part there were big lanes designed for parking no one used. We even rode sidewalks and back then I’m sure everyone was glad we did. Toodling along on the sidewalk isn’t dangerous for cyclists or pedestrians since nobody hauled ass on them except where there was no houses or pedestrian traffic.

                    Some bitch clover got it’s period and had no light cycling banned on campus but the city cops didn’t give a shit.

                    These days I give cyclists a wide berth and will change lanes if possible. I even back off the throttle in a big rig since I’m well aware how loud a truck can be right next to it. OTOH, on the open road I’ll flip on the Jake Brake and back out of it when passing a cop with someone stopped making sure I’m in the inside lane.

                    Just for arguments sake, I don’t see how I could possibly be alive having driven millions of miles and still be alive much less never having an “at fault” accident if I wasn’t a defensive driver. The “law” can go fuck itself if it isn’t compatible with what I think is the safe thing to do.

                    I realized a few years ago while getting a 4 foot long CSA ticket I’d never had a DOT Occifer even mention my failure to stop at stop signs when looking for a safe place to pull over and have only once been forced to stop at a place I wasn’t ready to stop for and the little shit wearing a Midland, Texas city badge nearly got his dumbass run over by pulling around me and slamming on his brakes to a stop. To top it off it was on the Midland loop with high curbs, a very poor design. He thought I was overloaded so that should tell you how clueless he was. I pointed out how dangerous that was and he replied his red and blues protected him. Famous last words for lots of cops.

                    There used to be public signs and ads pushing defensive driving, maybe the only thing govt ever did to any benefit.

                  • The purpose of those flags, wasn’t to act as an SMV emblem- as they weren’t that visible from any distance; what they were for, was so that kids on small bikes and such would be visible when hidden by parked cars and the like.

                    People who ride recumbents still use them, since recumbents are low to the ground.

              • Hi Brian,

                To be clear, I am not suggesting any kind of ban; just common sense and common courtesy.

                I could, as an example, legally walk/jog on US 221 (speed limit 55, traffic running 60-65) but is it sound? Is it considerate?

                I biked a lot as a kid, too – but not on main roads and not on roads with high-speed traffic, no or little shoulder and poor sight lines. Because I am not suicidal! Some cyclists seem bullheadedly belligerent about the risks to themselves – and get angry when drivers object to being made an involuntary party to it.

                If people elect to walk/ride bikes on such roads, it seems to me they should be in a state of deference to the motorized traffic, anticipate the need to yield and then do so.

                That’s all!

                • One and only response to the great bicycle war for now.

                  I spent some time thinking about this over the weekend and while I’m too lazy to respond to every post right now, I think your statement about “bullheadedly belligerent” bicyclists hits the nail straight on the head. You mentioned in another post that in its proper place – the urban surface street – a bicycle is functionally similar to a scooter or motorcycle in how it interacts with other traffic. As I was thinking about that, it reminded me of some years-ago issue of Consumer Reports where they reviewed mopeds and a couple of low-end motorcycles, and I realized that within the realm of motorized vehicles, we all just sort of know instinctively, frequently without the need for a law, that not every vehicle is suitable for every operating environment, and that riding an underpowered scooter is dangerous for the rider and annoying for everyone else. Even the off-the-charts-left-wing staff of Consumer Reports mentioned that a 50cc moped is radically inappropriate outside its purview and that if you’d like to tackle tougher operating environments you should upgrade to a 150cc version or a full-on motorcycle.

                  When it comes to bicycles, however, all this reasoning seems to go out the window. Bicyclists (and hikers too!) seem incapable of coming to this same conclusion about their own ways of moving around, and have all kinds of annoying little justifications for why they shouldn’t have to. As irrelevant as slow drivers, animals, parked cars, etc. are to the issue at hand, someone else made a good point about this, from the other direction. They ask, what if it’s not a bicyclist, but a slow or parked car, that’s ruining the mountain pass? I’m asking, how does holding people up, forcing them to make sudden maneuvers, or hiding in the shadow of a blind corner become any smarter or more acceptable just because it’s a bicycle that’s doing it? The fact is they think they are special and want to be seen/treated as such, as much as or more than I’ve ever asked for.

                  I wonder what BrentP would do if he found out the Nurburgring Nordschliefe is technically a public toll road despite being designed as a racetrack and existing for the express purpose of driving fast.

                  To the guy who said I need to build my own private roads – if I were a rich man, I’d do it in a heartbeat, except that the ambulance chasing shysters have apparently already covered off that avenue of escape. Someone could sue if they ran out of talent midcorner and wrecked, so I’d have to keep these roads closed and use them only for myself and friends I could trust. Seems a little wasteful, don’t you think?

                  • Hi Chuck,

                    All of us cyclists here recognize that some cyclists are “bullheadedly belligerent”, we don’t like those folks either. But, you object to all cyclists or hikers being on any road that you would like to drive “flat out”.

                    Please explain why your desire to drive recklessly supersedes my desire to ride on a public road.

                    Cheers,
                    Jeremy

                    • “Please explain why your desire to drive recklessly supersedes my desire to ride on a public road.”

                      Honestly, I think part of it is knowing it’s not justifiable. I know that my preferred style of driving is illegal and dangerous, and so basically depends on the good graces or simple absence of other people. Unfortunately it’s getting harder to find places where those things can be had – I mean, you could probably buid a road on the freaking moon and the bicyclists would still manage to find and claim it – and when I say that some such places should be created or preserved, the response I get is basically “NO! ALL PUBLIC ROADS ARE BICYCLE ROADS SO DEAL WITH IT! NYAH!” So that’s what I mean when I say “bullheadedly belligerent” – an utter unwillingness to admit that there might be a road somewhere that bicycles shouldn’t ride on.

                      Remember the scooters – if a bicycle is a vehicle, then it is an extremely underpowered moped… except that, as far as I know, you don’t see 50cc moped riders running around loudly and belligerently demanding that everyone put up with and expect them 24/7/365 on every road in the known universe, no matter how inappropriate. People just sort of instinctively know that if you want to play with the big boys out on the open road, then you’re gonna need a bigger bike to avoid endangering yourself and annoying everyone around you. This is considered fairly obvious within the realm of motor vehicles so why does it suddenly become scandalous when applied to even slower non-motorized vehicles?

                      Perhaps an analogy will be useful. I’ve mentioned Japan’s alleged blockable roads before, but what I didn’t mention is that, with both “blockable” and “non-blockable” roads, the racers in some areas have different roads strictly designated as “racing roads” for serious driving and “drifting roads” for sideways larking about. As drifting is harder to do within a single lane, the roads set aside for drifting are usually the ones with less traffic, more fish-eye mirrors on the blind corners, and no center-line reflectors. It is a serious faux pas to drift on a racing road or to race on a drifting road, though I assume it is less so if there are no drifters around to care. Now just think what would happen if Japanese street drifters operated like western bicyclists… they’d try to declare every single road with a curve in it a “drifting road”, 24/7/365, even during rush hour, even if the road was completely unsuitable, in the process leaving nothing for grip drivers to enjoy. Bicyclists to me are the same way – if people like Brent are any indication, they’d rather not give drivers in general any place they can enjoy. That’s why I came up with my idea of a time split – that way both recreational riders and recreational drivers can enjoy the road AT DIFFERENT TIMES and not have to look out for each other.

                      As for driving flat-out – among street racers it is traditional to hold back slightly in case of oncoming traffic and, in some areas, to stay out of the oncoming lane for the same reason. I don’t mind giving these considerations, or waiting for late hours when there is little traffic. However I would still like to be able to gutter drop… and when it gets to the point where I can’t even use the right side of the lane without running over a bicyclist like Brent who rides right on or just to the left of the shoulder line, then I’m going to start getting upset.

                      Maybe another analogy would help… remember when you were young and still living at home? Remember looking forward to your parents leaving the house so you could have the place to yourself for a few hours? Remember getting shot down by your mother taking forever to actually leave and then going “Oh I need you to do blah blah blah and blah, make sure you have it all done by the time I get back, LOL!” Yeah, it was her house and her right to order you about, but did that make the inability to be left alone even when you literally were alone any less annoying? It’s the same with the bicyclists – because of their vulnerability, they’re never gone, even when they are.

                      Perhaps some of it is the way I was raised. I was born in 1995, but to unusually old parents, so had some genuine Boomer influences in my upbringing. Meaning that cars – hot cars – were seen as desirable and bicycling was just how you got around (or larked around) until you were old enough to drive. Thus, even when I rode a bicycle, it never really occurred to me to make an obstacle of myself on the road.

                      There’s more to it than even that, though. People like you and I know that hot cars don’t even need a reason to exist, but there are many people in car culture who believe that since most people AREN’T in car culture, generic “errand cars” like Camrys and Accords don’t need to be fast, tunable, field-repairable, or even entertaining to drive. If the racetrack is the only place where “intense driving” can happen, then there really is no reason for ordinary cars to have aspects of sportiness… so if the bicyclists successfully take over the backroads in particular, then so-called car people who embrace half-automated crossover trash because “most people aren’t car enthusiasts” win.

                  • Everyone has their own idea of the proper place for bicyclists. Add them all up and nothing is left.

                    Again, merely being on the road isn’t asking someone to take up undo cognitive load. That’s the load you signed up for by using the public way. As those who do, well they can come with any vehicle. Like the idiots who change lanes in front of me and then I pass using the lane they vacated. That’s making someone look out for you, not merely using the road properly.

                    As to the ‘ring I see no reason to pay to use bicycle on it. They’ll let pretty much anything on it so long as the person pays.

                    • “Again, merely being on the road isn’t asking someone to take up undo cognitive load. That’s the load you signed up for by using the public way.”

                      Except that you have personally admitted to riding in such a way that I would basically have to stick to the center of my lane, or even hug the center line depending on how narrow the road is, just to avoid all the places you could be hiding. That’ll be really fun if a wide vehicle comes the other way.

                      “As those who do, well they can come with any vehicle.”

                      Entirely different class of hazard as I have said many times.

                      “As to the ‘ring I see no reason to pay to use bicycle on it.”

                      I’m genuinely surprised by this, because you seem to me like the kind of person who really might try. Here’s the real question, though – do you think bicycles should be allowed there? Or, closer to home, the snowmachine trails of Michigan – do you think you should be able to get a mountain bike and ride those? In other words, is there any situation in which you would approve of a piece of infrastructure being set aside for a specific vehicle type?

                    • This whole thing reminds me of when I lived in NYC in the late 70’s and early 80’s. At that time, there were no accommodations on many of the river crossing bridges for pedestrians or cyclists.

                      If I wanted to walk to midtown Manhattan from where I lived in Astoria, Queens, there was no way to get across the 59th Street Bridge- you either had to drive; hop on a bus, or take the subway through the tube under the river.

                      Why should it be, that a “public” work which we all pay for, is only suitable for motorized traffic?

                      Then, at some point in the 80’s, they took a lane on the bridge and made it a pedestrian and bicycle lane…and so on most bridges- but the very idea that one could not even walk across these bridges at one point, was absurd.

                    • I ride in a 100% legal, safe, and vehicular manner. It is you Chuck who can’t deal with traffic on the public way. The only way I could ever satisfy you is to stay home. Even if I should take my newer Mustang out and drive it as hard and fast as I am comfortable with you’d still complain. How dare I use the public way when you want it as your rally course! Here’s a simple solution, behave like you’re using the public way! Don’t over drive your sight lines. Or maybe stay home or take the bus.

                      It’s not a different class of hazard. Let’s say I am out there in my stock 1973 Maverick with its manual drum brakes and I am operating it as if it is car 50+ years behind the technology curve and you come around a curve in your modern vehicle like it’s a road rally. You wouldn’t be any less annoyed.

                      Bicycles are allowed on the ‘ring.
                      http://www.nuerburgring.de/en/drives-fun/experiences/day-trips/mountainbiking.html

                      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D5X8a827ijE

                      I simply seeing no reason to pay to ride what does not seem like a more interesting road for bicycling than others without a toll.

                      Snow machine trails are obviously not the public way. But here’s something I’ve encountered, snow machines on the bicycle trail or their tracks. Which as I stated before there isn’t such a thing as a bike trail because all bike trails are multi-use because very other form decides bicyclists must share. Then they put on speed limits and other restrictions on the bicyclists. After awhile some will even demand bicyclists be removed.

                      Chicago has the lake front bicycle trail. Except it’s used by anything and anyone you can imagine getting on it including CPD cruisers. Other than bicycle users have been complaining about bicyclists using the trail for decades. So now there are speed limits in places and other restrictions. So much for the bicycle highway.

                      But it would be an affront to you if a bicyclist dared use a trail for snow machines. (never mind the conflicting seasons).

                      Even the bike lanes in the city get taken over by other users. Bicyclists always have to share and eventually get told even the space that was supposedly made for them they can’t use in a way suitable for them or at all.

                    • “Why should it be, that a ‘public’ work which we all pay for, is only suitable for motorized traffic?”

                      On one hand I get what you’re saying, on the other hand, if we take that to its logical conclusion, then bicycles also have to be allowed on the ‘Ring (unfortunately it seems like they are), and delimited sections of autobahn, and snowmachine trails, and anywhere else that’s technically publicly owned whether bicycles fit there or not. In the end, you become an extreme version of the bad drivers who demand that everyone’s driving be dumbed down to their level, and once again I quite frankly do not see how not having an engine makes that any more acceptable.

                      “I ride in a 100% legal, safe, and vehicular manner. It is you Chuck who can’t deal with traffic on the public way.”

                      Dude, no. You ride in such a way that you’re not really on the road but not really off it either, using a “vehicle” that 100% cannot keep up with traffic. A bicycle, even with a rider in decent shape, will struggle to exceed 10 MPH on an uphill and can maybe burst to 30 on flat ground; in either case you’re putting yourself in the way and making people maneuver – perhaps suddenly, depending on where the encounter takes place – to avoid you. We all agree that this is annoying and obnoxious when drivers do it, so again, why does not being a driver make it better somehow?

                      “The only way I could ever satisfy you is to stay home. Even if I should take my newer Mustang out and drive it as hard and fast as I am comfortable with you’d still complain. How dare I use the public way when you want it as your rally course!”

                      Actually, no. I’d probably be happy to see you out there in your Mustang. That’s why I object to people saying I should just build my own private roads. Until more common-sense liability laws can be realized and I can open them to all drivers, it would be wasteful and pointless to do so. I’m not just out to give myself a place to drive, I’m out to give everyone a place where they can really drive. The unfortunate fact is, such a place can’t be privately owned right now because of said liability issues.

                      “It’s not a different class of hazard. Let’s say I am out there in my stock 1973 Maverick with its manual drum brakes and I am operating it as if it is car 50+ years behind the technology curve and you come around a curve in your modern vehicle like it’s a road rally. You wouldn’t be any less annoyed.”

                      It very well is a different class of hazard. I come up on you in your Maverick, it might or might not be somewhat annoying. I come up on you on your bicycle, I might not even know it until it’s too late, because you’ll still be going slower than even the crummiest car. At least the Maverick can pull up hills at roughly the same speed that it goes down them and is, again, probably easier to see coming. One is potentially slightly annoying, one is potentially hugely catastrophic. That’s what I keep saying – it’s not about having to slow down for any given individual. With that, you just slow down when there’s someone in front of you and speed up once you’re past them. If that was all there was to it, I wouldn’t consider it worth starting a huge argument over. What really burns me up about bicyclists is not having to slow down when they’re actually there, it’s having to slow down when they’re not there because they might be.

                      Motor vehicles usually make their presence somewhat obvious and the ways of dealing with them are pretty standard. Bicyclists and hikers, meanwhile, tease with a road that looks clear while threatening with the possibility that it might not actually be.

                      “Bicycles are allowed on the ‘ring.”

                      Seeing this statement actually made me want to break down and cry.

                      “Snow machine trails are obviously not the public way.”

                      Well, technically their maintenance is paid for by usage permits, but it is still a path from one point to another which is not tied to or contained by any one individual’s property. You would think that would put them in exactly the same category as a toll road, but for snowmobiles. However if all it takes to “libertarianize” the concept of a monomodal road is a $47 annual pass, then that’s a price I would GLADLY pay for never having to worry about bicycles again. Even if it turned out to be much more than that, I’d still find a way to do it.

                      “But here’s something I’ve encountered, snow machines on the bicycle trail or their tracks. Which as I stated before there isn’t such a thing as a bike trail because all bike trails are multi-use because very other form decides bicyclists must share. Then they put on speed limits and other restrictions on the bicyclists.”

                      “Chicago has the lake front bicycle trail. Except it’s used by anything and anyone you can imagine getting on it including CPD cruisers. Other than bicycle users have been complaining about bicyclists using the trail for decades. So now there are speed limits in places and other restrictions. So much for the bicycle highway. ”

                      But wouldn’t the same arguments apply here? Assuming those trails are public, why should people have to buy bicycles to use them? Shouldn’t they be open to everyone? You can’t demand that drivers unflinchingly accept bicyclists on a public road, then turn around and complain about pedestrians getting in your way on a public trail.

                      “But it would be an affront to you if a bicyclist dared use a trail for snow machines. (never mind the conflicting seasons).”

                      It’s not that I’m worried about snowmachine trails in particular, it was just an example of a theoretically government-run route being set aside for a specific type of use. Is there any possible situation where you would consider that acceptable? (For the reason why this is necessary, see my above comments on private roads and liability.)

                      “Even the bike lanes in the city get taken over by other users. Bicyclists always have to share and eventually get told even the space that was supposedly made for them they can’t use in a way suitable for them or at all.”

                      You could replace “bicycle” with “car” and “bicyclists” with “drivers”, and the whole paragraph would still be completely true. Lest you think I’m just being obstinate, remember that Mulholland Drive was originally conceived as “a scenic byway for the road enthusiast”… not as a hiking trail or an upscale residential road, which are what different parts of it eventually turned into.

                      That’s the thing that really bothers me about this. Both of us have strong attachments to places that were never explicitly ours, but which used to be better suited to our respective recreational activities than they are now. Both of us are upset at the people who made them unsuited. And yet, your anger is somehow justifiable and mine isn’t. You can complain about not having anywhere decent to ride your bike, I can’t complain about not having anywhere decent to drive my car. What’s up with that?

                    • Chuck, you’re replying to more than my post here.

                      I ride on the roadway. My wheels are on the roadway. That’s 100% legal. It is also 100% legal to use the shoulder.

                      I’ve charged hills at 25mph or more and didn’t lose more than 5mph when I got to the top. And even if I did lose more so what? I’ve also held 25-30 mph on flat ground for miles if the wind was at my back. But that’s irrelevant. You’re grasping at straws to justify your bias. You and those like you simply will come up with one BS argument after another to demand bicyclists be removed from the road. If you have to maneuver suddenly because of a vehicular bicyclist like myself you’re a moron and you shouldn’t be on the road. I have _NEVER_ had to maneuver suddenly for a bicyclist. Not once. Well except when I’ve been biking on a “bike trail”.

                      No you wouldn’t be happy to see me out there in any of my cars because I drive within my sight lines on public roads. I would be a hazard to your road rally. Unlike you I don’t have a problem passing solo bicyclists who ride vehicularly.

                      You wouldn’t know until it’s too late when I have slowed to 30mph in my old car to be able to stop fast enough around the blind corner either. Learn to drive on the public way. Learn to understand it is not your private rally course.

                      If you can’t see a bicyclist well in advance you shouldn’t be on the public road. Bicyclists are easy to see in daylight if you’re not over-driving your sightlines. And they are apparent at night as something quite odd if properly equipped, like my bicycle.

                      You’re the one who keeps bringing up bicycle trails and other trails as if they are the place for bicycles. I am simply telling you the reality of the situation. There is no such thing as a bicycle trail. If all the haters were listened to absolutely everywhere would off limits to bicyclists.

                      You argue the roads should be your rally course and bicyclists can’t even have the f’n bike trail that was supposedly built for bicycles to travel at a reasonable leisurely pace of 15mph let alone 25mph. 8mph speed limits are imposed. EIGHT MILES PER HOUR. I’ve tried to go 8 mph. It’s practically impossible to go that slow without simply rolling without even pushing the pedals with any force.

                      Automobiles use general traffic lanes and if you recall I am against bicycle lanes and for general traffic lanes.

                      No we aren’t the same. You want bicyclists banished I don’t want motorists banished. I want motorists to learn how to operate their vehicles properly and then do so.

                      I don’t understand people like you who get so bent out of shape about bicyclists. I’ve encountered maybe two obnoxious bicyclists (shoulder passers, lane splitters at lights) in the last five years or more when I’ve been driving. Bicyclists simply aren’t an issue to me at all. I pass 99.99% easily without issue. I have more issues with clover motorists in one morning commute than all the bicyclists put together for the last decade.

                    • Maybe you could post a video of yourself “driving by line of sight” because on one hand I seriously doubt you’d cause me any kind of problem but on the other hand, who knows.

                      As to the slow Maverick. I actually tend to be pretty accepting of people who at least do the speed limit… I mean, we’re pretty far from anywhere, they probably think pulling over to let me by would get them raped and murdered. Nothing I can do about that. Even bicyclists who manage to do the posted or above, I know I don’t really have a right to be annoyed even though I probably will be. But that’s also not what I’m worried about. What I’m worried about is the possibility of a surprise, and I’m sorry but that really is more likely to happen with a non-motorized than motorized road user. It’s like I said before – I just don’t want “first contact” to involve any actual contact. What happens after that is a completely separate issue.

                      You say you’ve charged hills at 25 MPH and only lost 5 MPH – congratulations, you’re still 15 under posted and 20-25 under what would be a reasonable “normal driving” speed especially if there was no threat of an NMT encounter. You’ve also reached the point where it actually hurts to go that slow for any length of time – especially up a steep hill. And the hill I’m thinking of, is not the kind of hill you can enter at 25 and leave at 20 anyway. I don’t even know what the grade is, but when you’re on it it feels like it could be 25 degrees. It’s steep enough that a bicyclist can coast down it at about 45 – but I pity the people who had to deal with him on the uphill. I mean, some reasonably powerful cars struggle to keep their speed up on that hill. And it never. Freaking. Ends. A good three miles or more of uphill slogging, with lots of blind crests and corners too. Even steeper terrain to the north, sheer cliff to the south (and without a guardrail for most of it). It would take a man as strong as Hercules to ride that ascent without becoming an obstacle or a surprise.

                      Since you mentioned lights: it’s not about how easily your LED bike lights can blow someone’s eyes out at close range, it’s about how recognizable you are at a distance. If I see a pair of large red lights ahead throwing some “glow” around, then that’s probably a car. If I see some pinpricks of intense red light staring at me out of the darkness, I probably won’t immediately know what it means. I’ll know I should avoid the lights, but how wide is whatever they’re attached to? And what are the odds of whatever they’re attached to veering into my path as I pass by?

                      But let’s suppose none of that happens. Let’s say you can ride indefinitely at a speed spot you a decent distance before we actually meet and are far enough to the right that I can pass you without going an undue distance in the oncoming lane. If all those conditions can be met, then you really are not a problem… but there’s still plenty of people out there who:

                      -Are walking, so will be going maybe 10 MPH if I’m lucky
                      -Are wearing dark clothes
                      -Are walking/riding against traffic
                      -Have little or no illumination
                      -Have earbuds in, so are completely unaware of approaching cars
                      -Who knows what else

                      If you’re can ride without being in the way, then that’s fine by default (though I’m still of the opinion that there are some places where it is physically impossible for a bicycle to not be in the way unless you stick a small engine to it as some people do). But when you’re riding a bike, you’re much closer to being a problem, all the time – having to give it all you’ve got just to reach the bare minimum, or not even.

                      As for the trails, I didn’t say you couldn’t have the trails. I’d be happy to see more and better fully-separate bikeways. What upset me was the implication that ONLY bikes deserve this consideration and cars should be doomed to multimodal roads for all eternity. If you want places that are only for bicycles, I’m right with you on that one, but I also think cars should get the same luxury.

                      As for speed limits on bike trails, I will agree that that’s freakin’ stupid. Even beyond the fact that most bicycles don’t have speedometers, the whole thought just chafes me anyway. If you forced me to ride a bicycle, I’d just start looking for a nice secluded trail to race it on, or a hill to jump it off.

                    • What makes you think I have an LED head lamp? It’s halogen baby. And I’ve had people think a motorcycle or a car with a headlamp out was headed there way only to tell me such as I peddled up to them.

                      I don’t want places for only bicycles. YOU DO. You’re the one telling me I should only be in bicycle only spaces. I am telling you they don’t exist. And for every one of those spaces there’s someone else saying bicyclists don’t belong there either. That if we listened to every person like you the only choice would be to stay home.

                      Furthermore on “bike trails” you can’t seem to grasp that they can’t be used as even bicycle highways let alone a bicycle racecourse as you want to use the public roads. Thus your argument that bicyclists have the sort of race course you want the roads to be for you is nonsense.

                      It comes down to you grasping at any straw you can to demand that people you don’t approve of stay off the public way. To that, I say too bad. Actually I say something with curse words in it, but the meaning is the same. It’s the public way and bicyclists are traffic. Learn to deal with traffic or build your private race course.

                    • ***”On one hand I get what you’re saying, on the other hand, if we take that to its logical conclusion, then bicycles also have to be allowed on the ‘Ring”****

                      Ah, that’s the problem with collectivism(communism) where the state takes it upon themselves to take land and money from it’s citizens, and construct an infrastructure which is primarily designed for one purpose- but which all have a right to.

                      When they construct that infrastructure to favor one specific use, then we the people start fighting among ourselves over how that infrastructure should be used, and who gets to use it.

                      Imagine if this illegitimate government did not exist, and roads were merely well-used paths, or a varied collection of surfaces maintained by those who lived along them; or if some were private- that you paid to use, when and only IF you used them?

                      Then these arguments wouldn’t exist, because no one would claim any right to use a road in a particular way. Bicycles and other slow-moving vehicles could be banned from private roads at the owner’s discretion- since those roads would not have built on land forcibly taken from others, with money forcibly taken from all; and of the common locally-maintained roads, no one is going to say “I have a right to go 50MPH here”- it would be a matter of driving as conditions allow- including responsibly dealing with other road users, be they cyclists or lawn-mowers or livestock, etc.

                      My point being, Chuck, is that you seem to be coming at this with the attitude that the state has the right to make the public way into an environment which is suitable only for one specific use- like “This road was made for cars, so any other users should just stay off of it because you do not have the right to impede my right to maintain 70MPH”. (Yeah, I tend to feel that way too sometimes, when I’m driving one of my trucks and get stuck behind a 12′ wide farm implement going 5MPH in an 8’ wide lane where there is nowhere to pass! 🙂 ) but the point is, that government has no right to decree that the public way be turned into an environment which is only suitable for one type of vehicle/use- just as it has no legitimate right to take over a street and decree that cars are banned from it, and that it is only for bicycles and pedestrians (and yet it is doing that very thing in many cities!).

                      But notice how they get us to fight among ourselves, when in fact THEY are the common enemy. And some- like these retarded activist cyclists, have taken that fighting to a whole new level (And some motorists too- kinda expressing attitudes similar to yours)- and in which cases, they actually become pawns that can be manipulated to do the work of the government by advancing it’s agendas [Like the activist cyclists war against cars; in conjunction with the environMENTALists, are now unpaid soldiers in the gov’t’s promotion of the UN’s agenda against personal mobility and freedom via eliminating cars (And after that, they will then likely come for the bikes!)

                    • 1. How can I tell you don’t want bicycle-only spaces, after all, you were complaining about non-bicyclists using the trails.

                      2. Why wouldn’t you? Everything works better in a dedicated space, not just cars.

                      @Nunzio: great idea except for the liability problem. The only reason mountain pass roads exist at all in the modern age is because there exists an entity which can make them available without getting sued every time someone runs out of talent midcorner. If the government could be sued the way a private landowner can, every state would soon enough be cursed with Nebraska’s road layout.

                      The one possible workaround – the state snowmachine trail “not technically the public way because you pay different fees to use it” system – is possible but doing it in such a way that it wouldn’t gum up commerce and raise the prices of consumer goods would take some doing.

                      Also, I doubt the Agenda 21’ers will be coming for the bikes anytime soon. A 10lb conveyance that tops out at 30MPH on flat ground and can only go as far as the rider’s stamina will carry them, isn’t much of a threat to a police state.

                      (Japan, as much as I hate to extol anything they come up with, has a different solution. They don’t really have eminent domain the way we do, so their expressway companies, even if government-owned, have to buy or rent the land they build on the way anyone else would. This would be similar to the snowmachine trails that frequently run across leased land and pay for their own upkeep via (surprisingly cheap) usage permits. The resulting roads are all tolled and can be a nightmare to navigate, but still. Whatever it takes…

                    • Chuck- Please don’t think I’m slighting you here, just gotta keep it brief due to time constraints.

                      Liability. Without government, it would be our duty to ensure our own safety/be responsible for the risks we take. Who would hold another liable, or enforce a penalty?

                      True- smooth-paved mountain pass roads likely wouldn’t exist- because those who would use them would likely not consider it worthwhile to foot the cost of their construction and maintenance. It is government, which makes us collectively all pay for such things, which creates these works.

                      So what? Maybe there should be places that are NATURALLY off-limits to those who are not willing to deal with the conditions which must be braved to access such places? Then we’d still have areas of wilderness; places where one could dwell alone; etc.

                      You want to see the view? Climb the mountain. Why should someone else be burdened so that you can comfortably drive up that mountain?

                      This type of stuff is exactly what I’ve been talking about. We live in an artificial construct, created by the collectivism which government has imposed on us. We’re so used to it being this way now- as it has been such for a century now- that we consider it normal; our “right”- even though that artificial right is the very thing which ultimately destroys our natural rights.

                    • How can you tell Chuck? Because I told you early on. Directly.

                      There’s no such thing as a useful dedicated bicycle space. They will never exist. I already told you this. First attempts are almost entirely idiotic designs created by anti-motoring dunderheads who care more about impeding motor vehicle traffic than bicyclist travel speeds and safety. These facilities are garbage and wide curb lane for general traffic is better.

                      Secondly if a space is free of motor vehicles and get people from a to b it will immediately be invaded by pedestrians, roller bladers, dog walkers, children playing, and all sorts of other non-bicycle riding people. And of course the idiots on bicycles who plod along side by side blocking progress.

                      If bicyclists insist upon fast efficient travel these forces then combine to banish fast bicyclists if not all bicyclists from the facility.

                      3rdly with special government created spaces come more rules, restrictions, taxes, fees, checkpoints, and more.

                      The agenda 21ers will be coming for the bicyclists eventually. I can be 50 miles away from home in a couple hours on a bicycle getting to places they don’t want the peasants, serfs, and slaves getting to. Part of the ‘Things to Come’ future is to make sure we can’t get anywhere more than a couple three miles from home without government permission or monitoring. Bicycles don’t fit that.

                  • “Bicyclists (and hikers too!) seem incapable of coming to this same conclusion about their own ways of moving around, and have all kinds of annoying little justifications for why they shouldn’t have to.”

                    Chuckeeee,

                    What you have to realize, is that these environments which may seem suitable to fast-moving motorized traffic, were artificially created to accommodate that traffic by converting what is/was rightly the public way- only, by making that way suitable for one form of transport, but not allowing room for any others, they effectively prevent all others from using that public way.

                    It’d be like if they turned the road in front of my place into an expressway or interstate:

                    It would effectively prevent me from going down the road on my tractor; from riding my bicycle; from even crossing it and going a few feet on my mower, to mow across the street on the front of my neighbor’s.

                    It would essentially be the same as making a decree that no one shall use this road except for vehicles that can go 70MPH.

                    What right would they have to do that?

                    There are lots of stupid and belligerent cyclists out there, T’is true- but just because a road was paved smooth and can accommodate a car going 40MPH around a blind curve, does not mean that you have the right to drive around that curve if you can’t do so without being able to see far enough ahead to avoid slower-moving or stationery objects that may be in the road.

                    Never mind bicycles; suppose there is a stalled cement truck?!

                    If cyclists have nowhere else to go, except on the roadway; and the lanes are so narrow that a vehicle can not pass them without crossing into oncoming traffic, that doesn’t somehow justify barring cyclists from using that road. As a public way, cars, cyclists, Amish buggies, horses, pedestrians, etc. all have the right to use that road- and if space on that road is limited, we all have an obligation to operate in such a manner as to be able to see and avoid other traffic/users/objects.

                    Same goes for cyclists vs. pedestrians. We don’t just have the right to maintain a given spped, just because the road may have been desinged and posted to allow that speed. Such a speed is the “maximum” speed- where and when conditions warrant. If limited sight distances, etc. keep us from operating within our braking range, then the answer is not to eliminate anything which may get in our way, but rather for us to drive in such a manner so as to not exceed our braking ability.

                    • “What you have to realize, is that these environments which may seem suitable to fast-moving motorized traffic, were artificially created to accommodate that traffic by converting what is/was rightly the public way- only, by making that way suitable for one form of transport, but not allowing room for any others, they effectively prevent all others from using that public way.”

                      And so the solution, absent any upgrades, is to awkwardly force nonmotorized movement back into those spaces even though it no longer fits?

                      “It’d be like if they turned the road in front of my place into an expressway or interstate:

                      It would effectively prevent me from going down the road on my tractor; from riding my bicycle; from even crossing it and going a few feet on my mower, to mow across the street on the front of my neighbor’s.

                      It would essentially be the same as making a decree that no one shall use this road except for vehicles that can go 70MPH.

                      What right would they have to do that?”

                      Different roads can have different designs for different purposes. A residential road is not an interstate, and a mountain pass is neither of those things (at least until the greedy property developers find it, that is). Of course the street in front of your house has to allow for children playing and people backing out of driveways, but what about a different road built as an intercity thoroughfare, or located miles from anywhere and leading to nothing? Are you saying that faster roads shouldn’t exist at all because they aren’t compatible with nonmotorized traffic?

                      If one were to follow your line of reasoning to its conclusion, they would end up, as I said above, becoming an extreme form of the bad driver that wants everyone else dumbed down to their level. That’s the exact attitude – the “if I want to be slow and obstructive then y’all can just DEAL WITH IT” attitude – that has inspired many rants by Eric on this site (including the very one we’re conversing on) and by myself elsewhere.

                      I mean, even on residential roads, there is etiquette. Just because people should expect children and pedestrians and slow drivers, does not mean it would be right to saunter stubbornly down the middle of the road, forcing everyone to find a way around you, knowing they’re there and just not caring.

                      And here I thought this site was against shackling everyone to the lowest common denominator.

                    • ***”Are you saying that faster roads shouldn’t exist at all because they aren’t compatible with nonmotorized traffic?”***

                      Nay, nay. I’m saying that people should drive (and ride) in a manner suitable to conditions and traffic.

                      Ultimately, all roads whould be constructed in a way so as to accomodate everyone- by simply having a wide-enough right-hand lane, or a shoulder.

                      I used to think somewhat like you, Chuck. I’d be driving, and think “This is the road, and it is for traffic. It is everyone else’s responsibility to stay out of the way”.

                      But the more I got into the philosophy behind these ideas, I came to realize that we as drivers are the interlopers. We are given a privilege (which the entity giving it to us has no right to give) in that we are operating a vehicle which can only operate on a smooth surface. Government has taken upon itself the prerogative of constructing a vast network of infrastructure to accommodate our vehicles. So when we feel entitled to drivie in a certain way upon those roads, really, what we are saying is that “Uncle made these roads for ME, and I will use them fully for the purpose for which they are designed!”. By doing so, we are giving license and assent to the government’s usurpation. It’s the same mentality as that of cyclists who want cars banned or who want a specific infrastructure built to accommodate them. Neither perspective is legit; both are based on the assumption that government has the right to decree who may use the public way, and how and why.

                      I live in a very rural area, where people tend to “get it”, because here, if you overdrive your sight lines, you’re likely to run into a tractor around that curve or over that hill, which is going 5MPH; or someone’s bull that got out and is now standing in the road (Happened to one of my neighbors…$1900 in damage to his minivan)…or someone on a hosie….etc. Yet, these are essentially 60MPH roads- and we certainly drive 60MPH on them whenever practical- but those who insist on just doing 60 and never slowing down regardless of what may be around that curve or over that hill….end up hitting things- and it’s always their fault, and they are liable.

                    • Frankly, I’m just as much in favor of there being bicycle-only paths as of there being car-only roads. I can sort of see where you’re coming from, but this is where what should be starts to conflict with what is. I’m sorry, but having every road be for every mode of transportation really is just a way to hold everyone down to the lowest common denominator. The government may not be infringing on anyone’s freedom under such a system, but instead you have everyone infringing on everyone else’s freedom just by being there. Cars can’t even use a fraction of their full potential because they’re constantly looking out for walkers and bikers, who in turn have to constantly look over their shoulder for cars. Such a system, even if it ensures everyone has an “equal right” in theory, just ends up devolving into a moral tyranny on behalf of whoever is most vulnerable. It’s like BoP racing – no one’s car can be faster than the slowest one on the grid, because that wouldn’t be “fair”.

                      I say, it’s time to bring back separate but equal, but apply it to modes of transportation instead.

                      Maybe you think the government shouldn’t be in the business of building roads at all, and that that should be left up to private landowners. Interesting idea, with one big problem – liability. In theory, there’s nothing stopping someone even right now from building a road across their property, charging a fee to use it or just leaving it open, and deciding for themselves who’s allowed to use it… but they’d be taking a big risk in doing so, because if someone so much as stubs their toe on your property then it’s lawsuit time. Someone tries to race on a government road and goes off a cliff, that’s their fault. Someone tries to race on your road and goes off a cliff, that’s your fault for not putting a gate across the entrance. Is it morally your fault if someone gets hurt on a road you made to race on? I really don’t know, but the system doesn’t care. I hate that fact as much as you do, but for now, public ownership is required to keep the ambulance-chasing shysters at bay.

                    • Hi Chuck,

                      I’m with you on this… for me, it’s a common sense/common courtesy issue. Horses for courses. It is perfectly legal to drive a Corvette in the snow. Does it make sense? Is it courteous? What happens when you get stuck and now the road is blocked? Or you can’t go any faster than a crawl without risking spinning out of control, so now you are holding up a dozen other cars stacked up behind you?

                      I know Brent disagrees with me on the passing issue, but – and I have made this point before – a cyclist on a bike is about the same width as a motorcyclist on a sport bike. Both being about as wide as the person in the saddle. But passing the bike is often even more dangerous, because bicycles often don’t track as straight as a motorcycle – especially on hills, where passing is most necessary – because on hills the cyclist will be pumping left-right and that torque differential makes the bike move left then right. Brent contests this point but I see what I have just described routinely on the steep/windy country roads I traverse every day.

                      If the road has a PSL of 30 or less, it’s fine. Rolling up behind a cyclist going slower is no big deal and even if you can’t pass him right away, he’s not going much slower than you are anyhow. But when the road has a 45 MPH limit or more and the bike is doing 10 or 15 MPH (or less) then it’s obnoxious as well as dangerous.

                      Which is why I don’t do it.

                    • Hi Eric and Chuck,

                      Eric,

                      you often and correctly point out that harm caused should be the standard. In over 40 years of cycling I have never caused harm to anyone. I have never caused an accident nor have I ever endangered a driver. I am a hyper aware and assertive cyclist. I don’t use earphones because doing so impairs my ability to be aware of my surroundings. Not once has a driver needed to slam on his brakes or wildly swerve to avoid hitting me. Some drivers have passed very close to me, but not because they had to; they did it intentionally, presumably to teach me a lesson.

                      Perhaps my record of no harm caused is partly due to the fact that I do exercise discretion about where and when I will ride (as do almost all cyclists). Every cyclist here despises the type of cyclists you despise.

                      Chuck,

                      “I know that my preferred style of driving is illegal and dangerous, and so basically depends on the good graces or simple absence of other people.”

                      Your argument has not been about courtesy or common sense. It is about your desire to drive recklessly. The manner in which you want to drive is inherently unsafe and incompatible with anyone else being on the road. Look, I understand why you want to drive that way, it’s fun as hell. But, it’s still incompatible with public roads whether bicycles exist or not. The problem I have with your argument is not that you find cyclists annoying, but that you wish to use the power of the State to ban me from ALL shared use roads so that you can feel a little safer when you indulge your desire to drive recklessly. Frankly, that’s despicable.

                      Jeremy

                    • Well, this is ironic, Chuck- ’cause like Brent (and I’m sure others here, as well) I do not advocate for bicycle-only facilities.

                      Like in that vintage street scene video that Brent had posted, all should merely be free to use the public way, and do so in such a way so as to safeguard their own interests, and not cause harm to others.

                      Seems simple enough, right? But, as I’ve said before, the problem is that someone has taken the prerogative to build roads which make possible unnaturally high-speed unimpeded travel, which essentially makes those roads unsuitable for all others. Just having a wider lane or a shoulder would solve the problem.

                      And as I’ve also said, as long as there are parallel alternatives (Like in cities and suburbs) I agree that there is no need for cyclists and others to use certain raodways where they would impede traffic or be a hazard.

                      In many places though, there are no alternatives- such as where I live- so there are many places that are off-limits to me when I ride, ’cause, as others have said, even if it is my “right” to use those roads, I’m not going to put myself in a suicidal situation nor be the dick who’s struggling up the hill at 5MPH impeding the 60-70MPH traffic on a 2-lane rural highway.

                      As for the non-government roads though: That is the way it used to be, until some point in the 20th century. Roads were merely the worn paths in front of people’s farms and houses. No liability, as they technically didn’t belong to anyone- they were just the public way- and the people who lived along them and used them, ironed-out the pot-holes and such because it was in their interest to do so.

                      And technically, if you own property, and read your deed, you’ll see that your property line usually extends to the centerline of the road in front of your place- only now government maintains it, and takes your money to do so, and does with *your property* as it chooses, without any say from you.

                      But still, in many places, including here where I live, the local goobermint doesn’t give much priority to the chip-seal, gravel and dirt roads- even though they are public roads- so many of my neighbors still practice the old custom of maintaining their roads themselves.

                      Get a pot-hole or a wash-out in the gravel road? You’ll see the people who live near it out there with loaders and shovels. Fallen tree? The guy who lives closest to it will be out there with a chainsaw. No need to wait days, weeks or months for the county (But fail to send them their protection money, and they’ll waste no time showing up at your door).

                    • Don’t track as straight? What? I see motorcyclists all over the lane (sometimes then some) frequently. Much more than the couple of inches of a typical bicyclists. There are some people on bicycles who can’t hold a line but I have -never- seen small children and other POBs on two lane roads. Bike trails, residential streets, etc sure. But even the people riding bicycles because of poverty or DUI aren’t to be found on the two lane roads except off on the gravel shoulder.

                      I’ve had no issue passing bicyclists on 40-50mph two lane roads either. The “clovers” who do 35mph on the same roads… um well I’m stuck behind them for the duration.

              • Brian, that’s the mentality. I see these people that drive their bicycle to the forest preserve to then slowly bike in circles on the multiuse path. They are often rather rude motorists too. It seems vehicles with bike racks are over represented in the ones that are problematic to me on the road.

          • Really? I mean, I can agree with you that bicycle infrastructure needs help but mentioning “the road to Hana” and “bicycling” in the same sentence isn’t going to do anything except remind me why I complain about bikes every chance I get. See, that’s what drives me nuts about recreational riders – they see an amazing road which eclipses even the Nurburgring, and their first though is “that would be great for bicycling!” So then the rest of us have to basically look after you the entire time we’re on those roads because if you get hurt that’s on us.

            Maybe once summer rolls around again I’ll take my camcorder out to what would/should be my favorite road and show you all what that leads to. Imagine if every time you tried to drive somewhere you had to have a spandex wearer in your passenger seat, holding a gun to their own head and shouting “SLOW DOWN OR I’LL SHOOT!”

            • Hi Chuck,

              I see both points of view – represented by yours and Brent’s.

              I agree with you that some roads aren’t suitable for bicycles. Just as some roads aren’t suitable for certain kinds of cars. For example, there is an old (and very steep, very narrow) dirt/gravel road I sometimes take home. It is not the place for a RWD car or 2WD truck. It is not illegal to make the attempt, but there’s a much increased chance you are going to get stuck and that will cause problems for anyone else attempting to use the road.

              If you haven’t got a 4WD truck or at least a FWD/AWD car with some clearance, best to use another – more suitable road.

              I think much of the annoyance directed toward bicyclists is of this nature. With the cyclists who insist on riding any road where it’s legal to do so, even if it’s clearly not such a good idea to do so. These are the roads with narrow lanes and not much and sometimes no shoulder, blind curves and motorized traffic operating at speeds 20 or more MPH faster than a bicycle is capable of maintaining.

              The cyclists who insist on riding on such roads are practically inviting an over-the-top legislative response, very much like the militant 2A people who insist on walking around downtown carrying ARs, with pistols and mags clipped to their utility belt. I understand it’s legal and that it’s important to defend one’s rights. I also get that other people’s annoyance ought not to be the basis for giving up one’s rights.

              That said, both are – in my opinion – being obnoxious about it and obnoxiousness often invites the same in return.

              • Chuck,
                Nobody but “clovers” are demanding you look out for them. I certainly don’t. I am demanding that you recognize that I have same right to the public way that you do. The tortured arguments you make against bicycling are the same ones the anti personal automobile crowd makes against motoring. And the same ones I could make if I decided to judge all motorists by the “clovers”.

                All your words tell me is that you’re too lazy behind the wheel to deal with traffic. A few solo bicyclists is _NOTHING_ with regards to traffic. I am lucky if I can get 2 miles without some “clover” motorist doing far more to impede me and demand I look out for him than all the bicyclists I encounter in a year. I can’t even think of the last time a bicyclist forced his cognitive load on to me by making me look out for him. The reason why is simple, that’s what gets bicyclists killed.

                Eric,
                There are practically no roads unsuitable for bicycling. The bicycles handle these roads you and Chuck talk about just fine. It’s that some people find it an incredible offense that someone dares take up 18 inches of lane width and *gasp* goes slower than they do. But Mr. and Mrs. Clover in their underpowered RV that can’t be seen around, can’t be passed, oh that’s just fine and dandy. The Clovers have a legitimate recreational reason for traveling. But those bicyclists daring to use a tiny tiny of road space, damn them to hell.

                Anyone who is driving such that they will not see and hit something moving 15-25mph on the right edge of the roadway is not driving well. Anything can be there and much of it stationary.

                All these arguments are tortured nonsense created to make people conform. In the big city there are similar arguments to say bicyclists shouldn’t be on the road. Just changes to that they can’t keep track of vehicles smaller than automobiles with all the traffic (can’t be bothered not to over drive corners in the rural areas) or that bicyclists move to fast (too slow in the rural areas). In Chicago’s loop I’ve taken the left lane on various occasions and passed traffic to my right while keeping up with the vehicle in front of me and it’s still the same crap that how dare I ride there.

                And yes the legislative response is horrid bike lanes. Protected bike lanes. Bidirectional bike lanes on one side of the road. These and other horrors. Bicycle ghettos and prisons that come at the expense of general traffic lanes and road space.

                • Hi Brent,

                  Dunno where you’re getting the 18 inches width. I’m at least 24 inches wide, shoulder to shoulder. And on a bicycle, I am just as wide as I am on my sport bike – and the sport bike isn’t wider than me. So, on a bicycle, a guy my size occupies about the same space (width) as on a sport bike.

                  Now factor in that many riders can’t consistently ride right on the white line; I think expecting them to is a bit much. Now factor in a narrow lane and a three-foot legal minimum to pass – and speed variance much more extreme than a slow-moving RV vs. a car. Plus blind curves.

                  I don’t support making it illegal. I just think it’s not a good idea.

                  • I tend to ride such that while my tires are on the roadway my right shoulder isn’t. The white line is under the right brake lever.

                    People on bicycles who can’t hold a line are the bicycle version of the “clovers” you highlight who can’t keep a line with their automobiles.

                    The 3ft minimum exists because of people who deliberately brush pass bicyclists and well, clovers. Also truckers who pass bicyclists so close they can be sucked under the truck. If motorists were more skilled and courteous that law would have never been created. Keep in mind it started it’s spread less that 20 years ago.

                    It’s not a good idea for incompetent people to ride a powerful two stroke motorcycle either. And then even for those who can do it competently there is a level of danger from the incompetent motorists. It’s no different in bicycling.

                    • Brent, that’s a really dangerous way to ride. If there’s no shoulder, unless the lane is very wide, hugging the white line just encourages cars and trucks to squeeze by where there’s not enough room, and makes you very hard to see.

                      Take the lane in situations like that. That way, you’re MUCH easier to see, and it forces motorists to treat you like any other vehicle. (Maybe I’m misunderstanding something? I’d think that you’d know this…)

                    • On most roads I have run out room off the roadway. (I use the legal definition of roadway which is solid white line to solid white line not including shoulders) On roads without any shoulder or gravel I’ll be further left. I only take the lane when absolutely necessary.

                      Most roads I ride also have 12′ lanes. Some don’t.

                    • Morning, Brent!

                      Something else that bears on this is the increased width of late-model cars. I notice this because of course I read all the specs in the course of doing my reviews. Some late-model cars are so wide they literally take up almost the entire lane on many secondary roads (in my area, at least). Of course this is not the fault of the cyclist, but it’s an important fact regardless.

                      Every now and then, after a big snow makes my running trail unusable, I have to run on the road. It’s a narrow country road with a 45 MPH speed limit and harrowing because of the speed disparity between me and the motorized traffic, the poor sight lines – and (often) nowhere for me to go to get out of the way except down a steep ditch or into briar patch.

                      So, I try my best to avoid running in the road – even though it is my legal right to do so.

                      I apply the same reasoning to cycling. That’s all.

                    • So here I was all worried about not being able to chop the shoulder on a mountain run, and it turns out I could be 100% to the left of the shoulder line and still clip you. And if I did, you’d still say it was my fault for being incompetent, lazy, driving too fast, etc. etc. etc. even though I’d stayed completely on the road – your definition of the road – specifically to keep that from happening.

                      Sorry, but at that point you really are demanding that I “look out for” you.

                    • Hi Chuck, Brent –

                      I was thinking about all this last night and it occurred to me that roads one should try to avoid walking on for all the obvious reasons are also the roads one should avoid riding a bicycle on. I understand there are times when walking on such roads (or even bicycling them) is unavoidable. This encompasses slow-moving tractors and such, too.

                      But that’s not what I mean, of course. I am talking about choosing to do so recreationally.

                      I’ve noticed a probably related variant of this belligerent attitude with regard to walkers on the road – who more and more frequently won;t step off the pavement and onto the shoulder as a car approaches but instead expect the the car to defer to them.

                    • Hey Ya, Eric!

                      This whole thing really illustrates what a mess is created by [tah-dah!] GOVERNMENT!

                      They take our money and our property, and build roads which in many cases are only suited for/designed for one mode of transportation to the exclusion of all others- even simple walking.(And God help us if the intentionally try to design roads to accommodate everyone! -as they end up being even worse, and exponentially more expensive!)

                      It’s sad that there are so many places today where no matter how fit or capable someone may be, or what other modes of transport they might be able to conjur up, that so many places are rendered off-limits to all but those of us who are licensed, insured drivers of registered, compliant, titled vehicles.

                      I consider it a travesty that I live in the country, but that it is not really feasible to go out and take a simple walk.

                      It really amounts to a deprivation of one of our most basic liberties: The right to travel freely. Only instead of decreeing that we must have a license and registration and insurance, and travel only via motorized vehicle, they accomplish the same, de-facto by creating an environment which is suitable for one form of transportation to the exclusion of all others.

                      Heck, if they’d at least leave a strip of dirt or gravel between the road and the ditch…..

                    • There are many roads I don’t like biking on but if I want to get from A to B I either must use them or the alternative takes me -MILES- out of my way.

                      And yes sometimes I suck it up and literally go the extra mile(s). However I may not have the extra time or the extra energy to do so. And in the case of some off road trails maybe it’s rained recently and they are mud bogs or the underpasses are flooded so I have to go on the road. And since the multi use trails are run under the bridges so the road crosses the river any decent train floods them.

                    • look out for me? No. If I wanted you to look out for me I would be riding in a sinewave pattern across the entire width of the roadway. Holding a proper line is being traffic. And since you’re going on to the shoulder apparently you either can’t hold a line or driving like it’s a rally course.

                      It’s called THE PUBLIC WAY. THE ROADWAY. You have to expect traffic following the rules of traffic.

                      If you overdrive your sight lines than you’re a moron. You’re the person automated braking and robot cars are made for.

                      The public way is not your personal rally course. It is the public way for the use of all following the basic rules of the road.

                • Lots of conflation going on here.

                  “All your words tell me is that you’re too lazy behind the wheel to deal with traffic. A few solo bicyclists is _NOTHING_ with regards to traffic. I am lucky if I can get 2 miles without some ‘clover’ motorist doing far more to impede me and demand I look out for him than all the bicyclists I encounter in a year.”

                  I have several issues with this. First, just because my rants are against bicycles, doesn’t mean I or anyone else am OK with other forms of slowpokery. Motorhomes, in particular, have never been well liked here in Alaska, to the point that a popular bumper sticker reads “Why is it called tourist season if you’re not allowed to shoot ’em?” But it’s not a simple matter of comparing slowness to find out which kind is worse. First, even a very slow driver is likely to be moving faster than most bicyclists, except of course on a downhill section. Second, a car or motorhome is much larger than a bicycle, has many more reflective surfaces along with fairly powerful lights at both ends, and is likely to be farther from the edge of the road, all of which will make them easier to see at a distance, espeically in the dark or in areas where the road is lined with much concealment, especially when combined with their higher speeds (slower closing speeds = more chances to spot them on a curvy or hilly road before you close the distance). A pedestrian or bicycle, meanwhile, is small and moves very slowly, with no illumination beyond a wimpy little LED gadget (if you’re lucky) or a couple tiny reflectors (if you’re not). So you could catch up to them much more quickly, and with little to no advance warning too. This, of course, assumes they aren’t doing that stupid “ride against traffic” thing that some of us were taught as kids (but which seemed stupid to me even as a kid). In theory and in law, the bicycles at least may be considered vehicles, but in practice they have much more in common with the wild animal that blends into the darkness until you’re right on top of it. The difference, of course, is that you haven’t just killed a highly-edible but otherwise low-value animal, you’ve killed a person, and I don’t care how supposedly easy it is to get away with because I’d rather not do it at all.

                  tl;dr a slow driver, taking up the whole lane in a place with few passing areas, is more able to PHYSICALLY PREVENT you from driving as fast as you’d like, however a hiker or biker, being slower-moving and harder to spot at a distance or in the dark, is far more likely to SURPRISE you when you’re already in the process of doing do, and that’s what I’m worried about. I’ve had a hitchhiker who I couldn’t really see until, at a distance of less than 200 feet, maybe less than 100, I caught a glint off their designer handbag – and this was on a road with fairly decent sightlines, where I wasn’t even trying to go fast either.

                  Besides, wouldn’t potentially-aggressive, hard-to-spot wildlife be another reason it’s not very smart to walk or bike those roads after dark?

                  “There are practically no roads unsuitable for bicycling. The bicycles handle these roads you and Chuck talk about just fine.”

                  They handle them just fine in the absence of cars, but what about the nightmare scenario with a bike on one side, and oncoming car on the other, and not enough room to slip between them? See, this isn’t about you handling the road, this is about us handling you, each other, and the road all at the same time. That’s where things could start to get dicey on a narrow, mostly-blind, insufficiently-lit mountain pass.

                  “It’s that some people find it an incredible offense that someone dares take up 18 inches of lane width and *gasp* goes slower than they do. But Mr. and Mrs. Clover in their underpowered RV that can’t be seen around, can’t be passed, oh that’s just fine and dandy.”

                  It’s not about that. It’s not about how little space you take up or how slow you do or don’t go. I said it above and I’ll say it again, it’s not because you’re going slower than me, it’s because you’re going so much slower, and are so much more poorly lit, and are taking up so LITTLE space that I very well might not see you until I’m right behind you. With another car the chances of being able to see them before making contact are higher, and the chances of such contact involving actual physical contact (or of such contact leading to serious injury of the victim) are lower. Being stuck behind someone isn’t much fun, but from a conscience perspective I’d rather be impeded by a 35MPH car or motorhome than surprised by a 20MPH (if that) bicycle or a 5MPH walker.

                  Be all that as it may, however, my jag against backroad bicycling is in no way intended to be a defense of other obstructions such as underpowered or poorly-driven RVs. Why is it called tourist season etc. etc. It’s just that those people sit near automated phone tree systems and running out of cellular data on the First World Problems Scale of Annoyingness – obnoxious to deal with, but mostly harmless unless you’re up against a deadline and they’re in your way. People who walk and bike in dumb places, meanwhile, are significantly higher up that scale to me simply because they’re so much easier to hurt and so much harder to see coming. That’s why I single out bicyclists instead of going after everyone who goes slow or has to be maneuvered around.

                  I do recognize that it could be considered very selfish to try to lock down any road with a curve in it for racing. That’s why I left open the possibility of a time-split system. The absolute ideal, as far as I’m concerned, would be the way some more rural parts of Japan do it, i.e. with certain (usually otherwise deserted) roads, once night falls, racers are perfectly OK to park a couple cars across each end of the road and have it to themselves. Of course it’s not a 100% perfect system as it basically requires you to be rolling with a crew unless you’re crazy enough to drive around with collapsible barricades in your trunk (and the authorities consider that an acceptable solution, AND would-be innocent bystanders take them seriously instead of assuming it was a prank put there to annoy them), but it still represents a significant reduction in rigamarole compared to a typical racetrack and should be perfectly libertarianism-compliant – after all, government force is not being used to block the bicyclists OR to stop the racers, or to do anything else other than build the road itself. Unfortunately it might be difficult to get that idea to catch on in the rest of the world. The safety cultists would have a cow.

                  • Chuck,
                    You need to build your own private roads. Also add radar systems to your vehicles. Because it appears that you don’t understand the concept of a public way.

                    BTW, Wimpy light? If I aimed my bicycle’s head lamp at your eyes you wouldn’t like it much. I also run three tail lamps.

                    Your rants boil down to you not wanting anyone else you don’t approve of on what you have deemed your roads. But they aren’t your roads. They are the public way. It is your responsibility not to over drive your sight lines. Anything short of a closed race course such a method of motoring is stupid.

                    Your time share idea is nonsense. Here in Chicago the anti-motoring organizations have the city close down LSD (Lake Shore Drive) once or twice a year to have an organized foam-hatted bicycle ride. Motorists complain about it.

                    Furthermore my or anyone else’s wanting to go from A to B doesn’t coincide with whatever government imposed schedule you have in mind.

                    Here’s a functioning public way with the fewest rules:

                    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8YRbMMqj0qw

                    • Damn, Brent! I appreciate the beauty of that video more and more with each passing day!

                      People, functioning as rational beings in pursuit of their own interests without artificial impediments- and in the heart of the city, no less!

                      Today, I’m sure that street is filled with lemmings under the ever-watching eye of the beast; and populated by communists who wouldn’t be able to cross the street without rules, and signals, and government flunkies and electronic devices; much less navigate them as traffic!

              • This. This this this. The fact is that to a lot of bicyclists it seems that literally any road is a bicycle road, and if anyone has a problem with that then they are the problem.

                Tyranny by force isn’t the only kind; there’s also tyranny by liability – i.e. the ability of anyone sufficiently vulnerable (such as, say, a cyclist in a world dominated by drivers) can cause trouble by parking themselves right in the way, sticking out their tongue, and refusing to move. How, from a libertarian perspective, and this is a 100% serious question, do you deal with the people who know full well that they’re causing problems for everyone but just don’t care?

                • Hi Chuck,

                  It seems to me that the liability onus falls more on the walker/bicyclist who chooses to put himself in the path of danger. Brent may see this as me defending oblivious, incompetent (or even homicidal) drivers but this is not so. I am empathizing with the driver who is operating on country road with narrow lanes, a 7 percent grade and a 45 MPH speed limit and who rounds a curve and finds a cyclist in his path who is barely moving relative to him. If he hits the cyclist, where does the liability lie? Where would it lie if a person happened to be walking in the road under such circumstances and was struck by the car?

                  And even if the driver doesn’t hit the cyclist, he is forced to violently maneuver to avoid doing so.

                  Who is the person creating the problem here?

                  To my way of thinking, this is a common sense issue. I would never choose to walk on a road with no or little shoulder and fast-moving traffic that might not be able to see me in ample time to avoid hitting me – and I would try my best to stay off the road (and on the shoulder, whatever there might be of it) and get off the road, period, as quickly as I could in the presence of any motorized traffic.

                  It occurs to me we have another of those weird disparities that describe modern America. An overweening, absurd obsession with saaaaaaaaaaaafety for some things, including things that present little actual risk but impose a lot of hassle on people regardless. And on the other hand, a militant expectation of acceptance of other things which entail genuine risk we’re supposed to accommodate without complaint.

                  • Hi Eric,

                    “It seems to me that the liability onus falls more on the walker/bicyclist who chooses to put himself in the path of danger.”.

                    Due diligence may suggest that for practical reasons, that is the way we must look at it in today’s world- but should this be so?

                    Why does our “privilege” to drive trump the natural right to walk; use a human-powered, animal-powered or other slower-moving conveyance?

                    Just because Uncle builds a road with extorted money or pilfered land, designed primarily to accommodate fast-moving self-propelled transport; -and then Uncle sets a “speed limit”, should not make us think that we are entitled to be able to travel at that speed at all times, to the detriment of others who may be using that road, and who may nowhere else to go, other than the lane of traffic as defined by Uncle.

                    If we’re doing 45MPH around a curve, or over the crest of a hill, so that we would not see someone who is in front of us doing 12MPH on a bicycle, or 3 MPH walking, or a car that is stopped is the road, why is not the onus on us to operate our vehicles in a manner so as to not over-drive our line of sight? -Especially considering that we are the ones, as drivers- who are engaging in the more unnatural behavior, which has been made possible only by Uncle’s constructing of the smooth-paved road- which the walker or cyclist (etc.) does not necessarily need, but is forced to use because Uncle put it there.

                    Suppose 2 guys decide to have a drag race, and are doing 100MPH- and YOU, going 45 MPH are the impediment to them; or get plowed by them as they come flying over the crest of a hill; or pull out in front of them because you didn’t have a chance to see them coming due to their speed and a limited line of sight?

                    I think you’re only defense would be “That they were exceeding the speed limit, and breaking the law”. See how that works? Just WHO is creating the hazard?

                    • Hi Nunz,

                      I understand your point – but view this as a matter of common sense (appropriateness, if you like). We’re mostly talking about recreational cycling, first of all – which I think mitigates against the argument you’ve made about car-less people using the roads out of necessity. Even so, I don’t say people haven’t got the right to walk/ride a bicycle on the roads; much less that they ought to be debarred from doing so.

                      I also think people ought to be free to swim or surf on “public” beaches – even when there is no lifeguard on duty and even if there’s a hurricane coming or sharks sighted in the water.

                      I just wouldn’t do it myself – and if someone else chooses to do so, and something goes wrong, I think the onus is on them.

                    • I agree, Eric, and well-said.

                      I think we sometimes just have to be on-guard against the “This is what the road is for, and this is how it should be used” mentality- which applies to ALL of us, whether driving or running or riding, etc. -and like you said, if we’d all just be a little more considerate of “the other guy”, things would just work out so much better.

                      And regardless of the mode of conveyance, it’s always the few assholes who create the problems. Unfortunately, when people get into the “activist” mentality, it tends to increase the number of assholes exponentially among those very activists, which in turn begets more assholic behavior from the others in response.

                      Luckily, cyclists being so rare where i am, motorists have no prior bad experiences with them, and thus tend to be very courteous- and naturally, I am the same when riding- doing my best to stay out of the way whenever possible.

                      And of course, as others have said, I wouldn’t dream of riding without a rear-view mirror.

                    • So I should be able to drive my car anyway I choose where ever I choose and the onus is on everyone else to stay out of the way because then instead of being a little fish like I am on my bicycle I’m now a shark with 400+ hp Mustang?

                      Or how about someone driving a truck? All the onus is on everyone else to get out of the way of the whale?

                    • In bed last night, the word “recreation” kept coming into my mind, from it’;s few mentions here.

                      I wasn’t going to post this, but I must, or that word will be forever repeating in my noggin!

                      Eric, I don’t see how one’s purpose for using the road has anything to do with anything.

                      Isn’t our desire as motorists to be able to enjoy the twisty-turnies, or to be able to cruise along unimpeded at a certain speed, just as much recreation, as a road cyclist climbing the steep mountain road for the view at the top, or to later enjoy bombing down it; or for the exercise?

                      If the bicyclist impeding traffic is on his way to work, or transporting goods, and the motorist is just sightseeing, does that give the cyclist the superior right?

                      Of course, I’m just playing Devil’s advocate here…but the principles are indeed valid.

                      But I think the real problem is COMMUNISM! i.e. doing anything communally by force- whether it be “public education” or “public” roads, it always ends up being a boondoggle and disaster, because all are “entitled” by reason of the fact that they were forced to pay….but we all know that “one size fits all” NEVER fits any but a fraction of the populace well.

                    • There are some good bicycle trailer designs out there. Good enough to haul a full size fridge home.

                      The problem is that the idea of a public way was deliberately lost. It was lost when government used the automobile to take new powers over the public way it never had before in thousands of years.

                      Since that takeover the public way gets carved up politically. And then what was done to the use of the automobile was projected on to other forms. Some of it sticks and some of it doesn’t. But slowly everyone ends up under more and more rules and requirements.

                      Meanwhile I still can’t figure out what makes an automobile more dangerous than horse drawn wagon. Sure it goes faster but horses have a mind of their own and can be spooked. To me it is six of one and half dozen of the other.

                      In that 1906 film government had not yet taken over.

                  • Hi Eric,

                    Chuck has mostly been talking about recreational driving. I have no issue with that, and celebrate it. After all, “why do you need to…” is one of the primary tools used by the control freaks to limit our freedom.

                    Cheers,
                    Jeremy

                  • Eric – “It seems to me that the liability onus falls more on the walker/bicyclist who chooses to put himself in the path of danger.”

                    In a sane world, personal responsibility would be the norm. The West has done a masterful job of creating a ‘everyone but me is responsible for my safety’ society.

                    The major problem is that people are selfish, ignorant, arrogant and basically stupid.

                    Physics is the ultimate ‘law’. Just because some suit in your jurisdiction gave ‘X’ right of way does not mean ‘Y’ will be physically always be able to abide. Dead with right of way is still dead.

                    And anyone who thinks otherwise should visit India. People there recognize that ‘size matters’ and ‘might makes right’. You won’t find any moped, bicycle or Tuk Tuk challenging heavy trucks or even cars for space. They know better.

                    • Again, this. We have, as a society, become well used to trusting other people to keep us safe and not really looking out for ourselves… and so those of us who enjoy pushing the envelope a little bit, or even just “making time”, now have to work mental overtime to predict and account for all the ways people might try to martyr themselves under our wheels. Riding down a narrow, unlit, mostly-blind road in the middle of the night? Apparently, it happens. Jumping out from between parked cars? That definitely happens. Riding with earbuds in so you can’t hear cars coming? Happens often enough that even bicyclists put those people on their own lists of “most annoying cyclist types”. Letting your family sprawl out across half the wrong lane of a curvy, hilly, foot-of-shoulder-if-that, again-mostly-blind road with a 55 PSL? Seen it with my own eyes. Hitchhiking on a pitch-dark night wearing all black and gray clothes? Seen that too… barely.

                      We’ve reached a point where, despite being safer in many ways than we ever have been before, we must be convinced to cower in fear of the danger that hides behind every corner on a level we never did before. And yet, we expose ourselves to danger from other people without even realizing it, because we forget to consider the stupidly obvious. We just plain don’t pay attention to our surroundings any more and I’m guilty of it too (mostly due to not sleeping enough, but still).

                      I suspect many of the people who bicycle in inappropriate places are the same people who casually make messes in stores and restaurants, don’t make even a token effort to clean it up, may not even tell anyone, and justify it all with “they pay someone to deal with that.”

                    • Like the guy who was riding my ass at 80mph with a POS Camry on the interstate yesterday?

                      Or the idiot who did a right on red forcing me to brake later in the same trip?

                      I could go on and on and I would just cover yesterday.

                  • That’s because it’s not really about safety, but about dogma. Walking and bicycling are “politically correct” ways of moving around, driving isn’t, driving quickly or competitively DEFINITELY isn’t, and in practical terms that really is all there is to it. So until this changes, or until politicians learn how to spend money on things other than entitlements and doomed vanity projects, we can expect this situation to just keep getting worse.

                  • Where is the liability if he rounds the corner and finds Mr. & Mrs. Clover’s RV crawling along relative to him?

                    And do we really want to discuss recreation vs. need? Because once the subjective ‘need’ is put into the equation the control freaks win. Once ‘need’ becomes a judgment then that’s the opening the socialists, communists, fascists, busy bodies, and other control freaks can use to impose their will. Suddenly you’ll find that they’ve decided you don’t ‘need’ to be on the road just like the bicyclists.

                • Hi Chuck,

                  “How, from a libertarian perspective, and this is a 100% serious question, do you deal with the people who know full well that they’re causing problems for everyone but just don’t care?”

                  I’ll attempt to answer this seriously. I’ve been riding for 45 years and most cyclists I see do not set out to cause problems for others. A small subset of political activists do, and all of the cyclists here despise them. The first thing, from a libertarian perspective, is to determine whether rights are being violated. Nobody has a right to block you from traveling. Those that do are committing an act of aggression and it is permissible, under libertarian theory, to use force to remove them from your way. How much force to use is a more complex question and I find Rothbard’s proportionality theories to be helpful.

                  However, in most of what you write, rights violations are not involved. Your desire to use publicly accessible roads as a personal raceway, while understandable, is a desire, not a right. Likewise, my desire to ride my bike up a mountain road, get some exercise, enjoy the view and then bomb the downhill (where I can usually go faster than car traffic) is a desire, not a right.

                  Nothing in libertarian theory (or any other) can determine which desire is more valid. In this case, both parties should be aware of and courteous to the other. This cannot be enforced by law, only encouraged through custom. As for liability in the case of an accident, based on your descriptions of how you would like to drive, the onus falls on you. You seem to want to be able to mimic a Pikes Peak run, with little or no fear of consequences. This is simply untenable unless you can secure the road.

                  However, under libertarian theory, speed limits impose no moral duty on you. You may drive as fast as you like but must be aware of other users. Likewise, cyclists must be aware of drivers, never intentionally block traffic, understand their own limitations, be visible, etc…

                  As far as practical solutions go, lane width (the space between the center and the white lines) should be reduced on most roads (adding width to the shoulder). The belief that wider is safer is, in most cases, false. A 2.5 foot shoulder beyond the white line is doable on most roads, and more than enough room for a competent cyclist. The widest road bars are about 19″ wide. I’m a big guy (6″ 1″ and 210), my shoulders are about 21″ wide. So, even at my size, with a 2 ft shoulder I could ride completely out of the traffic lane.

                  Kind Regards,
                  Jeremy

                  • “Nothing in libertarian theory (or any other) can determine which desire is more valid. In this case, both parties should be aware of and courteous to the other. This cannot be enforced by law, only encouraged through custom.”

                    Frankly, as I’ve said before, this is a big part of it. Much of the nonmotorized traffic I see around feels almost like a foreign invasion that just sort of showed up one day and that I’ve had trouble getting away from since. Remember what I said… Mulholland’s no-death record probably would have been spoiled much sooner if “road bike culture” had been A Thing back then the way it is now. Perhaps that’s not so far off, even by the words of one old bicyclist I saw on the internet, who said he used to run the canyons in his GT3-prepped Volvo Amazon until more and more bicyclists started to show up, rendering the roads unusable. But for whatever reason, instead of realizing that he was part of the reason the roads where becoming unusable (assuming, of course, that he was already into bicycles at that point), instead of even encouraging his fellow riders to avoid the canyons, he gave up and joined the problem.

                    That, by the way, is why I have a problem with “car guy bicyclists”. Their loyalties will always be split and for whatever reason it seems – from a very small sample size, admittedly – that the loyalty to bicycles tends to trump the loyalty to cars.

                    “As for liability in the case of an accident, based on your descriptions of how you would like to drive, the onus falls on you. You seem to want to be able to mimic a Pikes Peak run, with little or no fear of consequences. This is simply untenable unless you can secure the road.”

                    Since you mentioned securing the road, I guess what I’m getting at is that “security by obscurity” is getting a lot harder to rely on. From what I’ve read, it used to be that if you found some old road out in the boonies you really might have it to yourself all night – sure, maybe another car might come along, but there were steps you could take both to avoid them and to make yourselves more visible. Now, it seems like it’s either the property developers going “this looks like a great place to build more ugly houses!” or the non-drivers going “this looks like a great place for a nice walk/ride in the country!” Even nightfall is no guarantee that the latter will have all gone home, so now you have to go much further out to find a road that hasn’t been ruined by one of those two things, and even then you can’t really be sure. What I seek is a way to take the latter problem out of the equation entirely.

                    I have previously mentioned Japan’s surprisingly libertarian system – wink and look the other way when racers “secure” the road at night, as long as they keep to the right roads (I suspect this is mostly the roads that don’t go anywhere important or have been bypassed by a straighter route). This is not quite “perfectly” libertarian as it might be considered interfering with someone else’s right to travel, but then if you take this position then you’d also have to be against other events requiring temporary closure of public roads. A much more likely obstacle would be the “concerned mom” types… you know, the ones who freak out and call the police on their neighbors because they can’t tell the difference between ferns and marijuana. Actually, I’m pretty sure that was a joke account, but still. That kind of person. They would have a freaking COW if anyone tried to implement that system here in the west. They don’t care if there are no non-oval racetracks nearby, or if that situation is a direct result of their own noise complaints, or simply that sanctioned racing is both highly restrictive in terms of what you can do with your car and a massive commitment of time and money (such that people with low wages or goofy schedules, i.e. retail or food service, might not be able to participate at all). All that matters to them is that racing is “dangerous” and therefore shouldn’t be allowed.

                    Be all that as it may, however, I’m still of the belief that “slow and squishy” does not mix well with “fast and sturdy”, especially when the “slow and squishy” camp starts to fill up with people who have no common sense or just can’t see obvious danger through their own smugness, backed up by politicians who are incompetent virtue-signalers or outright nefarious.

                    • Showed up as an invasion?
                      Bicyclists were around before the automobile and privately worked getting roads paved. Then the motorists showed up and government took over the roads. Now motorists have the nerve to say bicyclists don’t belong the roads and invaded them?

                      That it’s virtue signalling and smugness?

                      Really?

                      We had the roads first. We were building the paved roads first. Motorists invaded.

                      Left-statist argument style, accuse others of what you do.

                    • Hi Chuck,

                      Your desire to use public roads as a personal raceway is understandable, your belief that you should be able to do so, without consequence, is not.

                      You object to the mere presence of cyclists and hikers, not just the clover type, because their presence impedes on your desire to drive recklessly. Worse, you would use the power of the State to limit my freedom so you can indulge this desire.

                      As I see it, there are three ways that are ethical and mostly consistent with libertarian theory to get what you want.

                      – Organize, or participate in, an event like the Pikes Peak hill climb.

                      – Use a private road.

                      – Assume the legal risk of finding an “unused road” and secure it with a group of friends, as you say they do in Japan.

                      All of these require effort. What you wish to do, ban other, is immoral and incompatible with libertarianism.

                      Jeremy

                  • Jeremy, shoulders are not part of the legal roadway. As such the bicyclists’ rights under the rules of the road are few when off the roadway.

                    Also shoulders end up filled with debris swept in by automobiles and nature.

                    The wide curb lane solves both these problems without causing the problems of bike lanes.

                    • Hey Brent,

                      Wide curb lanes are appropriate for city traffic. I’m not sure how they would work on mountain roads like we have in Santa Fe.

                      I never ride with headphones because I want to hear the car or truck coming up behind me. Even though, shoulders often accumulate debris, they accumulate a lot less when there is not a curb. Anyway, I’m glad of a 2.5 to 3 foot shoulder that I can use if I need it.

                      Also, I’ve noticed that most drivers do follow lane lines pretty well and do not use wide roads well. Awhile ago, a busy two lane street in Santa Fe, was being refinished. Once the lane line was removed, it suddenly became a one lane street. Drivers just drove in the center of a much wider lane. Pretty weird, I even got angry honks for trying to use it as a 2 lane road (as it always had been). Once the lane lane was repainted, everyone drove normally again.

                      Wide curb lanes aren’t going to be made for mountain roads, but moving a white line over a foot or two is feasible on such roads. I’d rather have that than nothing.

                      Cheers,
                      Jeremy

                    • Hey Brent,

                      Like you, I tend to ride just to the left of the white line. But, I appreciate a shoulder being there if I need it.

                      Cheers,
                      Jeremy

                    • Bike lanes sort of work where there aren’t many cross streets or driveways. Bikelanes are also considered part of the roadway.

                      I ride shoulders in some spots but I don’t like them because they are not legally part of the roadway. As such it is very problematic with left turns, right turn lanes, cross street right of way, etc.

                • Any road is a bicycle road because a bicycle can handle just about any road. And unlike a 4WD truck a bicyclist can dismount and carry his vehicle over some piece of difficult terrain.

                  It’s a shame motorists have such a limited range and such a shitty attitude that they think the roads they can operate on should be exclusive to them. Sorry. No. And guess what? Under agendas 21 and 2030 those roads you want to drive on like you’re in a rally are going away.

  13. Well aren’t you the Grinch that stole Christmas.

    As a long-distance cyclist for over 50 years, riding alone or in a pack, having ridden all over the U.S. and Europe, I’m always courteous, never knowing what the “cager” is packing.

    And, here in The Villages Florida, which sports the #1 bicycle club in total annual mileage of any bicycle club in the U.S., we DO NOT ride in a pack, our club rules state single-file only.

    BTW, having ridden with The Henry County (VA) Bicycle Club, I have cycled much of the northern portion of the Blue Ridge Parkway, and the southern miles of Skyline Drive. Riding those roads are safe or us cyclists, riding the connectors ARE dangerous.

    Knowing your mindset, I will exact caution if seeing your TA in Floyd the next time I park my cycle at the hardware or Dogtown Roadhouse.

    Although you are wrong about most of us cyclists, Eric, I still love ya.

    • Hi Clay,

      I’m not anti-cyclist at all – just as I’m not anti-slow driver! The problem in both cases is the creation of an impediment to faster-moving traffic by failure to yield to it. I’ve been stuck behind Harleys doing 39 in a 55 (normal flow of traffic closer to 60-65) and they are just as annoying – and inconsiderate – as the cyclist doing 15 in a 35 zone.

      My personal rule is to defer to faster-moving traffic, regardless of what I’m driving or riding. If I’m coming up the mountain on my sport bike and there’s a guy coming up behind me who’s faster, I wave the guy by and make room.

      Same rule for everyone seems sensible to me.

      Also, self-policing. I suppose I could drive my tractor down 221 all the way to Roanoke. Technically, it’s legal to operate it on the road. But it strikes me as a not-good (and not considerate) idea because the thing has a stop speed of about 15 MPH. So I’d only operate it on 221 so for a very short distance, and only if absolutely necessary – and I would take care to pull off so that any traffic coming up could get by easily.

  14. Hi Eric,

    I don’t deny that there are bicyclists like you describe but, in my experience, they are rarely encountered (probably because there are so few bicycles compared to cars on the road). As all of us bicyclists here admit, there are asshole cyclists, pack riders are awful and many are virtue signaling leftist control freaks who would love to see cars banned. Still, these two points you make are really not true.

    “A bike is powered by an engine while a bicycle is powered by one leg and then another pumping up and then down – the bicycle tending to sway left-right with each alternating pump.”

    What you describe only occurs in a standing, full on sprint at the end of a race (usually in a controlled environment without cars). Yes, some asshole cyclists in group rides will sprint for bragging rights, but it is not common and does not last long. Any moderately competent cyclist can hold a straight line at any speed and any level of exertion (save a standing, full on sprint).

    “Interestingly, a car driver may legally pass a cyclist – unlike a motorcyclist – which makes no sense when you think about it because both take up approximately the same space, each being about the same width as the person riding them.”

    First of all, motorcycles are usually significantly wider than bicycles (especially road bikes). Second, motorcyclists almost always take the full lane, cyclists almost always do not, which means it is almost always impossible to pass a motorcycle without crossing into the other lane but usually possible when passing a cyclist. Third, as you point out, there is often a large speed disparity between a cyclist and a car. This makes it easier to pass a cyclist as it can be done very quickly, even without exceeding the speed limit. A motorcycle traveling beneath the speed limit is much harder to pass and will likely inconvenience you much longer than a cyclist.

    Of all the slow moving traffic you are likely to encounter (RV’s, Clovers, tractors, farm vehicles, etc…), a bicycle is usually the easiest and least time consuming to pass.

    BTW, I love you Eric and hope you have a great holiday and a better new year.

    Cheers,
    Jeremy

    • Hi Jeremy!

      Merry Christmas as well – and thanks for the kind words!

      On the “width” thing: We’re both right. I own (and have owned) every type of motorcycle and can attest that a sport bike is about as wide as the guy riding it – just like a bicycle. The difference is that the cyclist is the widest part of the package while on a motorcycle, the bike is also as wide as the guy riding it. But the effective width is about the same. Come to the garage and I’ll show you!

      Big cruisers – with bags and fairings – are (of course) wider.

      On the “pumping.” My area is very hilly and so I actually see this often. Especially coming up the Blue Ridge Parkway.

      But – we’re also agreed that the problem is a kernel of the population (as with cars and Harleys) that are.. ahem… assholes. But they spoil it for everyone in the same way that a spoonful of crap ruins a gallon of ice cream!

      Now, I will admit one personal bias: I hate the sight of Spandex as much as I can’t stand the sound of rap “music.” If more women wore it, I might change my mind, of course!

      • That spandex must be horrible to wear in hot weather as the sweat would have no place to go but to stick to the skin. Causing rashes and other problems. I call rap music “nigger music” as to me that is what it is. Just irritating noise. Like listening to politicians and newscasters.

  15. It’s fairly hilly here. And that seems to curtail a lot of that 3 to 4 wide, herd riding you’re describing. The strong bikers want to go uphill briskly, and the fat asses inevitably fall way behind.

    Also, most bikers around here don’t view their riding as a particularly social, or political, activity. It’s mostly about getting from Point A to Point B….and/or getting a good workout. They tend to take it seriously, and usually ride quietly safely, with impressive velocity. That’s cool.

  16. Group rides are generally dominated by the same herding that any groups of moving people do. That’s a big reason why I don’t do them. Also, as I have mentioned many times bicycling politics was taken over by anti-motoring statist leftists. They use bicycling the same way solar and wind are used. It’s used to destroy what they don’t like. They are not bicyclists any more than their fellow leftists are alternative energy geeks. They may use a bicycle to virtue signal but they aren’t bicycle enthusiasts as a rule. Now some bicyclists may get suckered in to their scam because of how humans can be socially tricked, but the old school vehicular bicyclists have been forced out of the political arena.

    Vehicular bicyclists like myself want wide curb lanes. That’s all. Nothing more than that. We hate bike lanes of all kinds and street parallel bike paths. We consider them dangerous bicycle ghettos for good reason. I’ve seen Chicago streets that were perfectly fine to ride because they had wide curb lanes turned into disasters with bike lanes or ‘protected’ bike lanes. When they had wide curb lanes the rightmost 1/4-1/3 of the lane would be clear and fine to ride. Then the stripe was painted. Now the -exact- same position I had rode without issue for years was on the line. To the right was the door zone of parked cars. Motorists now got angry because I was not in the ghetto area. Then they started making ‘protected’ bike lanes with sticks or curbing or more. Now that area doesn’t get the debris swept into the gutter and is now has not only debris that can puncture tires but the gravel acts like a surface of ball bearings. Never mind the ‘over there’ mentality of motorists such that they don’t bother noticing the bicyclists. At every intersection the protection fades away. Nice dangerous situation for bicyclists trying to move at 15-30mph. Also left turns have a very short window to dive across other traffic. Dangerous. And that’s probably the angle getting rid of bicycling will use after the complete government take over of medical care.

    States allow crossing of the double yellow to maintain the 3ft separation. And we already know the absurdity of having everywhere be double yellow.

    Here’s the Illinois vehicle code:
    “(d) The operator of a motor vehicle overtaking a bicycle or individual proceeding in the same direction on a highway shall leave a safe distance, but not less than 3 feet, when passing the bicycle or individual and shall maintain that distance until safely past the overtaken bicycle or individual.
    (d-5) A driver of a motor vehicle overtaking a bicycle proceeding in the same direction on a highway may, subject to the provisions in paragraph (d) of this Section and Section 11-706 of this Code, pass to the left of the bicycle on a portion of the highway designated as a no-passing zone under Section 11-707 of this Code if the driver is able to overtake and pass the bicycle when:
    (1) the bicycle is traveling at a speed of less than half of the posted speed limit of the highway;
    (2) the driver is able to overtake and pass the bicycle without exceeding the posted speed limit of the highway; and
    (3) there is sufficient distance to the left of the centerline of the highway for the motor vehicle to meet the overtaking and passing requirements under this Section.
    (e) A person driving a motor vehicle shall not, in a reckless manner, drive the motor vehicle unnecessarily close to, toward, or near a bicyclist, pedestrian, or a person riding a horse or driving an animal drawn vehicle.

    Now I could certainly once upon a time maintain half the speed limit or more on just about any road, but nobody cares or measures that.

    • Wanted to pass this along but didn’t have time earlier…

      Back when I lived in an east coast college town (the one with all pedophiles, but that’s not important now), I briefly joined the local bike club. The majority of members were university staff, so they had no idea how to do anything but hold meetings. They also were the de facto representation of the cycling community to the town and university. One meeting there were several people who were interested in “raising awareness” of the bike infrastructure and were brainstorming ideas when a “victim” of a collision with a vehicle started demanding we organize a Critical Mass rally on Atherton Street (a very busy artery though town that is absolutely the worst place to ride a bicycle) on Fridays at rush hour. He had a few of his friends planted to agree with him. The rest of the attendees were silent, and we put it up for vote. Of course he and his friends voted for, the rest of us voted against. That pretty much ended the discussion.

      After the meeting he held court in the front of the room. I listened briefly while he recounted his horrible tale. Someone who saw through his bullshit mentioned physics vs The Law, and that really set him off. I didn’t attend many meetings after that.

      The bike community is full of people who feel that the laws of man trump the laws of nature. They feel vulnerable when in traffic, much like many women find themselves vulnerable to being exploited by men because they’re physically weaker, and they don’t like it. In both cases there’s always more to the victim’s stories than they’re telling. Much worse is the proactive assumption of malice where none exists. This is where the victim shines, especially when they win the ear of the power hungry. The victim becomes the mcguffin in the morality play, the more compelling the mental reenactment the more desirable. And as their story becomes more abstract the more victims are able to add their story to the plot. Soon every mistake made is an affront to all that’s good and holy in the world. There’s no assumption of innocence, except the victim’s, who was never in the wrong no matter what they did. Well, if you’re attacked by a bear in bear country, who’s fault is that? And if you’re on a busy arterial road with hard curbs and high speeds when you get hit who’s to blame?

      With great freedom comes great responsibility. For everyone who’s free.

      • RK,

        That is a perfect illustration of the modues-operandi of activists, and how they get so many gullible fools to fall for their BS.

        Just like “drunk driving”. Now, any time someone who has had a drink is involved in an accident- even if it’s 100% the other guy’s fault- the guy who has had a drink is automatically guilty; liable; a monster; a criminal; etc.

        Not because HE did anything wrong that led to the injury of another person and or their property- but because the activists in conjunction with the minions of the state made some law that universally declares a person to be a criminal, without regard to actual liability or the direct results of his actions.

        And what’s also absurd, is that all of these cities and towns that are installing all of these bike lanes and MUTs, are creating very dangerous conditions, and then making laws which force cyclists to choose between putting themselves and others at risk, or breaking the law and facing involvement with Uncle’s armed goons and paying fines, etc.

        And then just like DWI, it becomes more about following some law, than about appropriate actions and actual liability.

      • Critical mass… these people are about themselves not bicycling. If I were bicycling and insisted upon a green signal crossing their mass I have little doubt they would not only block my progress but physically attack me. Never mind if they were true traffic anarchists they wouldn’t.

        The problem is that these are largely people of the SJW and feminist mindset. There are ways of riding in traffic not to be a victim. These are what the old school vehicular bicyclists taught. First you have to be assertive of your space. You may be small but hitting you will cost a motorists thousands in autobody work alone. The second is what I call mean little dog. You have to be “mean” when someone violates you space until they are no longer a threat. People will back away from even a little dog if they fear it will do something if they violate its space.

        • I’m “lucky” enough to be built like a linebacker. If you hit me you’re going to get some real damage to your vehicle!

          The best safety gear I have on my bike is a rearview mirror. Knowing what’s going on behind you is essential to courtesy on the road. Yet I rarely see other cyclists using them.

  17. A guy I know has a chipped out diesel 3500. Rolls coal like a WW2 destroyer laying a smoke screen.

    His evil joy is getting in front of a pack of spandex road Nazis and completely obscuring the road ahead of them.

    Evil and assholeish, but I will admit I laughed and felt zero guilt when I saw it done to a pack of militant cyclists intentionally disrupting traffic ‘to send a message’.

    They had to wash ‘a message’ out of their body condoms.

    • CF, no matter WHO you are…that is just FUNNY! (Unfortunately, I’m the only cyclist in my area- and I’m considerate of motorists- so I’ve never seen it nor experienced it- but there are videos on Youtube….. It’s funny to see how mad the cyclists get!)

      • I have no problem with considerate cyclists and give them a wide, respectful berth.

        However around here militant packs of two-wheeled road hogs (most likely anti-car statist/leftist control freaks) delight in blocking motorized traffic, particularly on back roads that have double-yellow lines and no shoulders. As it happens my ancient ride has a manual choke that I installed when the automatic one failed. When encountering a 2-wheeled, spandex-laden roadblock I delight in pulling the choke and nailing the throttle when it’s finally possible to pass, giving them a nice dose of unburned hydrocarbons from my non-emission-controlled V8.

        • Hi Bin,

          I watched the whole video. At no point did I see a cyclist inconveniencing, slowing down, or impeding the driver. Maybe I’m missing something, but the driver seems to be the asshole.

          Cheers,
          Jeremy

        • I see someone motoring along in a pickup truck that has been modified to foul the air deliberately being a jerk to other people on the public way.
          The bicyclists are riding in single file and most of them aren’t even on the roadway. The few that are on the roadway are directly on the white line.

          • Did not watch the video but yeah, randomly gassing inoffensive cyclists is very uncool. Bordering on assault. Stupid too, as some folks like me would invest the time to find him and add some unwanted holes to his intercooler and radiator with a tire iron.

            But the militant road blockers, kind of ask for it.

            And I think coal rolling is stupid. Kind of like the guy I mentioned….. Oil patch money + 85i.q. = mega lifted diesel truck, tuned to smoke.

            • Hi CF,

              Last summer, I got caught behind a guy on a Harley doing 37 on a road with a 55 MPH limit (and traffic flow around 60-65). About a dozen cars stacked up behind him. Made no effort to pull off, to remove the clog from the sink, so to speak. That example describes the core of the problem, in my mind.

              If you can’t keep up with the flow of traffic and there is traffic being impeded by your slower speed, it seems to me the courteous thing to do is make an effort to get out of the way – not to expect others to figure out a way to get past you.

              Cyclists mix well (in my experience) on roads where they can usually maintain the approximate speed of traffic. Then they function very much as a motorcycle or scooter does. But when road speeds/conditions (e.g., grades) are such that bicycles not only can’t keep up with traffic but are barely moving relative to traffic and won’t yield to it (sometimes, because there’s no should space for them to yield to it) it becomes a problem.

              I try to avoid creating problems by my actions – and that’s all I expect of cyclists.

        • The joke is on the driver- that sickly-sounding 6.0 or 6.4 ain’t gonna be long for this world, going up that steep grade doing that! I think it’s a case of the “us vs. them” mentality- the driver likely “taking it out” on some innocent cyclists for past encounters with asshole cyclists.

          It is funny though- ‘specially the way he has to get every single cyclist! The guy must either be a young kid, or a mental-case if an adult, to be willing to engage in that behavior for as long as he did. (That’s what makes it funny- the driver is an idiot)

  18. They’re lucky they got the law on their side, so many of them would be run down if it were legal

    If I were a NYer running for Mayor, would run on lower taxes, stop and frisk and removing bike Lanes and c(h)ity bikes

  19. This subject is complicated.

    As a cyclist myself, I first must say that I abhor modern “cycling culture”/most other cyclists/cycling activists. For some reason, a pursuit (cycling) which offers so much freedom, seems to be largely practiced by radical leftists today; and much of the animosity exhibited by drivers toward cyclists is a direct result of cyclists refusing the to exercise courtesy, respect and common sense toward other road users.

    Just like the leftists who want to “share the wealth” -as long as it’s your wealth that’s getting divvied up; so too, most cyclists want you to share the road….which to them means that they get to do what ever they want, and never have to do anything to inconvenience themselves, while you must act like you’re invisible and yield to them in every possible scenario….

    That being said, we also need to keep in mind that the idea of being able to freely travel on these statist roads which we’ve all been forced to pay for, and we or our ancestors have been forced to provide property for without compensation, is a vestige of a remnant of one of the few semi-rights that we still are afforded, and which is at least still recognized by the legal system.

    It may be inconvenient when we are driving our cars and trucks, to have to accommodate a pedestrian or cyclist or Amish buggy or farm tractor or someone on a horsie- but let us be thankful that at least for now, at least some vestige of the right to travel and use “the public roads” by at least some conveyances, without license, registration, or insurance, still exists and is upheld.

    ALL users of the road should be courteous and use common sense. It is because many don’t, that many people advocate more laws and regulations to force people to act in a prescribed manner….which of course further reduces our freedoms.

    Whether it’s a pack of cyclists blocking traffic and refusing to move over when appropriate; or a motorist riding a cyclist’s wheel or buzzing him- both are a problem. Sadly, these activist cyclists are only causing motorists to hate cyclists.

  20. And another thing: Have you ever noticed that even though these situations are obviously unsafe in themselves, not to mention the fact that vehicles pollute more in these situations, that there is never a cop around, and that the Spandex Easy Riders and others like them are never given tickets? But heaven help you if you are speeding, aren’t wearing your seatbelt, and your emissions inspection sticker has expired!

    • The SIL lives in Grapevine Tx and near the lake it’s all houses. The inhabitants refer to it as Yuppieville which is accurate. There’s a large group of cyclists who ride together. They ride in this huge pack taking up the entire street and obeying no laws.
      If you’re in a car they seem to delight in running stop signs and causing automobile traffic to yield, even stop for them regardless of the situation.

      You have to see it to believe it. They probably have enough sense to not ride that way anywhere else.

      Next time I need to go to Ritchie Brothers Auction to pick up a dozer I hope it’s on a Saturday so I can drop by to visit. We’ll see if they run that stop sign in front of that rig with the Wide Load sign and strobe lights.

      They had a no pit bull ordinance but it was ruled unconstitutional. When I walk CJ they give me a wide berth. To be honest, the gay guys in the latest Spandex outfit walking little Fifi were the nicest of all, well, the only nice ones and even complimented CJ as being really pretty. CJ gets a lot of that. At least one of us does.

      • 8, a perfect example of why I completely understand and sympathize with people’s hatred of cyclists.

        You should see ’em in NYC! They’re a menace to pedestrians and traffic, riding recklessly at high speeds in crowded streets, against traffic; blowing right through lights at crowded intersections, without a care in the world, ’cause if they get hit, it’s like winning the lottery in loony NY where juries will award you millions for just tripping over your two feet…

        If people would just exercise a little common courtesy… But instead, we have the “get off the road” drivers, and the “I’ll do anything I want” cyclists.

        The way people behave….no wonder we have all of these laws and tyrannical control- because people just refuse to cooperate and use common decency and sense.

        Ya see the same thing with Amish buggies. Drivers always complaining that they should be “banned” from using the roads (As if motorists are the only ones who count!)…and the Amish, with their black buggies with no lights or reflectors getting squished at night when someone comes upon them doing 5MPH on a 45MPH narrow road with hills and curves…..

        It really makes you believe that there’s no way most Westerners could handle a Libertarian/Anarchistic world. They’re like Good Germans or kids who never had the opportunity to play unsupervised: They need laws to obey and penalties for disobeying, to train them like dogs, because they are incapable of working things out themselves… 🙁

        And hey, those faggots are probably hoping CJ’ll hump their leg!

        • Nun, I am a cyclist, but one who wants to survive. Using sheer numbers to intimidate is rude and stupid. Some elderly person who can’t see well with terrible driving skills will thin the ranks one day.

          From the people I’ve met there, probably the gay guys would be the people I’d most likely get along with.

          At least they can appreciate a handsome dog. BTW, CJ just came by and used me as a rubbing post but knew I wouldn’t tolerate a hump.

          When push comes to shove I have to be the alfa dog.

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