Cycling vs. Driving and the Death of Car Culture

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There’s North and South, liberals and conservatives; Star Trek people and Star Wars people . . . but few divides are greater than that which exists between drivers and cyclists.

The etiology of the thing is interesting.

It bugs some drivers that cyclists have the gall (as the drivers see it) to ride on roads which they – the drivers – consider their own or at least, not suitable for bicycles, because they aren’t able to keep up with the flow of traffic and thus slow down the flow of traffic.

This is certainly true. Bikes sometimes can’t keep up with the flow of traffic.

It is equally true that slow-moving RVs, garbage trucks and commercial vehicles slow/impede the flow of traffic as much as a cyclist struggling to keep up – and an RV or garbage truck is harder to get around.

No one seriously argues that RVs and other slow-movers stay off the main roads because they’re slow and hard to get around. A cyclist’s claim to use the public of right of way (which isn’t a racetrack) is just as legitimate as the RV driver’s.

But that right to use the public right of way was much less frequently exercised by cyclists until relatively recently – and therein lies the source of the current rub.

I’m old enough to remember the ’70s and ’80s – and during those decades (also probably the ’60s and ’50s, which was before my time) pretty much only kids and teenagers who couldn’t drive yet rode bicycles and did so usually in neighborhoods, on side streets/trails and so on. I was among them. We rode to get to the arcade to goof off, to our friends’ houses and to (and from) school/practice.

We didn’t ride for sport/exercise.

We stayed off the main roads. Until we were old enough to drive. And then we largely gave up bicycling.

Very few adults rode bicycles in those days and so the main roads were default for motorized traffic. In theory, anyone could ride a bike on them. But almost no one did.

It’s just how it was. This coincided with the height of Car Culture. Perhaps not coincidentally.

Then – I think it began in the mid-late ’80s – adult cycling for recreation/sport began to get popular. It really took off in the ’90s. Which is interesting because of what began to happen to cars and driving at the very same time.

It’s now as common to see adults cycling as it used to be common to see kids on bicycles. The difference now being the adults regularly use the main roads. Which – again – they have every right to use, so long as the roads are public rights-of-way.

But it’s a manifestation of the dying off of Car Culture.

People – adults – are reverting to cycling. Not because they have to – as kids who couldn’t drive used to.

But because they want to.

I think adults cycle, in part, because of the relative freedom one still has on a bike vs. in a car, where very little freedom remains.

The bike doesn’t have to be inspected, stickered or license-plated. There are helmet laws in many states but that’s the only nanny law applied to cyclists – and their cycles.

They are in full control of their machine, which is made to their specifications. There is no NHTSA decreeing the design of bicycles – which aren’t required to have air bags, ABS, stability control or back-up cameras – and for this reason, remain affordable as well as fun.

Unlike new cars, which are designed to the specifications of government bureaucrats.

A bicycle doesn’t “assist” the rider’s steering or braking. It goes where the rider points it, as fast as the rider likes. It’s up to him to control it because the bike won’t do it for him.

There is satisfaction in the skill involved in cycling competently – which used to be satisfied by driving but largely isn’t anymore because cars have become Homogenized Transportation Modules which require almost no skill to operate.

But on a bike, you are on your own. You are free.

You can go this way or that way and no one knows where you’re going or been (unless you’ve got a cell phone with you) because the bike hasn’t got a black box or GPS or dongle from the insurance mafia plugged into its computer port – which it hasn’t got, either.

Speaking of that.

Cyclists aren’t forced to buy insurance, as everyone who drives must – which means more than just the obvious thing (not having to buy insurance). It also means that cyclists are free from the constant fear of the knows-all/sees-all insurance mafia, whose knowing all/seeing all and ability to mulct you for it hangs like an anvil over the head of every car driver. A single ticket can ruin more than your day. It can drain your wallet – and possibly take away your driving privileges.

Mark that.

On a bicycle, you might get a ticket – but the points don’t matter because you aren’t required to cover your bicycle. There’s no worry, therefore, about a premium increase because of some trumped-up ticket. You haven’t got a premium. And the government can’t suspend or revoke your right to ride.

This is freedom!

The freedom to ride without permission. One isn’t required to obtain, carry and present on AGW demand a license, as everyone who drives a car is legally obliged to.

An armed government worker can demand ID, but the cyclist isn’t obligated to carry it and the AGW can’t ticket or cage him for riding without one.

So it’s easy to understand why riding has become so popular. It’s very much what driving used to be. And that probably accounts, in part, for the friction between drivers and cyclists. The drivers see the freedom enjoyed by the cyclists – and resent it.

They envy what the cyclists have – and they’ve lost.

Which is probably why it’s been proposed here and there that cyclists be required to have licenses (and license plates) and have their bikes inspected for saaaaaaaaaaaaafety – as well as carry mandatory insurance. Misery apparently loves company. But it’s a low and despicable thing to wish suffering on others because you suffer.

Beleaguered drivers ought to cheer cyclists onward – happy in the knowledge that freedom still exists here and there. Instead, those who’ve lost theirs seem determined to make sure no one else has any, either.

. . .

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134 COMMENTS

  1. Eric,,, You were speaking of the advantages of bicycles…… Well…………….

    De Blasio has suggested NYC cyclists be licensed and have registration. Won’t be long mummy will be paying the State for 10 yo johnny to ride his bike. (lol) And there are many commentators that agree 🙂

    The parasites are coming for every dime you earn.

    https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-09-05/bill-de-blasio-considering-requiring-nyc-cyclists-have-licenses-and-registrations-0

  2. It would seem that AGWs have changed the game –

    Newark, NJ — Children riding bicycles is an everyday act that takes place through every city in every state all day long. Most of these children riding their bikes in neighborhoods will likely not stop at stop signs and most of them will not be thrown to the grown and handcuffed by cops. One child in New Jersey, however, was not as fortunate as most kids in the country and riding his bicycle led to him realizing the full brunt of Police State USA….

    https://thefreethoughtproject.com/boy-assaulted-riding-bicycle/?utm_source=getresponse&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=rssfeednewsletter&utm_content=The+Free+Thought+Project+Newsletter

  3. Road cycling got popular in the US in the 1980s because of Greg Lemond winning the Tour De France and cheap Japanese frames. Cycling in general was mostly because of BMX kids and mountain bikes that were more performance orientated than cruisers but with an upright riding position.

    Then came the MADD mothers and mandatory sentencing for drunk drivers. That put a whole lot of people on bicycles so they could get to work. Out of necessity came invention and a few people started modifying their mountain bikes with tires and components more suited to city driving and later importing European bikes if they developed a taste for bike commuting. Others just kept buying Huffys every 6 months. Either way they created a market at the low end that later expanded to college kids and people in cities who couldn’t afford to keep a car.

    • And of course, if you want to undo any of that then all the normies along with most car enthusiasts will think you’re literally Satan for wanting to let drunk drivers kill people or something.

    • you got your “mountain bike” story all hashed up.
      Road bikes had been around, pretty much unchanged, since the late 1930’s at least, being refined and better equipment, but the skinny tyres, high pressure, light weight, good frame design, all were to enable a rider to cover long miles quickly. Minor refinements continued through the 1970’s.

      The Mountain Bike scene grew up in the north San Franisco Bay area in the 70’s, guys deciding they wanted to ride trais, climb up then screm back down dirt paths on mountains (pardon the use of that word for hills like Mt. Tam, but that’s what they were called around there). Of course, the Schwinn newspaper bikes and town cruisers were nowhere near strong enough to hold up under that “delicate treatment”. The reason “Repack Hill” got its name is that every time anyone went down that at full speed, they’d burn up the coaster brake rear hub, and have to tear it down and repack it. I know several of those guys, most are still designing, buidling, manufacturing VERY dirable mountain bikes and comppnents, and also have pushed road bike design to a reidiculous level of speed… though the lightest ones compromise other important things…. I don’t care HOW lightweight a bike is, if I can’t put 20,000 miles on it without having to throw it out and get a new one, I’m not interested. I want something THAT lightweight? Hey, I’ll just pour half the water out of the second bottle, and there I am.
      Road bikes, even as we know the new ones today, did NOT originate out of the mountain bike culture.

  4. Eric,

    You BASTARD!!😲

    I said, “Don’t give them any idea Eric.”

    I just read this, “New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said he is considering requiring bicyclists to be licensed and registered like automobile drivers currently are.”

    What’s next on your agenda Eric? Did you already file incorporation papers for EP Bike Insurance Corp?

    Do you have a secret office in CALIFORNIA?!?

    Where is Eugene McCarthy when we really need him!

    Eric I betcha you’ve even got a Commie flag
    Tacked up on the wall inside of your garage!

    https://youtu.be/JoVL1Zs6WTw

      • Anti Federalist,

        “Wallace stickers”

        Hell, Eric might not even know who Wallace was. LOL

        I’m pretty sure he never owned a 45. Maybe a .45 ACP but not a 45 RPM.

        I was actually a little surprised to find that video, considering it had the words “pinko fag.”

        Nowadays when you hear “Money For Nothing” on the radio, all references to the “little faggot with the earring and the makeup” have been removed.

        Why do the censors still allow the line, “we’ve got to move these color TVs”?

        Isn’t that discrimination against black and white TVs? Or maybe it should be, “we’ve got to move these TVs of color.”

        I’m finally starting to understand the old guys who used to say, “get off my lawn” when I was a kid.

        I’m not too far away from grabbing a rocking chair and dragging it to the front porch. But I’ll be saying, “Get off my lawn-wash that purple shit out of your hair-cover up those tattoos-and pull that metal shit out of your face.”

    • Hi T,

      I wonder, at times, whether I’m connected to the Evil Unconscious. But then, this was inevitable, eh?

      There is literally nothing they’ll leave untouched by their vile urge to control.

      • Eric,

        “There is literally nothing they’ll leave untouched by their vile urge to control.”

        I ran into an 80+ year old at the parts store yesterday. He said that they will be putting microchips in kids at the hospital any day now.

        I didn’t have the heart to tell him the adults are already doing it to themselves.

        • No shit, entire company employees volunteering to do that shit. Of course the octogenarian was correct. Hospitals get more totalitarian each day. No doctor will ever tell you the truth about meds and god forbid, natural cures.

          • I stay away from doctors unless I am desperate sick or hurt bad. People can’t believe that I’m not on any prescriptions. I ride my horses and/or take a hike in the woods most every day, weather permitting. Otherwise I will be out cutting and splitting firewood, or shoveling snow, etc.

            I do use the computer some (duh!) but we don’t have a “smart” phone, just a cheap flip phone for emergencies. There’s no cell service down in our “holler” anyway so we only use the mobile in town or on the road.

            • Same here. I’m a pariah around other old people, all they want to talk about is “Muh prescriptions”, “Muh Social Security”, and “Muh Medicare”. When I state that I’m not on any prescriptions, don’t collect Social Security, and am not on Medicare they look at me like I’ve sprouted horns.

  5. I don’t get the big shitty about cycling. I used to get in off the road, change clothes and get on my bike. Once I got to cycling a lot, my car sat since I didn’t need it and if I did, I knew where to find it.

    Does it have to be a completely different person who comes in and changes the the power divider on their truck and then spends the next day or two cycling? And if a need to go very far or fast arises, you get into your 400+ hp car and enjoy the drive?

    What about India where there’s a billion people on cycles and motorized bikes? Are they “children” as some dick wrote? What about all the countries where the main mode of travel is bicycles? Can they not be a gearhead?

    I detest the spandex crowd in huge numbers that bully car drivers(they won’t bully me). I used to have great fun living in a city and riding 45 mph on a bike and conversing with people in cars and have them let me hold their door handle and give me a “free” ride. I’ve met some nice people like that….especially the fairer sex. There was a time when I needed to go less than 20 miles I just jumped on my bike unless I had to a load to carry. Been to the strip in Lubbock and come back with a case of beer. It makes you a better, faster rider when it’s hot and you don’t have a cooler.

    Not that it has anything to do with cycling, but I can see the day everyone wears a beard, whether they grow one or not. Let em figure out who shot the cop dead with the body cam. That could be really tough. It’s called blowback and we’re getting there quickly. I see no need in taking sides about cycling, motorized bike riding, cars or pickups or big rigs. We shouldn’t have a hard-on for any one group because we supposedly think of ourself as belonging to another group. I’m just not a “group” kinda guy.

    I really like sex but not so much “group sex” although I’ve not been immune to that in my past. I have not been a fan of “lot lizards” but to each their own. Everybody gotta do their thang. Whatever happened to “live and let live”?

    • I rode my bike I think exactly once after we moved out here on the gravel/dirt road. There may be $5K bikes that can handle the washboards but not my cheapo and not my butt.

      I used to ride a lot when we lived in a little town in CO and I was going to college mid-life because I got really sick from a job, at least on the days when I wasn’t too sick. Finally got some better and rode a ways to get back in shape, but I always valued my life and limbs way more than my right of way. I would ride on low traffic roads and the short stretch I had to be on the highway, I would stay way the hell over out of the way!

      We don’t see many bikes on the highways in MT. I think it’s just too damn hot/cold and windy and everything is just too far apart. Of course none out here on the gravel.

      There’s about a 3/4 mile stretch on the county road that I ride my horses to make a big loop around on the nearby ranch. Most times no vehicles even go by, but when they do I sure get me and my mount off into the ditch just in case. There are fences on both sides most of that stretch so there is not much place to go.

      • My road is covered with chert taken from the railroad that once existed beside it. I haul my bike to the pavement. That chert’ll blow any kind of tire. A fellow driver showed up with a flat on a new 24.5 Michelin. The rock was still sticking out of it.

    • Took me a while to notice this one, but:

      “Does it have to be a completely different person who comes in and changes the the power divider on their truck and then spends the next day or two cycling? And if a need to go very far or fast arises, you get into your 400+ hp car and enjoy the drive?”

      This is exactly the thing. The way things are now, you can’t enjoy the drive no matter how much power you have, because every road is randomly and unpredictably subject to the presence of non-drivers at all hours of the day and night. Yeah, sure, let me just treat the entire shoulder and a significant chunk of the lane as if it were made of lava… on a road with poor sightlines, you have to concentrate harder on avoiding anywhere a bicycle or pedestrian could potentially someday be than on actually driving, especially at night. One wonders what they’ll do when faced with a vehicle like a big rig or a rollback or even a pickup truck with a trailer that physically can’t avoid them without trespassing the oncoming lane. And then when I say anything about this, I come off looking like the bad guy for wanting to actually enjoy driving on the PUBLIC WAY!!!!!!!111111

      I reserve special ire for the people who load their bicycle into/onto a car, drive to a formerly-great driving road, unload their bicycle, and start riding up and down the formerly-great driving road, thereby becoming the reason it’s not a CURRENTLY-great driving road.

      So I really want to understand what you’re saying about groups and not wanting to think that way, and maybe in some hypothetical perfect world where it was easy to create fully-separated infrastructure for all mode of transportation, I would. But as it is now, I cringe whenever I see a bike rack on a tuned car.

      • My only gripe about cyclists is their riding on roads that are full of blind spots and barely two vehicles can meet. I don’t ride those roads for reasons I don’t want to have it out with a vehicle. I found some sunglasses with mirrors I think will protect me and keep me out of the way on two lane roads. The only reason the big two lanes bother me is because they route the really over-width stuff down US 180. I won’t spend any more time on it than necessary. My neighbor and some others haul our bikes to pavement simply because the chert on our road will kill any tire. Once there, we ride the roads with good visibility and no real blind spots.

        I’d be proud to ride dirt roads since I have a cross-fit but I would have over half a mile of chert to even get to a road that wasn’t chert. These roads aren’t really good for hauling ass in a big rig so I don’t. I’m accustomed to having to brake hard for livestock, deer and hogs. Everybody who drives these roads does so at speeds even less than the posted 70.

        • “My only gripe about cyclists is their riding on roads that are full of blind spots and barely two vehicles can meet.”

          Even if there’s technically enough space for two cars to pass in opposite directions, a road full of blind spots is still an annoying spot for non-drivers to show up simply because of how badly it cramps driving. Say you’ve got a lane that’s about 1.3 car-widths wide, and then a shoulder that’s about another 0.3 of a car width wide – in theory, you’ve got 1.6 car widths of space on your side of the center line. Now add non-drivers to this mixture and suddenly that entire shoulder plus part of the lane is off-limits anywhere there’s a blind spot, “just in case” there’s a non-driver there, even though in practice they’re rarely there to use that space. And if there is no shoulder, well… then you really don’t have much space at all to work with. Like I said, you have to concentrate harder on “pre-avoiding” probably-nonexistent cyclists and pedestrians than on actually driving, and that’s if they’re actually being smart (well, as smart as possible about it) about it rather than occupying the middle of the lane like some kind of kamikaze troll. Free-ranging animals may be a problem but even they don’t force you to “voluntarily” treat half the road like it doesn’t exist.

          “Everybody who drives these roads does so at speeds even less than the posted 70.”

          Good thing I don’t live there then because I probably wouldn’t be able to drive that road for more than 5 minutes without blowing my top.

          • Chuck, sounds a lot like you are someone who drives way beyond your abilities.

            Two thing I learned from a master driver.

            1. If you have to leave your lane and use the shoulder or cross the center line, other than to pass, you are driving beyond your skills.
            2. If you drive faster than your visibility allows for you to avoid an obstacle, you are an idiot. Not because you might hit a bicycle or pedestrian but because you might come upon a stopped vehicle that will kill you.

            This is not to insult you, just to give you something to consider.

            • For point 1, I can agree with you on the center line (people who cross that have always been a pet peeve of mine), the shoulder, however… how are you supposed to get your right side tires in the gutter if you can’t use the shoulder?

              Also this does nothing with people like, uh, someone else here who ride “just to the left of” the shoudler line as a habit.

              And this is the thing. I’ve never actually driven at 10/10 on the street, though I would very much like to see it become possible in my lifetime – but non-drivers make driving for fun at ANY speed frankly tedious because of the significant-yet-vague amount of shoulder-side space they demand 24/7/365 everywhere. You can’t even go near the shoulder on a lot of corners, especially at night, with the possibility that these people might be around. And if the lane is narrow too… well, shucks, BUA I guess.

              Furthermore, a parked car is much easier to spot with a sweep, at least on a low-traffic road.

              Finally, all of that sounds suspiciously like excuses. “Yeah, bicycles are annoying, but what about…”

            • Basically, what I mean is this:

              If you think it’s not possible to performance-drive safely on the street, that’s one thing – though it used to be a lot more possible than it is now and that’s what honks me off. But if you don’t want it to be possible at all, that’s quite another thing. There’s quite a lot standing in the way of car culture right now and acknowledging those things is helpful, but I absolutely hate to see people just giving up and rolling over or, worse, going over to the bicycle side and actively making it worse themselves.

              • yuo can “performance drive” all you want… but the instant you cannot stop, or avoid, or let the other legal traffic use THEIR part of the road, you are not driving safely. (no, I don’t mean SAAAAaaaaaaaffffffely”, I mean in FULL CONTROL of YOUR car given area and conditions. If you can’t see the line through that turn clearly, then don’t take it. Take only the line yuo CAN see. If you are driving so fast you cannot stop or evade ANY hazard (pedestrian, Mama with stroller, kid on a skateboard, van ying in its side crossways to the road just around that turn you are using your right foot to steer through, then you are NOT driivng as you should.

                Yeah, plenty of cyclists are real jerks… and I DO wish the coppers would cite them. My state says no more than two abreast, I see clowns five, six abreast on a regular basis. Even deliberately taking up the right lane of the travelled part of the roadway.. when there is only one lane in each direction. I stopped riding with a local bike club group because the tough hot shots carried on in very belligerent fashion….. being as ornery as they could. No, if everyone cooperates, lets the other guy go when he can, OBEY the traffic rules… ost of em anyways.. I’ve a hard time with that four way stop where two flat open roads cross and anyone can clearly see a half mile in all four directions, yet I must still bown down and pay my obeisance to the stupid red octagon…..

                My biggest peeve when cyclists and cars don’t seem to get along well, is the idiotic far too small to work traffic circles that have recently infested my area. They put the bikes up on the sidewalk, FORCING us to make a hard crossing at the crosswalk, when stopping the motorists is a hige hazard….. so the travelled lane in the roundabout is very narrow… a semi with a short behind it WILL climb the kerb as he goes round…. the cars don’t want t be “stuck” behind a buy on a bike, so they race to cut me off.. then get the panicks as they approach cause they can actually SEE a car in the far distance approaching. so they STOP… inches away from the kerb.. then they wonder why I take MY line right out there in the lanes for the cars…. and am by far the fasted vehicle in the roundabout.

                Yes I will sometimes ride to the left of the fog line… when you wonder why I do that, take a good look and see what ALL is to the right of that white line. Many times the edge of the macadam is not straight, potholes big enough to swallow a tyre and break a rim cut way into the narrow shoulder, and it is almost always strwen with broken bottles, possum carcasses, large (six inch?) brlowdown branches from the firs that grow near the road. nails, long framing staples….. I keep a VERY sharp eye out for hazards that are likeluy to puncture, or worse yet, cut to shreds, those eighty dollar tyres I like. I also ride in a very predictable line, maintain steady speed, don’t weave and bob about, yield the right of way when I am supposed to, and take it when its mine. I work hard to keep out of the way of cars etc, but so many hazards and obstacles are on the roads it is impossible to do so always. Blame the public works guys…. they get these millions and our roads are still a mess. Sometimes traffic on the interstate is so bad I can cover the ten ,iles between my onramp and the next town faster than the cars can.

                I ride only a couple thousand miies a year lately, way down from the 5 to 6 thousand a year I did for about fifteen years straight. N the highways, almost never on the wretched paths. And so far not one crash. I find it critical to maintain what health and strength I have left after a REALLY bad workplace injury years ago that never has been properly dealt with.

                • See, this is what I mean with this place. It’s always about drivers driving wrong, never about not-drivers walking or riding wrong. The fact that you actually tried to make excuses for the nincompoops who push strollers on narrow roads says a lot in my opinion (seen them doing that in the middle of the lane, on a narrow, mostly-blind 55 road, what would you have me do in that situation?). It’s like what you mentioned about not having enough space to ride on the shoulder – to me that sounds like a road which is just plain not suitable for nonmotorized use anymore.

                  This is why the entire concept of a “car-guy bicyclist” seems oxymoronic to me. As soon as someone claims to be one, I know immediately that they are much more a bicyclist than a car guy and that when it comes to the driving experience, they literally do not care if everyone with an engine gets stuck doing the speed limit or less in the exact center of their lane for all eternity as long as they can walk or ride wherever and whenever they feel like. Non-drivers demand unlimited 24/7/365 deference and scream “selfish” when someone doesn’t enjoy giving it to them.

                  It’s like the guy I once saw on another forum who claims that they used to race a GT3-prepped Volvo in the canyons until more of their fellow bicyclists started showing up. How come I never hear of someone who stopped riding their bicycle in the canyons so they and their gearhead friends could race there? Pretty easy answer: to a “car-guy bicyclist”, bicycles and their space always come first, and cars are just something to mess around with a few times a year when there’s an autocross or a track day.

                  • Oh Chuckie… what sort of CHEESE would you like with that whine?Face it.. ALL of us pay for the roads. Taxes are mulcted from each of is in myriad stalthy ways, and we ALL pay for the roads.

                    Started out as game trails, then hunting paths, more folks came long, well trodden cleared paths everyone helped clear and maintain. Then horses, buggies, wagons, motorcars (THOSE infernal things.. smoking and belching and making explosions (oops, forgot to retard the tspark when I slowed down…) te horns made horses bolt, then they got paved, perhaps with ballast sones, later bricks, maybe planks…. lots of folks helped build and maintain and use them. No one complained, everyoine went along them however they needed to, minded keeping the way clear for others. and hardly anyone complained.

                    didjya know hALF my outrageous property taxes go to build and maintain the roads I dirve and cycle on? Lots more special interest money goes to build and maintain and “improve… please, just leave them alone already, we have far too much nannying already). A goodly part of my sales taxes go for the same roads, too.

                    You seem to think somehow the use of public rights of way are first and foremost for those who travel by motorcar……. or who use the roads for their own profit, as haul roads for the stuff they are paid to transport.
                    You tlked about the idiot mum with the stroller on the rural two lane road… yup, they are there sometimes. Stiop and ponder WHO and WHY. Perhaps her vfamily are not that well off, so they only have one vehicle, and her working husband needed it that day for work. She still had to get up to the neighbours who live a mile and a half away. What’s she gonna DO? She has the right to travel just like you and I do. She can’t take her three kids on a bicycle. Can’t waot for h=er husband to get home from work. So, she loads up the stoller with two of em and the stuff they need, takes the eldest by her hand, and off they go.

                    I’d say the REAL root issue leading to the situation you complain about is this: local government have decided that improving the roads are a very low priority, so they spend the taxbux on other silly unnecessary things. So there is none left for putting decent shoulders on the roads.
                    In MY county, they DO take that half of my property taxes and do a surprisingly great job on our roads. In the past twenty years they have installed nice smooth 3 or 4 foot shoulders on some 80% of county roads. I have never ridden in a place where there are so many roads so well designed and mainteind to make cycling easy, fast, safe, and low stress. VERY few incidents between bikes and cars in the county. Inside the cities? Whole nuther story.

                    You’ve got it all wrong on the “bike guy vs car guy” meme. I started riding when I was eight, lived in southern California then. At 1o I had to ride to school, four miles each way. The bike also became my personal transportation, an old heavy fat clunkyu slow pig of a bike… but I RODE that thing. Second year high school I talked Dad into “investing” thirty bux on a well used older Italian ten speed. Suddenly I took half the time to get everywhere.. and/or could go twice as far. I was responsible, and well trusted by my parents, and by the end of high school I had dirren into or thorugh every part of the stretch between Point Concepcion, weat of Los Angeles, down the coast to the marine base south of San Juan Capistrano, and inland up into the Baldwin Park hills, east to Fontana,San Bernardino, March Air Force Base, Mount Bald, San Gorgonio, Big Bear Lake, ARrowhead, Lake Elsinore, and up over the Ortega Highway back to San Juan Capistrano, and every in between. Senior year of high school I rode ten thousand miles, sometimgs well over 150 miies in a day, back home for supper. (had to, had run out of money for burgers and was starved). College, I began to explore everywhere between Gilroy, santa Cruz, San Francisco, and the enire peninsula. I got my first car at 19, it was an MGA Roadster. I began y parallel love affair with sports cars, learned to prep and drive them FAST, just like I had with the bikes. Still rode high end Italian raod bikes….. still do. I have some very rare and collectivle classic road bikes dating back to 1961. And some brand new ones, though the older ones are far superior for long distance riding. I also still have some English cars, LandRover, Sprite MGB, and a handful of vintage Mercedes, mostly diesels. I drive my one ton Ford van far fasteer in the twisties than most other drivers on the road, and can push most others along the windy ways up and over the passes, etc.
                    So much for your “pick one or the other” meme… I still am a very avid persuer fo both worlds. And I operate in each one fully aware ot the needs and wants of the other. I chew out riders going the wrong way, against traffic. I don’t care if anyone else runs the reds, as long as they don’t make drivers mad by putting them at risk of hitting them. I’ve leared good road manners in both worlds. I’ve ridden my bikes somewhere above 200,000 miles, and my various cars and trucks (drove a Mack and a Kenworrh for a while…. for mone, of course, and for years my every day driver was a C 60 Chev ith a 20 foot full sized dry van on i t. My daily driver. Ive driven somewhere above 2 and a half million miles. Been in one wrick with the van, some clown decided he ws bigger’n me and could take another go-round in a roundabout tried it by pushing me into another go-round. My four tonees told his one point five tonnes which way HE was going. I had the ROW, he placed himself in my blind spot and just kept on coming. His insurance paid a grand to fix the scrape in the bumper paint. Its still there. That grand bought a lot of fuel.

                    The roads are for ALL of us, as we ALL pay for them. Cement truck, desicably driven city busses, Prii, Teslas, 1965 Datsun pickups blelching smoke, bicycles, stollers, horses, folks walking their dogs, and we all haev to use the roads in ways that keep ourselves, and those ruond about us safe and whole. I’ve been on the bike and had idemented drivers throw liter bottles at me (one missed a differnt guy hit, cops did NOTHING despite having number plate and witness who stopped), open car doors into me to try and knock me over, move over and sidewapie me to trya nd run me off the road, open car doors in front of me as I approach (THAT’s why I keep a door’w width of space between me and the parked cars….. self defense). Oh, and speaking of self-devense, I DO carry a handgun when riding the bike or driving. Different one for each activity, but I will not go out there unarmed. I’ve yet to meet a cop who could keep up with me on the bike, so I will “see t the security of a free state” myself.

                    A few thoughts and facts foryou tp put into the hopper and turn the crank to see what comes out. I WILL mektnion this, though. If you ever HIT a cyclist who is doing what he is supposed to be doing, you WILL face serious consequences. same with a pediestian, especially if its a Mum with a stoller ding what she is supposed to be doing out there. Of course, if I do tstupid things out on the bike and hit a car….. well, MY consequences for my inattention, lack of skill, failing to observe the laws of physics will reward me suitably.

                    • You can accuse me of whining, but when you then proceed to prove every single “whine” I posted, does it really matter all that much?

                      “Face it.. ALL of us pay for the roads. Taxes are mulcted from each of is in myriad stalthy ways, and we ALL pay for the roads.

                      Started out as game trails, then hunting paths, more folks came long, well trodden cleared paths everyone helped clear and maintain. Then horses, buggies, wagons, motorcars (THOSE infernal things.. smoking and belching and making explosions (oops, forgot to retard the tspark when I slowed down…) te horns made horses bolt, then they got paved…”

                      So I have been told about a zillion times by now, and yet, I’m no more interested in walking or bike riding that I was before, you know why? Because unlike some people, I don’t believe in being an eternal obstacle just because I have a right to! I’ve acknowledged – very, very grudgingly – that non-drivers have a right to road space, but you don’t see me jumping for joy and rushing to inflict that right on everyone else.

                      “didjya know hALF my outrageous property taxes go to build and maintain the roads I dirve and cycle on? Lots more special interest money goes to build and maintain and “improve… please, just leave them alone already, we have far too much nannying already). A goodly part of my sales taxes go for the same roads, too. ”

                      Great. Wonderful. General taxes pay for the roads. If you’re really a car enthusiast, that shouldn’t be something you’re looking to take advantage of… but sadly, it so often is. Is there a way to wean already-built infrastructure off of general taxes so it can be made car-only? I don’t know, but if there is I haven’t heard anyone here mention it because they’re happy with things as they are. What about putting new roads on a user-fee model, the way Michigan’s snowmachine trails work? That would solve both the everything-must-be-allowed problem of publicly-owned roads and the liability problem of privately-owned roads, but I don’t see anyone here clamoring for it, because, again, they’re happy with the way things are now.

                      “You seem to think somehow the use of public rights of way are first and foremost for those who travel by motorcar……. or who use the roads for their own profit, as haul roads for the stuff they are paid to transport.”

                      In a theoretical sense, bicycles unfortunately have a right to road space, but in a practical sense, absolutely. It’s been 60, maybe 70 years since bicycles made up a significant fraction of road traffic in most areas, and there comes a point where it’s just plain smarter to work with the done thing rather than to make yourself a nuisance and a hazard by forcing yourself against, it whether you “have a right” to or not. There’s liking bicycles, and then there’s acting like it’s still 1905 and the automobile is still a newfangled interloper on roads full of everything else. If you can look at a dark, narrow, curvy road and say with a straight face that no one except drivers should be expected to bother themselves about the bad sightlines and narrow shoulders, then you are officially the latter.

                      Since you mentioned horses several times during your post, what about horses? Would you, as a driver or a bicyclist, like it if horse people started thinking like bicycle people? Just imagine it… the excrement everywhere, the sub-bicycle speeds, the extra space demanded, the possibility of spooking one to catastrophic effect… neither drivers nor bicyclists nor even pedestrians would be enjoying that situation very much, and you know it. But technically, they do have just as much right to road space as bicyclists do. If they were running around flexing that right and randomly subjecting dark, narrow, roads to their presence, would you be able to defend that with a straight face, or would you have to admit they were moronic mobile anachronisms on a mission to get themselves killed and some other poor schmuck thrown in prison for it?

                      “You tlked about the idiot mum with the stroller on the rural two lane road… yup, they are there sometimes. Stiop and ponder WHO and WHY. Perhaps her vfamily are not that well off, so they only have one vehicle, and her working husband needed it that day for work. She still had to get up to the neighbours who live a mile and a half away. What’s she gonna DO? She has the right to travel just like you and I do. She can’t take her three kids on a bicycle. Can’t waot for h=er husband to get home from work. So, she loads up the stoller with two of em and the stuff they need, takes the eldest by her hand, and off they go.”

                      Uh, sorry, but no. If she’s defaulting to that without even trying to get help from family or friends, then she’s still a nincompoop putting herself and her children in mortal danger. There’s a whole world of ways to get around this: maybe one of her husband’s coworkers will be willing to carpool so she can keep the car at home (I for my part am pretty much always willing to be someone’s lifeboat if I can), maybe a friend or relative has an old car one of them can borrow, depending on what her destination is and how much notice they have he could possibly drop her there on his way to work, etc. etc. etc. But even if some incredibly contrived circumstance forces her to do what you’re describing, perhaps she could at least take the basic step of, oh I don’t know, NOT SPRAWLING OUT ACROSS HALF THE FREAKIN’ ONCOMING LANE?

                      My preferred solution to this would be physically separated infrastructure for non-drivers, and it does occasionally get built… just not nearly often enough and never for the roads where you’d actually want to push your machine, AND getting people to use them is an uphill battle for reasons I don’t pretend to understand.

                      Hey, since you like to play whatabouts, whatabout all the vehicles that are wider than a standard passenger car? You know, big rigs, motorhomes, rollback flatbeds… even a pickup truck with a trailer will often put their trailer on the dirt without even trying to. So one of these people meets Stroller Mom I guess one or both is just sort of hosed? What are they supposed to do? Preemptively slow down way more than they have to? Take ridiculous 18-wheeler-in-the-city lines to avoid trespassing the shoulder? That whole dance sounds like a bundle of fun for everyone stuck behind the large vehicle, like they aren’t annoying enough (especially motorhomes) already! In the end, it’s just more of the same, thinking people should be willing and happy to drive as if on eggshells anywhere a non-driver might possibly be.

                      “I’d say the REAL root issue leading to the situation you complain about is this: local government have decided that improving the roads are a very low priority, so they spend the taxbux on other silly unnecessary things. So there is none left for putting decent shoulders on the roads. In MY county, they DO take that half of my property taxes and do a surprisingly great job on our roads. In the past twenty years they have installed nice smooth 3 or 4 foot shoulders on some 80% of county roads. I have never ridden in a place where there are so many roads so well designed and mainteind to make cycling easy, fast, safe, and low stress. VERY few incidents between bikes and cars in the county. Inside the cities? Whole nuther story.”

                      See, that’s the whole problem. You’re looking for roads that make cycling “easy, fast, safe, and low stress.” Now if you favor wider shoulders because you think they’ll make DRIVING “easy, fast, safe, and low stress” then that’s another thing – to be sure, a wider shoulder would have value as an “escape lane” in case there is a wild animal or stalled vehicle ahead in the lane, but that’s not why you mentioned them, and to function that way… guess what… they’d have to be bicyclist- and hitchhiker-free anyway.

                      For giving non-drivers space, I’d much prefer separated nonmotorized-traffic infrastructure. IF you can get people to use it, then it gets the non-drivers much further away from the road, doesn’t put the gutter so far out of reach, and hopefully lures away the multiple-abreast walkers as well so they no longer take up lane space. Stroller Lady, Almost Armstrong, and DUI Revocation McNoLights can walk/ride without worrying about cars, while drivers can gutter hook in peace (most of the time, anyway). Plus, the separated infrastructure, not having to support motor vehicles, can be made of inexpensive materials such as dirt or gravel, which as an added bonus are much healthier to walk on than pavement. But most bicyclists, they don’t want separated infrastructure… they just want a slice of the road forever. And if separated infrastructure is built, then when the dog walkers and stroller moms find the also-publicly-funded bike trails, the trails are “ruined” and so the bicyclists are right back out on the road.

                      “You’ve got it all wrong on the “bike guy vs car guy” meme. I started riding when I was eight, lived in southern California then. At 1o I had to ride to school, four miles each way. The bike also became my personal transportation, an old heavy fat clunkyu slow pig of a bike… but I RODE that thing. Second year high school I talked Dad into “investing” thirty bux on a well used older Italian ten speed. Suddenly I took half the time to get everywhere.. and/or could go twice as far. I was responsible, and well trusted by my parents, and by the end of high school I had dirren into or thorugh every part of the stretch between Point Concepcion, weat of Los Angeles, down the coast to the marine base south of San Juan Capistrano, and inland up into the Baldwin Park hills, east to Fontana,San Bernardino, March Air Force Base, Mount Bald, San Gorgonio, Big Bear Lake, ARrowhead, Lake Elsinore, and up over the Ortega Highway back to San Juan Capistrano, and every in between. Senior year of high school I rode ten thousand miles, sometimgs well over 150 miies in a day, back home for supper. (had to, had run out of money for burgers and was starved). College, I began to explore everywhere between Gilroy, santa Cruz, San Francisco, and the enire peninsula.”

                      I rode a bicycle when I was younger… mainly around my subdivision, and even then, it was just a wishful substitute for the car I couldn’t drive yet. I haven’t looked back since I got my license, and the only reason I still have that bike is that I just plain forgot it existed for several years. Had a lot of fun with that thing, riding around with the neighborhood kids and jumping it off their dirt ramps, but that’s over now. Even in the absence of parental instruction, I wouldn’t have thought it was a good idea to ride it on main roads, and that hasn’t changed a bit. There’s some trails around, maybe I could still ride it there, but I just can’t make myself want to. It served its purpose for a time, but now I’ve got access to the real thing so why would I bother?

                      “I got my first car at 19, it was an MGA Roadster. I began y parallel love affair with sports cars, learned to prep and drive them FAST, just like I had with the bikes. Still rode high end Italian raod bikes….. still do. I have some very rare and collectivle classic road bikes dating back to 1961. And some brand new ones, though the older ones are far superior for long distance riding. I also still have some English cars, LandRover, Sprite MGB, and a handful of vintage Mercedes, mostly diesels. I drive my one ton Ford van far fasteer in the twisties than most other drivers on the road, and can push most others along the windy ways up and over the passes, etc.”

                      Well good, I’m glad you managed to have all this fun, though I’m not sure how you worked that out while simultaneously partaking of an activity that makes that kind of fun difficult or impossible to ethically have.

                      “So much for your “pick one or the other” meme… I still am a very avid persuer fo both worlds. And I operate in each one fully aware ot the needs and wants of the other.”

                      Sorry, but no. If you’re walking or riding a bicycle anywhere that wouldn’t allow a 12-year-old son or daughter to ride unsupervised, then you are not “fully aware of the needs and wants of” drivers. You might think you are, but having to constantly check yourself and make sure you aren’t just a little too close to the edge of the road, just in case there’s a bicyclist or pedestrian “doing what they’re supposed to”… that’s not real driving, that’s babysitting. It’s fricking tedious and the only thing that keeps me going most of the time is a vain hope that someday I won’t have to anymore, even though at this point I know better than to think anything will ever go in car culture’s favor again.

                      “The roads are for ALL of us, as we ALL pay for them. Cement truck, desicably driven city busses, Prii, Teslas, 1965 Datsun pickups blelching smoke, bicycles, stollers, horses, folks walking their dogs,”

                      And this is supposed to be a good thing?

                      “and we all haev to use the roads in ways that keep ourselves, and those ruond about us safe and whole.”

                      Yeah, and the burden seems to fall mostly on drivers because of course it does. How convenient.

                      “A few thoughts and facts foryou tp put into the hopper and turn the crank to see what comes out. I WILL mektnion this, though. If you ever HIT a cyclist who is doing what he is supposed to be doing, you WILL face serious consequences. same with a pediestian, especially if its a Mum with a stoller ding what she is supposed to be doing out there.”

                      And here we have the other reason I don’t ride bikes. The last thing I want is for someone, especially a fellow car enthusiast, to get in trouble because of me. I want people to be able to push harder, go faster, use more shoulder, even stick their right side tires in the ditch. Why would I get in the way of that myself?

  6. Eric,

    If you really want to ramp up the “freedom” quotient of cycling, get an “e-Bike.” You can legally buy models that will assist your pedaling up to ~30 mph, with most going only up to 20 mph (here in the US, but limited to 15 mph in the dreary, totalitarian EU superstate). So you have a machine that is half-bike (you must pedal) and half e-motorcycle (a huge battery with 50-75 miles of range that can push you to 30 mph like a Tour De France rider).

    This IMHO is kind of the sweet spot for freedom of movement these days. Because it’s still a bike (technically), there is no license, no plate, no tags, no pull overs for “speeding,” no liability insurance, no collision/comprehensive, etc…. But because it’s e-assisted, you can go much farther and faster than a normal bike while still getting the health-improving aspects of pedaling.

    Of course, the safety issue of riding on public roads is still there, but some towns have bike paths that you can try to chain together to minimize time on the road.

    Just my 2cents.

    • Hi Mike,

      A customer of mine just bought an e-assist gravel bike and loves it. She’s in her 60’s and very active but started to shy away from longer rides. She did a 60 mile, mostly dirt road, loop with about 3,000 feet of climbing last week. This still required a lot of effort but the e-assist was just enough to keep her reasonably fresh until finished. Another friend has an e-assist “long bike” which has a lot of hauling capacity which he uses for errands that most would not consider on a regular bike.

      Also, you can brag to the eco-lunatics that your “hybrid” is way better than theirs.

      Cheers,
      Jeremy

      • Damn Jeremy, I’d ride an e bike. In Texas you can ride a motor bike and not register it or need a license as long as the engine is not too large(don’t recall the limit on size).

        What I’d like to have is one of the Streamliners. Instead of driving to the liquor store, I’d ride and be the better off for it. An e streamliner would be even more advantageous and probably get older people like myself into better shape simply because running out of human power would allow you to continue, such as your friend.

        • Hey Eight,

          If you could find an old Schwinn Streamliner at a decent price you could get a front wheel built with an electric motor hub for pretty cheap. This would be a great e-bike for what you want.

          Cheers,
          Jeremy

          • Jeremy, thanks. I’ll look for one. I’m not in a hurry. In fact, I enjoy immensely, riding the back roads on a piece of equipment and just watching the wildlife.

            I roaded a big front end loader about 10 miles Wed. and was rewarded first by a huge 450 boar crossing in front of me, then a couple deer, another deer and then a small hog and his big mama behind. Rounded a really tight corner and saw a small bobcat slip into the weeds. Stuff like that makes my day.

            I broke up a bunch of hogs near the house hanging out on the driveway a couple weeks ago headed to work. Cold weather gets here they’ll be larger and I’ll be ready to harvest a couple and make sausage with venison.

            We’re going to buy another chest freezer and stuff it with pork and venison to feed the cats and CJ. We’re not above eating the good parts like the loins inside and out.

            Wish I could find somebody to tan hide. I’m a bit stiff for it now.

  7. Surprising positive reaction from most commentators. A few soreheads. Yes, no one likes waiting behind a bike but that is pretty rare. About the same as a cement truck, and who goes nuts over those? However in some places (Cali cities, other commie run places) they do try to make you have a “bike permit” sticker. Not common. Some regulation but not heavily enforced. Yes, bikes do give you a sense of freedom.
    However, biking is only for good, dry weather, daylight, with decent roadways and low vehicle traffic. I rode only bikes for several years as a college student in a big city with bad roads (any other kind?). Also had lots of rain, though was pretty flat. Mostly sober drivers in daytime though. Downsides are very little carrying capacity, no weather protection, hot, etc. And some insane car drivers (or truck). Also, only good for folks in decent shape, two good legs, good vision, etc. A great way to get cardio.
    Bikes don’t substitute for powered vehicles, but can be great for some uses. Dangerous though, since no protection. I quit regularly riding when the 5th person was killed in my neighborhood. Gym is safer. Would love to ride if I move somewhere less trafficked. Spandex is optional fellas.

  8. I know multiple people(all adults) killed riding bikes on public roads. One in particular was heart breaking as he left behind 4 teenage boys after he was run over by a garbage truck.

    People riding bikes on highly traveled highways are close to insane in my book. They have to count on every driver passing them doing the right thing….they have virtually no control yet many have a sense of entitlement when riding on the road.

    I say this as an avid motorcycle rider myself. I ride with the expectation that everyone around me will do the wrong thing, but I also almost always ride faster than all the traffic around me so I’m in control more of the time I’m riding(but not all)- only tweaking that slightly in heavily urban areas where there’s a lot of intersections and crossing traffic. (then I use car shielding and other techniques with a combination of maximizing time/space via speed and lane positioning)

    There is still a chance a moron “cager” takes me out, but IMO it’s far less than those turtling down heavily trafficked roads on a bicycle with the unrealistic expectation that everyone around them will do the right thing. All the while behaving with a general sense of entitlement many avid bicyclists seem to harbor toward the general public regarding their “right” to be on the road as being superior to that of the average driver.

    There are many more parks today than 40 years ago for people to ride bikes in and traffic on public roads has become exponentially more busy….yet as you note, the trend for adults riding bikes on said public highways seem to be increasing…..pure crazy IMO.

    • I ride everywhere in the DC region in all weather and in the dark, and do not find it terribly dangerous. You just have to develop judgement about timing and routes and light yourself up like a Christmas tree with flashing LEDs. Transit bicycling is like motorcycling in that it really takes a couple years of carefully learning the ropes before you’re properly SAAAAFE. I’ve wiped out and broken a bone or two, but hey, such is life. Three weeks later, back on the road.

      Multiple times I’ve raced drivers as we both depart at the same time and won over distances as far as 20 miles. I can easily beat any public transit option anywhere inside a 35 mile radius. Also, often I’ll be on one of the paved bike trails and wind up in an impromptu paceline and it always makes my day. Two or three random guys will sync up and take turns pulling at the front and we’re all flying at 25 mph. So much fun.

      As Eric alludes to, I think I have saved easily $20K over the years by being an avid cyclist and not owning a car (I have a beater motorcycle, and rent cars or use cabs regularly). I go through two bicycle chains and four or five tires a year. Total amortized annual cost of doing thousands of miles is probably a few hundred after including apparel to ride in winter temps, studded tires for ice, and such like.

      I road my motorcycle to the New Jersey shore two weekends ago. It sucked. It was goddamn terrifying dealing with idiot drivers and trucks doing stupid unpredictable things on I-95. Getting fleeced by the scam highway tolls in Maryland and Delaware also makes one angry. Last Friday I bicycled to the same destination (DC to Avalon, NJ) and it was a joy. Road out to Annapolis after work, crashed in a cheap motel, hitched a ride over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge early in the morning, and then cycled to the Lewes Ferry and then up the NJ coast. The whole experience was fun. Driving or motorbiking anywhere is just scary and expensive and unpleasant these days whereas I typically have fun on my bicycle.

  9. I got a CA M2 license required to ride a moped. I actually have a bike that I mounted an engine kit on. It can be disconnected by raising the friction roller off the rear tire and then I have a true bike. But because it’s not electric and just a 35cc honda weed wacker engine, I was required to take the silly driving test, where you simply ride a figure 8 in the parking lot.

    I did have to get insurance ($100 for a year) to take the test. And you have to buy this one time $25 small license plate you mount under the seat. But you don’t have to renew, so I canceled the insurance once I had the M2 qualifier. At the DMV they didn’t know the rules and when they saw the renewal year said 0/0/0 they thought that meant I hadn’t paid the renewal fee. 2 hours later after they researched the rules, they finally let me take the test. I’m allowed in the bike lanes, but I’m not allowed to go over 30mph anywhere. And technically I’m required to use a DOT approved motorcycle helmet, not just a bike helmet. But I don’t think the cops even know the rules; never been stopped with my lightweight helmet.

    Electric powered bikes have none of these requirements. They just aren’t allowed to go over 25 mpg, or maybe 20, it’s been 10 years since I went through this.

  10. Rambling rider here. Four times on the Assault on Mt Mitchell with the last being #295 out of over 1350 finishers, 6 hours 41 minutes to go 100 miles with a net climb of near 5000 feet.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assault_on_Mount_Mitchell

    I have ridden with groups from 2 to 50+ and been piled up in a ditch by a sorry SOB car driver.

    If the road was clear and no cars were up front we stayed 2 or 4 abreast and never had a problem, well one, that sorry SOB and how he missed my partner I’ll never know.
    If there was traffic up front or hills / curves we got a call “Car Back” and singled up to let the car pass.

    Please consider that if you are behind a pack of fast riders, 30+ MPH, its one person, or car load, and a lot more up there.

    In some States cyclist enjoy the full rights to the lane as a car and you are required to fully cross the center line in a pass. Sorta like pedestrians have the right of way if acting according to their rules, but if not it depends.
    I do not think this entitles a few slow cyclists to take up the entire lane when they can single up and let cars pass by sharing the lane. Cars, put your tire on the center line at the least. If you cannot do that then you wait or learn to drive. How do you want me to pass your child??? Do the same.

    Pass safely, as you would a car, and I thank you for the boost of your draft.
    If you cannot see over the hill, or round the curve, and there is not space / distance for you to get around I’ll signal for you to wait and WILL block you until I can see over the hill, then I will wave you around.
    Why? Are you going to hit the car you did not see head on if you lolly-gag about getting around or push me into the guard rail / ditch / curb / over the embankment, etc., or? Thought so.

    I had a 30 mile ride I loved to take when the rush hour traffic was doing 50 – 60 and I got pulled along by the draft. I could do 40 MPH! Cars all hugged the center line and I stayed a foot off the white line.
    I loved passing the cars when they had to slow for a turner.

    Buses and moving vans were great and I could pace these at up to 50 mph if I was 2-3 feet off the bumper. Had to watch for the RR Tracks and jump over them.

    On one 2 day ride, I happened to be leading a pack of 30 when we were overtaking a car behind some slower of the group who we let leave 2 hours early so we would not stretch the group out too long, struggling up a hill. This was too good to be true, I dropped a gear and we passed the car and riders. He got a kick out of that and passed us back a few miles down the road.

    Where are the problems – inconsiderate riders and drivers. These are the same type folks who demand you give way on the water when a simple course change by them will help everybody. Big boat drivers who go just below plane and drag a big wake behind. These usually have a DNR sticker on the side and are the worst on the lake. Sail boats who will not tack 50 yards early on crowded water so you do not get pushed against the shore or go putt putt across the traffic flow.

    That said, even I despise an inconsiderate cyclist barely going fast enough to stay upright and taking up the entire lane….at a stop sign.
    Those out for their weekly ride at 5 to 10 MPH demanding the cars get out of their way.

    Now, if you hate the cyclist, are you envious of our “biker bodies”? You know great legs and flat stomach? (Well some of us, a lot of pot bellies out there now a days.)

    Be as considerate as you would of the guy with the Model A or a Stanley Steamer. Or the trailer of hogs which may well be your next plate of Bar-B-Q.

    And remember, if you live long enough you will be the old guy in a hat!!

    Brutus

    • Hi Brutus,

      Many people who ride in groups can’t ride at 30 MPH, hold a straight line, understand the dynamics of the pace line or react well to calls of “car back”. I am an avid cyclist and consider group rides to be pretty loathsome. Now, if everyone in the group is a skilled and reasonably fit rider who is always aware of his surroundings and can react to an upcoming car without sudden jerks, what you say is mostly true. However, that is rarely the case. I also consider promoting group rides to be a huge tactical error, as it is unlikely that anything else annoys drivers more. Those of us who are aware of, and considerate to, other road users are lumped into the Spandex mafia.

      Cheers,
      Jeremy

  11. I’m both an avid cyclist and enjoy driving–97 GMC Sierra with manual transmission–and have got to say that this is the best article about cycling I’ve ever read from a car guy. Nailed it. Yes, there are jerks on two wheels (motorized and non) and four alike, but reality is that there just isn’t much that beats the feeling of the wind in your face while you work up a good sweat. Or, for that matter, there isn’t much that beats the feeling of the breeze coming through an open window while the engine works up a good sweat.

    Regarding helmets, my take is that whatever the law of the land says, the laws of physics tell me that I much prefer a helmet shattering vs. my skull, especially as I think of a lovely young lady I know who shattered a helmet in an accident. She got a concussion, but she is here, praise God. Spandex? Great as an undergarment or race wear, but I’m not persuaded I need to show the world every curve of my body as a daily thing.

    • Hi BB,

      The safety record of bicycle helmets is not that good. In fact, some studies conclude that those who use helmets are more likely to sustain serious brain injury than those who don’t. The possible reasons for this are interesting. First, because bicycle helmets are designed only to withstand a relatively low impact to the top of the head, they are often inadequate in real world accidents. Second, those who wear helmets may engage in more risky cycling behavior, falsely believing that the helmet will protect them in a high impact collision. Third, there is some evidence to suggest that drivers behave more aggressively around helmeted riders.

      This Ted Talk provides an interesting perspective and is worth a watch.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=07o-TASvIxY

      Side note to Eric. I think you’d enjoy the video. It is interesting and funny and heaps contempt on the worldwide obsession with saaaaaaaaaaaaaaafety. He lambastes the deleterious effect that “fear culture” has created in modern society. Still, he is a typical Statist who believes that governments should be actively promoting bicycling and dissuading car use. Although, his comments on cars seem partly tongue in cheek and are quite funny.

      Cheers,
      Jeremy

  12. Yep, government ruins everything. And cycling will be no exception. At age 69, I still occasionally go for a bike ride. Although I don’t like cycling where there is a lot of car traffic. I usually go riding on a bike path and I don’t even own a helmet. Since the late 1950’s, I have rode a bike with no protection. We have cold months here so for about 5 months of the year, it doesn’t appeal to me. For me, both a car and bike have there uses. When the government finally knuckles down on bike riding, it will be because they will see it as another source of revenue…because they are essentially going broke (especially local and state entities that can not print money) and after that they will start regulating running and walking and then breathing. It will never end.

  13. Your instincts about bicycles are right on, Eric. I got to see some of communist eastern europe before they decided to dump the commies. One thing I noticed was that the totalitarian regimes HATED bicycles. There were lots of bicycles all over western europe and Amsterdam was awash with them. But step into East Germany and they disappeared. I talked to a 30 ish girl who said she’d never had a bike in her younger days. Now, you’d think that in a place where personal transportation (except for government busses) was difficult and expensive, they’d have MORE bikes than western europe. But it finally dawned on me that people on bikes are hard to keep track of and control. The same girl told me about the INTERNAL PASSPORTS they had to have in order to get permission to travel from one city to another.

  14. I admire your dispassionate tone in this piece, Eric. You seem to be putting aside your rightful feelings of ill will toward the state to understand and describe and accept a situation. Driving on public roads offers me endless opportunities to practice self restraint rather reacting angrily to people who are not driving (or biking) the way I would like them to.

    • Like the Vietcong? They moved countless thousands of tons of materiel with bikes. I bicycle was a revolution for pedestrians. Now that YOU have a car you see those without a few hundred horsepower as being “children”. I see them as people who like to ride and stay healthy and save a buttload of money. Of course I’m just a child…..or 70 years and I simply ride to screw everyone else over. Never mind those oilfield truckers honk and wave or I get to stop and talk to my neighbors.

      • When I worked in the city, I would park my truck outside of the city along a bike trail and ride into town. Cost me absolutely nothing to park next to the office building. I remember the looks of anger I got from people waiting in line at the parking garage paying $ 20 plus a day to park. My coworkers resented me because they were lazy and lacked the intestinal fortitude to get into shape. I remember one of them smiling at me and asking: “What happens if it rains?”. I replied: “What happens if you get fat?”
        I think a lot of the animosity is just due to jealousy. Riding my bike helped me beat the system. Some people hate independents and self reliance. They are weak and critical of those who do not run with the pack.

    • Sometimes a bicycle is exactly the correct vehicle. Over here in China, bicycles and utility tricycles are as numerous as people. I’m 51 and have been an avid cyclist for as long as I can remember. It keeps my heart and lungs in excellent shape. And Mr Peters is 100% correct on that feeling of freedom. I can go pretty much anywhere I want. And considering urban traffic congestion here in Harbin, I can often go faster than the flow. I don’t intend on stopping any time soon.

      • Hi Jack!

        Yup; I’ve not owned a bicycle in years but am considering one… for all the reasons laid out in the article. I just got another bill in the mail from the insurance mafia and am seriously considering not paying. I’m tired – and sick of constantly having hands shoved in my pocket for mandated fees and such that are of no interest/benefit to me (in my judgment). But I can legally skip all that . . . on a bicycle.

        Now if only I could figure out how to do a burnout using pedal power!

        • Eric,

          Don’t you have the Great Pumpkin insured with Hagerty’s? I have heard they are very reasonable. Hell, that Nissan truck you have might qualify as a classic too, or pretty soon I bet. Insurance in Florida is horrible. I have a 2005 Escape and 2008 Ranger, and get raped monthly for $220+. This is with USAA who are supposedly unbeatable. No speeding tickets, ever, not one, although I did total 2 cars many years ago. I’m thinking of dropping comprehensive, but am worried because the wife drives both vehicles, and, well, you know.

          • Hi Rush,

            The GP is covered by American Classic – about $170 annually for agreed value coverage. It still annoys me having to pay for any coverage. One of my longest running rants is that as much as taxes cost us, mandated insurance costs are probably the number two cost. I once added up how much I’ve been forced to hand over to “cover” my vehicles over the past 20 years; the sum is something close to $10,000 – which could cover my living expenses for about half a year, easily.

        • A bicycle has its uses for recreation, and for short trip transport when the weather is decent and you pretty much just have to take yourself and very compact and LIGHT packages. I recall going to the store to get a watermelon for my mother and balancing it on my thigh as I rode my “spyder” bike one-handed.

          Eric, it’s true for NOW that one can ride a bike, unlicensed, and there’s very few, if any, “Fatwas” pertaining to them. Don’t give the fuckers any ideas! I can see where states and/or municipalities will see them as a means to “mulct”, as you put it, further monies from the cycling public, by requiring registration and some manner of “operator’s” license, and these, of course, will be promulgated in the interests of s-a-a-a-a-f-t-e-e-e! Even now, most states have a “cycling while intoxicated” statute (typically can only be a misdemeanor), so if you’re on a long ride on a hot day, and you get a cold one while taking a break at a “bier-garten”, then if the AGWs stop you and smell (or at least CLAIM to smell) alcohol on your breath, you get the whole rigamarole of being forced to do ridiculous and non-scientific exercises to demonstrate ability (or lack thereof) to bike safely. And the s-a-a-a-a-f-t-e-e excuse has already hit, in some ways…if, for example, your toddler is out riding her tricycle sans brain bucket and knee pads, and little Suzy tips over and conks her lovely noggin on the pavement, or scrapes her knees, expect a visit from the modern-day Gestapo aka “Child ‘Protective’ Services!”

          If it’s gets any worse, I’ll go on horseback, thank you very much…but that has its own “emissions” issues!

          • I’ve said multiple times before that horse enthusiasts would be as disliked as bicycle enthusiasts if they thought and acted the same way.

            Please, and I say this very seriously, don’t turn horse riding into the next disease. If there is anything that could be more annoying as a driver than having to constantly expect bicycles and pedestrians around every corner, then surely having to constantly expect horses around every corner is it.

            • We don’t want our horses out in the traffic. Pavement is NOT good to ride on and gravel is not pleasant for the horses. I like to trail ride on the range land so only use the road where absolutely necessary.

              We always ride in the ditch if possible when having to use a county road for access. But the ~!@#$%^&* county grader has pushed most of the gravel off into the ditches so they are actually rougher than the road!

              But if you come out west and drive on secondary roads you may just come across a herd of cows or sheep being moved down the public road. MT is an “open range” state so legally they have right of way over all vehicle traffic. If you hit an animal you will have to pay for it.

        • The trick to doing a burnout on pedal power is simple. You find a patch of sand. Ride across it. As the rear wheel crosses the sand, give the downstroking pedal a good, hard thrust. Wahla! You’ve now done a burnout on a bike! We used to do that as kids. Us guys would have contests to see who could peel out the best… 🙂

      • I’ve been living in China since 2013, and a frequent visitor for years before that. Bicycles have been extinct here for years. They were replaced by mopeds, small motorcycles, scooters, and in the last few years, electric scooters, bikes, and mopeds. I don’t know where you see all these bicycles.

        • This just goes to show my point. Even in a heavily adverse place, people usually won’t stick with bicycles when a better alternative is readily available. Bicyclists like to insist that the 1940s-1970s – i.e. the heyday of car culture, which every enthusiast should want back – were an unnatural anomaly and that it’s normal to have bicycles ruining every road. Somehow I just don’t see that.

    • Hi Roddy,

      I sympathize… really, I do. But the ugly fact is that driving a car isn’t what it used to be. It’s expensive, it paints a target on your back. I get why people – adults – are riding.

      It’s what driving used to be.

  15. Thank you very much, Eric. I’ve learned something new.
    If I love freedom so much (and freedom for all nearly as much), If I refuse an ‘attaboy!’ sticker (look mom, a gold star on my paper!!), If I can accept (what I cannot change) the loss of the car culture, since I’m retired and in no hurry, If some exercise would be good for me, if I’m a maker (as any proper gear head is) and would enjoy an interesting project (like mounting an electric drive on a cycle), if I enjoy shear movement through air and space, even in the passenger seat, and If I’m as adaptable as I think I am, then you may have changed my life, Eric.

    • Hi Carl,

      Yup! Look at it as a way around Uncle. Not entirely, of course – but in some meaningful ways. Of course, I agree with Brent and others here who believe that bicycles will be next. Still, we do what we can while we still can… and so long as a bicycle rider isn’t behaving like a dick, he has my full amen.

  16. You do have to laugh at idiots in lycra, slathered in free advertising for some big corporate wankeration outfit. Best part of the lycra outfits is how bad taste they are. You just can’t look away from the train wreck of ugliness of most of these awful looking critters. The vast majority of them have, let’s be charitable here, unaesthetic shapes. Michelangelo’s David they sure are not. The immodesty of lycra illuminates their odd looking lumps, flabby protrusions, mighty ripples of fat and unhealthy looking bumpy parts. Comedy gold. You can’t help but be entertained. What are they thinking?

    Some years ago at a well known law firm in town a member of staff was told that the office was not a gym and that the scent of a morning commute by cycle was not acceptable. Ended up that the person concerned got manipulated out of the office and down the road…

    So, unaesthetic to the eye and similarly unappealing to the nose.

    Whatever are they thinking?

    • Let’s see the car drivers as they (while driving) inhale their breakfast cereal, apply mascara, swing wildly at their misbehaving back seat kids, and (illegaly) text the earth changing info that they are on the road and will be home in minutes. And let’s see their fat bellies squeezed against the steering wheel barely able to palm that $8 Starbucks. And let’s see them explain to their arresting officer that they just didn’t see that bike rider in the dayglow green “lycra” that they bumped off the bike at the stop light.
      What we’re THEY thinking? Not much.

  17. Ah, Eric. You’re finally giving up on gearhead culture. I remember when this was a site for gearheads. Now it’s going to be all about spandex and kids’ toys made for what passes for adults these days. You and Brent can snuggle up and you can just start writing little leftard screeds about hateful drivers who envy bicyclists.

    It was good here while it lasted, but it was over a couple of years ago. You bike clovers can have it.

    • This is the other thing that mystifies me. How does a car site manage to attract so many people who really don’t care all that much about car culture, or who sort of do but side with everything else 100% of the time when car culture comes into conflict? At least with the video game forums I can understand (after all, I play shooter-type games occasionally but I’d rather starve than join the military in real life), but I’ve seen so many pro-bicycle justifications (frequently delivered with an obvious level of annoyance) from fellow car enthusiasts that I was able to make a bingo card out of them – and much if not most of the material came from comments sections on this site. It’s as if modern “car culture” is suddenly obsessed with everything except cars.

      A lot of what we’re seeing here comes out of libertarian dogma: most roads are funded by general taxes, so everyone helped pay for them, so everyone has a right to use them even if they can’t afford or don’t want a car. But as I’ve pointed out (to no avail) many times, just because you have a right to road ride, doesn’t mean you HAVE TO road ride. You’re still the one making that choice and helping to gut whatever is left of the car hobby. Morally, I can’t force you to stop, but don’t ever come around wondering why car culture is dying and young people don’t want to drive anymore – ’cause I am a young person who still wants to drive, and everyone just thinks I’m selfish and reckless for it.

    • Hi Ed,

      It wasn’t my intent to defend Spandex – god, no! – but rather to point out that 50 years of assault upon motoring has had its effects. If we could drive again, then the biking thing would probably recede into the background, with mostly kids doing it, as was once the case.

      I’m not giving up on gearheading – the Orange Barchetta goes out today, weather willing. But I understand why bicycles have become so popular – and that was the point I was trying to make in the article.

      • It was in the 60’s and 70’s there was a resurgence of bikes, especially 10 speeds and such. Young people rode coast to coast just for the adventure. I used to pick them up at times and even gave them respite and other at my house.

        The wife and I rode bikes and there was a lot to be said for strapping your bike or a scooter to your rig since you could go wherever you wanted and didn’t have to drop a heavy trailer and bobtail.

        I used to get some wild stories by guys(never saw a woman doing a long distance ride). Back then people were nice to bikers but then again, back then people were basically nice or much more courteous.

        I’m not sure the public view of cyclists now isn’t due to the view people have in general. Now, those big clubs with the spandex crowd that are rude beyond rude bring out the bad feelings in everyone.

        • You hit on something Eight. I believe that the turning point for the country in the relationship between riders and drivers came in 1997 when some allegedly “spontaneous” event called Critical Mass was “organized” by some anti-car leftists in the City of San Francisco. They blocked traffic, caused mayhem, sometimes threw things at car drivers. I wouldn’t have liked to be there. I believed it happened sometime around September 1.

          During the 2000’s I was a pretty avid cyclist, although I mostly rode alone and it was for transportation. I lived in Florida at the time, so the climate especially during the fall and winter was extremely hospitable. As a cyclist, I endured the yelling and jeering from drivers as they drove by. It wasn’t pleasant. I understood it, though. Although I couldn’t stand drivers, I hated the politics of the cyclist crowd even more. They were always after making motoring less pleasant through red light cameras, lower speed limits and road diets. So called bicycle advocacy organizations screamed for more bike trails, bike lanes and whatnot. They also would never advocate for changing laws for cyclist, recognizing the differences between a bike and a car. As a group cyclists are rather unpleasant people. I tried to hang around them in groups once in a while. They were boring and inflexible. In the 2000’s they were closeted leftists. Today, they would be in antifa.

          With today’s driving environment dominated by fluoridated, distracted and cell phone using “motorists,” I have largely given up on the “sport.” It’s no fun. It’s dangerous and there are too many physical barriers to entry.

          • Hey Swamp,

            “in 1997 when some allegedly “spontaneous” event called Critical Mass was “organized” by some anti-car leftists in the City of San Francisco”.

            A good friend of mine, and an avid cyclist, coined a term for participants of these hostile and counter-productive events, “Critical Massholes”. As for bike advocates, most are leftist control freaks motivated by hatred of cars, not love of bikes. Most of the cyclists I know, and the few avid cyclists on this forum, hate them. It is also true that many adult recreational cyclists are clueless and inconsiderate, I cringe when I see them in packs.

            Cheers,
            Jeremy

            • Jeremy, back in the spring I turned onto the FM road to my house and encountered a buy on a bike. I just stopped and spoke to him.

              Turns out he was an old friend I didn’t recognize. We’d both spent the last several years in the patch and he was out for a ride, construction worker green dayglo vest and all. I commended him on his choice of vest since I have one myself.

              We had a great conversation. I was “up” for the rest of the day. I still haven’t been by to have a beer with him. It’s been so damned hot for so many months I don’t like to ride in it. Can’t wait for the heat to break. I don’t want to stop by in the pickup but on the bike. He’s several miles away and the only fly in the ointment is a mile or more on US 180. It’s the over-width, over-height, over-weight and over-length road for everything. And they might be going damned fast too.

              I had to move over in a belly dump today for one with a vessel so big it had a “pusher” tractor behind. I sure wish we lived on the same FM road.

              • “He’s several miles away and the only fly in the ointment is a mile or more on US 180. It’s the over-width, over-height, over-weight and over-length road for everything. And they might be going damned fast too.”

                See, to me the only thing that needs to change is for people there to start driving even faster than they already do.

                • I had to move over meeting the over-width load. I guess I should have ignored the wide-load vehicle and wrecked with the guy.

                  I still enjoy cycling, just hate that section of road. The over-width guys have no choice of going over the stripe unless totally necessary.

                  I’ve been on both sides of this. I wouldn’t have recommended riding a cycle on RR 33 during the hey day since I hauled countless over-width, over-height and over weight loads. I can’t get into the oncoming lane when I meet a rig that’s the same or wider.

                  What does that have to do with my liking riding a bicycle?

                  • What it has to do with is, if you know there’s going to be wide loads moving fast on a given road… wouldn’t it be smartest (and most considerate) not to ride a bicycle there at all?

                    • What is would be is a boon to know what’s coming up behind you.

                      US two lane highways and most Texas 2 lane highways are, for all intents and purposes, 4 lane roads except you use the lane outside the white line. TDPS see this all the time and don’t stop people because they know it’s much safer even though the paved shoulder is not a “driving lane”. I am simply paranoid for that mile or so and have no problem getting the hell off the road entirely since Texas non-paved shoulders are, for the most part, very safe if you can drive a nail up your ass. I can do that and chew gum at the same time riding a bike. I just like to be aware of what is coming…..behind me.

                      On the farm to market roads, it’s usually not a big thing with tractors and combines and such meeting or hindering traffic.

                      Farmers have gotten bad(their hands who know no better)about not moving over for regular traffic but they get over for my big rig. I guess it’s a pissing contest and when I’m in a semi, I am the biggest pisser out there plus I have a license plate and not a slow moving vehicle sign. When I’m the guy on the tractor, I move the hell over.

                    • Well… I suppose if it’s a pretty straight road, the risk of becoming a “blind corner surprise” is minimal. I’m pretty sure someone somewhere does make rear view mirrors for bicycles because I’ve seen others talking about them, but I wouldn’t know jack zip about that since I have absolutely zero interest in anything lacking an engine.

      • Hey Eric,

        Thanks for the well written and balanced article. I don’t see how it could be interpreted as a “leftard screed”. I agree with much of the criticism leveled at cyclists, just not the blanket condemnation. I also agree with your later observation about for meaningless traffic infractions. First, you are correct that wishing the loss of freedom or imposition of punishment and fines on others due to those being applied to oneself, is a little off. It is an example of the danger of elevating “fairness” above liberty or Justice. The call for fairness is also often cover for pettiness and vindictiveness.

        Second, if cyclists began meticulously obeying traffic laws, we would be hated even more, as doing so would be more intrusive and slow down traffic. Technically, I’m not allowed to ride on the shoulder unless it’s marked as a bike path, do drivers want me to do that? I’m legally allowed, in most circumstances, to take a full lane, should I? I’m not supposed to pass a line of stopped cars waiting at a light. Should I take the full lane and slow down the group of cars behind me? “Blowing through” stop signs doesn’t harm anyone (unless the cyclist is not paying attention). Should I come to a complete stop and slow others down? Should I not dart left onto a side street when I know that I will be across well before the oncoming driver gets anywhere near me (many don’t understand how quickly a decent cyclist can do this), or should I observe the a standard more appropriate to cars and slow down the driver behind me?

        Finally, the anger directed at cyclists for flouting traffic laws is extremely hypocritical, as those most annoyed are often serial violators themselves. I use the cross walk at a major intersection in town. Yesterday I counted twelve cars that continued turning left after the light had turned green for straight bound traffic. I guess they figure if they all stay in a line, there’s not much the oncoming traffic can do but wait.

        Thanks for the article, I enjoyed it.

        Cheers,
        Jeremy

  18. Extremely thoughtful article.

    Yes, cycling is far more free than driving.

    I used to drive 25,000 miles/year. Did it for years and years.

    Then I changed jobs, where I could cycle to work most of the time, now drive less than 3,000 miles/year. lot more money in my pocket. Healthier, Mentally more happy, and the most unexpected benefit of all – I no longer ever worry about Road Pirates and other petty tyrannies.

    My DL expires in 2 years, I am musing about simply letting it expire.

  19. If you’re riding your bike on a road that you wouldn’t let your kid ride a bike on…..
    It’s sad this needs to be explained to adults. I’m a cyclist, though I stay off road because I drive with people.

    • This man’s spitting straight truth. I was, and I suspect most people were, taught as children that you don’t ride on main roads and you move out of the way when an adult comes to ride through. But then sometimes, when they grow up, they think that now, because they are the adult, they are responsible enough to ride a bike wherever they want, whenever they want. Or they have a right. Or whatever. The problem is, when you go walking or riding where you shouldn’t, it’s not just yourself that you’re putting in a bad spot. You could be making some other poor schmuck, who’s just trying to get to work or maybe have a little fun, into your executioner. Even if they manage to convince the authorities that the collision wasn’t their fault, they still have to live the rest of their life with you on their conscience.

      Ah well. Guess they should have “given more space” – to someone they had no way of knowing was actually there, and little or no time to react to.

  20. I think maybe, just maybe there are some cyclists who also have a background in economics and has studied the oil and gas industry and are preparing for a world where they can just say, what’s that? 12 dollars a gallon, no thanks, I think I will just bike to work. I guess New York City was the only place where grown men were getting into fist fights in the 70s oil crisis which is about to make its way back to the 21st century, not sure when, but I sure want to be bicycling everywhere local when it does and hopefully by then I will also have a fully electrical vehicle so fat chance siphoning gas from my car like they used to in the 70s in NYC. Either Americans have historical amnesia, are all only millennials or we are not having the same life experiences from city to city. Why do you think the cap for gas tanks are now locked? Yes, that’s right because of all the siphoning of gas our neighbors used to do in the late 70s. What I find more interesting is, what will the big badass pickup and SUV drivers do? Continue to pay $10 a gallon for gas? Commit suicide because of the disbelief of our new future, siphon someone else’s gas like they used to do in NYC in the 70s and get themselves shot in the process? Those are the questions I ask myself as I look to relocate to a city with local street routes to everything for my bicycle and mass transit. I figure the government wont have to fight for gas, they will get first dibs.

    • Governments always have gotten first dibs on gasoline. I remember reading an article on how congress critters got gas for 67 cents a gallon back in 1979 when we were enjoying the second energy crunch. I disagree with your assumption about getting to a job if gas goes to $12 a gallon. If it gets anywhere close to $5, there will hardly be any jobs left.

  21. I have three bicycles and have been riding them exclusively (no car) for four years.
    All year round in Pa. Sure, sometimes it’s rough and inconvenient but at the same time it’ also healthy and convenient. Especially now that I’ve turned one of them into an electric bike with a e-bike kit I bought online and installed in an hour. Sometimes technology really does rock!

    • I used to use a bike almost exclusively in Buffalo for 7 months a year. Work was only 2 miles away. Some people thought I did it because I was cheap. (Okay, I am.)

      It’s actually a great place to bike because it has wide shoulders on the roads, so there a place to throw the snow. Put only 2000 mile a year on the car.

  22. Sorry Eric, but I think you’re kind of off base when you chalk opposition to bicycling up to “freedom envy”. The thing that motivates my frequent rants and snipes on the subject isn’t that bicyclists have more freedom than drivers, it’s that their freedom comes at the cost of mine. While they’re out loving life and enjoying any road they feel like, they are also sucking all the remaining fun out of driving. You can’t even concentrate on driving anymore because you constantly have to worry about whether you’re too close to the edge of the road to avoid NoEngine McIHaveARight when the inevitable finally happens. And that’s assuming they’re being as smart as they can about it, not riding against traffic, taking up the entire lane because just taking up part of it isn’t annoying enough, riding without lights in the darkest hours of the night, etc. etc. etc. Pedestrians are even worse, especially the people walking dogs and the hitchhikers materializing out of the darkness 50 feet in front of you. If a road has any houses at all, then someone will eventually think they should be able to walk straight down the middle of the oncoming lane without a care in the world, even if the speed limit is 55 and every corner is blind. And on it goes.

    Of course, complain about any of this on a car forum and you get mobbed by angry bicyclists who think you are literally Stalin reincarnated, because apparently everything except cars is now a sacred cow to car culture.

    Driving is kind of a weird thing. Its appeal is nearly universal, but at the same time it is something which must be understood instinctively, and very few people do even within car culture. It’s like the professional race car drivers who autograph cop cars or daily-drive stock hybrids by choice. They know all there is to know about lines and technique, but still they do not truly understand driving. If you’ve got the driver’s instinct, then you’ll intuitively get what I’m saying about bicycles and pedestrians and why I’m saying it. If you don’t, well, you’ll just keep turning the road into a “shared” “multimodal” garbagefest of fear and tedium because you have a right, perhaps while insisting that it’s still possible to enjoy driving anyway. At this point I’ve heard so many pro-bicycle excuses from fellow car enthusiasts that I was able to make a bingo card out of them, but in the end… you may have a right, but using it is still entirely your choice, and you shouldn’t expect me to ever support that choice.

    • Although, upon reflection, I will admit that the freedom gap between drivers and bicyclists is pretty resentable. The rule for bicycles and pedestrians these days seems to be that you can be as stupid as you want and no one will ever bother you for it because you’re not a car. And so apparently just having to drive paranoid everywhere and spend more mental effort on dodging literal phantoms than on actually driving isn’t bad enough, now you have to watch out for people doing things that anyone with an IQ over 40 should immediately recognize as either complete inconsideracy, suicidal lunacy, or both. They can just waltz in and turn any great driving road into a ribbon of paranoia with zero notice and without even having to do anything other than go there, they can walk/ride around without any lights or even any reflective stuff in the middle of the night, they can walk straight down the middle of a lane, it just goes on and on. In theory, there may be some rules governing how non-drivers move about, but in practice, they can do almost whatever they want, and you as a driver, especially a fast driver, WILL expect this and let them if you don’t want to deal with things like manslaughter charges (and possibly convictions).

      And then bike paths come into it. Apparently they don’t exist because they’re really for pedestrians first, but at the same time this is a bad thing because they’re still called bike paths… something like that. The practical long and short of it is, non-drivers of all types get to use both “ours” and “theirs” at the same time because of a quirk of road funding, and then the bicyclists have the gall to complain when pedestrians find their way on to the paths, even though those are almost certainly funded from general taxes too.

      In the end, it all comes back to the bicyclist mentality, which basically boils down to “Bicycle Uber Alles forever and throughout the universe.” Drivers don’t like watching out for bicycles? They’re selfish fascists. Pedestrians find the bike path? They’re in the way and shouldn’t be there. Road is too narrow? Just demand wider shoulders and take up as much space as you feel is reasonable until you get them. Every corner is blind? Drivers can just hug the center of their lane around every right hander, I mean that sounds like a reasonable expectation doesn’t it? Road is way too fast for a bicycle to keep up? Doesn’t matter, that’s everyone else’s problem to figure out. Road is literally the Nurburgring Nordschleife? If only the tolls weren’t so high! Someone actually wants to enjoy driving the way that used to be possible? LOL, build your own roads! It’s that easy! As I said above… I do frankly get very tired of being expected to exercise unlimited amounts of judgment and self-control towards people who scream “YOU’RE SELFISH! YOU’RE A FASCIST! YOU’RE INFRINGING MY RIGHTS! YOU JUST WANNA GO 80 IN A SCHOOL ZONE!” when asked to use either one of those things.

      It’s like I’ve said several times before. If horse people thought and acted the way bicycle people did, no one – and that includes the bicycle people – would want them around either.

      • Hi Chuck,

        I’ve had to fight with myself, too, over the Freedom Gap – but in the end, realized that it’s good for all when anyone “gets away” with it. The more the merrier – and with luck, the attitude will spread. Maybe not, of course. But at the end of the day, if I resent being mulcted for rolling through a Stop sign (when it’s clearly safe to do so because there are no other cars around) then I can’t object when a cyclist does the same or similar.

        Wouldn’t it be great if we could all just exercise good judgment and be left the hell alone unless we actually cause a problem?

        • eric, not to be bossy but quit fighting,especially, with yourself. It’s too big a hassle and so many are really fighting, wanting you and everyone else to agree. Just roll with it and let anyone else who wants to fights, do so. You have better thinkgs to do.

        • But don’t you know good judgment is fascist? All that matters is that bicycles have a right to ride anywhere they want any time they want, even if the speed limit (let alone the prevailing speed of traffic) is way beyond what a bicycle could ever hope to reach, every corner is blind, and the shoulders are 6 inches wide where they exist at all. If you don’t like them because they interfere with high-performance driving, then you’re a selfish fascist who just wants to go 80 in a school zone. If you don’t like them because they interfere with normal driving, then you’re a moron who can’t pass properly. If you don’t like them because you’re a pedestrian and you think they endanger you, then you’re the obstacle and shouldn’t be there. It’s just “bicycle uber alles” all day every day and then they hide behind libertarian dogma or the few people who genuinely can’t afford cars to justify it.

          It’s like the idea of riding a bicycle on the Nurburgring Nordschliefe. Technically allowed, apparently, but the fact that anyone would even think that was an acceptable thing to do, let alone actually go through with it, simply beggars belief. But then, I guess that’s the bicyclist mentality in full effect.

          I mean, I can understand wanting more facilities for cycling, I really can, but to go around talking and acting like it’s still 1905 and the automobile is still a newfangled interloper on roads full of everything else, is frankly absurd. I’d expect it from the eco-loons, but when I see it coming from fellow car enthusiasts it makes me wonder why should I even bother anymore.

  23. It’s almost as bad on a motorcycle/scooter. I take my Whizzer out every now and then and even though it does 40/45 people are still upset because they want to go 60-70…. (in a 45),,, for those of you that have the need for speed I don’t have the pockets to be paying out fines and increased insurance you apparently have. I’ve had them so close that their mirror clipped mine and I am on the white line. I was stopped by a nice lady telling (screaming) me that the Whizzer wasn’t allowed on the road even though I had plates on it. It must be said that this happens very few times but it’s nerve wracking because you don’t know who your gonna piss off and these days they just might off you if you catch them pissed off at the world.

  24. I don’t envy them, I just despise the ones in NYC.

    You ever see them in NYC? They take the NY attitude to the next level, blow through lights and if they hit you, it’s YOUR fault for being on THEIR roads. They’re truly a menace to society at large in the Rotten Apple and anyone who runs for mayor vowing to remove the bike lanes will earn my vote, even if I have to rent a s***shack apartment just so I can vote there.

    In Jersey, the lycra maifa is just annoying on the roads, obstructing traffic like the douchebags they are, but if they’re riding in the neighborhoods or parks, then it’s fine.

    That said, they should be forced to have licenses and insurance on them in NY and other big cities where they ride like they own the roads with absolute disregard towards the general population, would make things better

    • “Own the roads”??? You have no idea how good you have it. Take a look at some videos of southeast Asia and their car, scooter, pedestrian traffic. Then get back to us about all those entitled bikers in NYC and how bad you have it.

      • Even the big cities in South America (like Lima, Peru) are crazy! They make NYC traffic look sedate and civilized by comparison…

  25. Now that’s what I’ve been talking about. Bicycling is still relatively free. But it won’t be for long if the private passenger automobile has been removed from the ordinary person.

    Although currently not requiring any sort of license bicycling tickets will count against your DL and insurance. There have been cases of bicyclists without a driver’s license commanded to get one so that the traffic court judge could impose penalties.

    As to main roads, nobody really wants to bike on them except for the anti-automobile new urbanists. The trouble is that just about any neighborhood built since the mid-late 1980s doesn’t have streets that go through. Many older neighborhoods have had streets deliberately blocked from going through. This forces bicyclists on to main roads. Many other neighborhood streets require a very long path to get from end to the other which results in huge mileage penalties. People did all these things intentionally because they didn’t want people driving through their neighborhoods.

    I’ll take the calmer streets most of the time (if I am tired and I know it’s going to be four miles instead of two, well I am going two miles) if I know they go through and sometimes even if I don’t. In the later case I often end up ‘lost’ and taking five times longer to get from one end to the other or I just pop out a few hundred feet from where I went in. Sometimes in the exact same place.

    I last did this a couple three weeks ago. I knew I had to pop out on a particular road eventually. I did, but much further west than I had intended. If I had wanted to go west that wouldn’t have been so bad. Even though the path north had been at least double but probably more like triple what it should have been. Anyway I wanted to go east. So here I was essentially working my way back east. There’s reasons why people just don’t even try going through the neighborhoods.

    I suppose GPS could solve issues regarding the unknowns, but the root problem of the streets not going through or being a very long path through remain.

    • Yeah. The business of neighborhoods only having one way in and out is annoying to say the least. It is certainly by design. It’s despicable. Road design is awful as well. Hard core cyclists want narrower passages for cars and car drivers don’t want any accommodations for cyclists. Both interests would be served by wider roads or by eliminating hard curbs. Of course, many cyclists would rather make car driving miserable as well.

    • I hate the crooked developers poaching on our established streets instead of building their own. My once-quiet street looks like the Indy 500 during rush hours.

      • If non-drivers or the eternal mission to make every road a straight line don’t ruin your favorite driving road, the hardhats throwing up cookie-cutter houses everywhere will! That’s what finally wrecked Mulholland – well, that and massive police crackdowns plus at least one temporary closure as the police culture shifted from “if it hurts no one then let it pass” to “no fun allowed”.

    • ” There have been cases of bicyclists without a driver’s license commanded to get one so that the traffic court judge could impose penalties”. Where are these “cases” and how did a judge force someone to get a license? Not everyone can get a license and last time I went to the DMV, they were optional. You only needed one to drive a motorized vehicle. This is ludicrous in so many ways.

      I’ll believe it when I find a half-ass believable court case detailing it.

      • That’s what got me run over from behind 5 years ago…..in a big rig pulling a drop deck, dovetail trailer load of concrete culverts and getting run over from behind by a W900 KW pulling a frac trailer with the driver doing some bs on his phone. He had to go over two rough strips and still didn’t know what had happened. When you see a big rig going by the window of your big rig and realize he just pulled off your trailer……..Not having a seat belt on saved my life.

  26. On the surface, I have no issue with cyclists. As long as the ‘respect’ on the roadway is mutual, I give them space and sometimes, I can see it’s someone really trying to get/be healthy and I privately hope they hit their goals.
    Where I want to pull out a box of tacks is when I see them riding as a group, taking up the whole road, in their matching outfits. When they’re halfway in the roadway on a windy backroad so you come around the corner and almost kill them. Hell, them being on those roads where there is no shoulder will get them killed. Then the cities that cut out a car lane to add “a bike lane”, making city traffic worse.

    • Do you have militant cyclists where you live?

      I’m a car guy, but also live in the land of huge traffic and cycling is easy here due to all the bike lanes and beautiful weather, so I do it a lot. I like to think that I’m both a courteous driver and cyclist, and I try to respect both forms of transportation.

      What I’ve seen, though, is that some people feel so righteous due to their “saving the earth” by cycling, or whatever, that they treat drivers and pedestrians with utter contempt. They ignore red lights, stop signs, will dart around pedestrians in cross walks. I even cycled next to one of these upstanding citizens who had a spray bottle of brake fluid on his bike, for the sole purpose of spraying cars which pissed him off. Brake fluid will strip paint off a car down to the metal. These people piss me off like you wouldn’t believe, and I’ve had blowback from this due to guilt by association when I’m biking. Some drivers intentionally swerve into cyclists out of anger.

      • Not as much militant, but the passive aggressiveness is certainly high.
        A lot of pack/group riding and they will take the entire single lane. Honk and you get a lot of fingers and such. In the cities, there are certainly plenty of them who will be like pedestrians and go wherever they please, whenever they please so you wind up having to swerve or brake hard. This is made worse by being an area full of transplants (Research Triangle in NC) so no one knows how to drive as it is and these clowns only make it worse.
        In my day-to-day life I try real hard not to be a dick, but they make it challenging.

      • Yeah, I was looking for a comment describing the cyclists as I’m used to seeing them, and this is pretty much it… they run red lights when the crosswise traffic is already starting to move (in fact I’m not convinced they notice the lights at all), expect everyone to move out of the way or move around them, don’t feel any need to ease in when merging… it’s a freaking zoo.

        Mind you, I ride a motorcycle to filter through big city traffic, so I’m pretty sympathetic to the notion of flipping the finger at snail-speed, rulebook-waving Clovers. But that’s predicated on everyone adhering to a modicum of common sense and mutual respect, and I don’t see a lot of that with cyclists. The attitude on many of them – I’m tempted to say most – seems to be some variant of “just brake, you gas-burning pig, can’tcha see I’m saving the Earth here?”

  27. Eric – “An armed government worker can demand ID, but the cyclist isn’t obligated to carry it and the AGW can’t ticket or cage him for riding without one.”

    BWAhahahaha. Can’t?

    OK, I know what you meant but there are numerous examples of them doing whatever the hell they want, knowing that even if they kill you, they will walk. They are above the law.

    • We have beautiful weather most of the year in the bay area in CA, so tons of people cycle here.

      A friend of mine was cycling to work and didn’t have his ID with him when a costumed clown stopped him. He got to spend a night in jail until the judge dismissed charges in the morning. His error was asserting that he’s not required to carry ID. Of course, he was correct, but when the costumed clown forces you into jail, you have little choice in the matter, rights be damned.

      • So, since the cop was not in a legal position to cage your friend, the cop was arrested and tried for wrongful arrest, kidnapping, false imprisonment, right?

        No need to answer. Just want is laid out for those who still can’t see the issue with ‘qualified immunity’.

        • No, the cop is protected by qualified immunity, even if he’s wrong. There was no apology.

          The great late William Norman Grigg even wrote about an incident once long ago where a cop raped a woman that he pulled over for some random trivial reason. She fought back, punching him in the face and such. He wrote about her trial, where she was being tried for assault on an officer. The cop’s union rep had the gaul to say you have to comply to a cop’s orders during a traffic stop, even if illegal, then you take down badge number and report him afterwards. Yep, she should have waited for him to finish raping and file a complaint later.

        • The “due process” was this guy’s “punishment” for the ‘crime’ of CONTEMPT OF COP.

          Or, as they simply put it, you may and probably will beat the ‘rap’, but you won’t beat the “ride” (to jail). Lawsuits for false arrest/imprisonment are very hard to win against cops and few attorney’s will bother.

      • I have been compelled (as in do so or else) to identify myself but not produce ID. Cop was fine with me not having ID because he had to be. But the government courts have made it so people are compelled to identify themselves. So my guess is your friend not only did not produce ID but refused to identify himself. Basically you give the cop some basic ID info, he calls it in. I know because I’ve been stopped by cops more than once while bicycling.

            • I have and I didn’t. Of course these days it may be more likely to result in incarceration than in the past. However the older I get the less I care. They have to give me three hots and cot.

          • Jason, I appreciate the sentiment and yes, you should have the right to tell the cop off. As a practical matter, you do at least have to truthfully state your name, although even in a “Stop and ID” state (see Hilbel v. Nevada), the cops have the authority to demand that you self-identify only if they have reasonable suspicion that “criminal activity is afoot”. Most courts will place a very LOW burden on the cops to establish that they had RS, and if they know that they’ve screwed up, they can and will lie their way out anyway.

            It’s not a wise idea to unnecessarily antagonize an armed bureaucrat with powers of arrest and use of force, including DEADLY force as “required”. Sometimes it’s a choice of swallowing your pride or being the most righteous man in the holding cell, which do you want?

        • I got a red light ticket while on a bike, respectfully told the cop I wasn’t reuired to show ID, some polite back and forth with cop threatening to arrest me, finally he looked at me ( a middle aged white guy in dress shoes, tie, and tweed jacket ) and said

          Cop ‘you’ll give me your correct information if asked ?”
          Victim “of course Officer, It would be a felony to lie to you, I’m not going to lie. You can lie to me but I cannot lie to you”
          Cop then writes out ticket.

          Conclusion – Being a real hard core freedom fighter to a beat cop does nothing, its like yelling at someone at the DMV. One should be polite, hold ones’ ground and always quietly signal that you utterly despise them.

  28. While I do envy the freedom cyclists still have, I certainly don’t want more government intrusion into everyone’s lives. I have no problem with cyclists, and am patient with those who ride responsibly and make an effort to share the road. My problem is with the substantial number of them that are virulently anti-automobile and aggressively and even militantly violate traffic laws, which they seem to feel do not apply to them. When I was a kid, I rode my bike all over town, but I obeyed traffic lights, and I used hand signals to signal turns and stops. I rode responsibly and yielded when necessary or prudent to other traffic.

    Unfortunately I now live in the Portland area, and the cyclists here often blow through red lights and stop signs, and seldom yield right of way when the law requires. in the 6 years I’ve lived here I have yet to see a signal from one. Yet when they are involved in an accident due to this reckless behavior, a howl goes up from the anti-car lobby to further restrict drivers and further exempt cyclists and shield them from the consequences of their own poor behavior.

    And herein lies the problem I think. In most places it seems that the “cycling lobby” is not about cycling. Cycling is the false front for the anti-car, anti-mobility, anti-freedom crowd. And too many cyclists seem to drink that Kool-aid.

    • You got that right. The cycling lobby is the anti-car lobby in disguise. Many of them are too fat to get out of their chairs much less onto a bicycle seat. Regarding this bit about obeying traffic signals, if some cyclist disobeys the traffic signal, it is his or her fault and should be adjudicated as such when they get in an accident. On the other hand, the laws should be modified to allow the cyclist to go through some signs if no traffic is present. It would make the haul easier. The precedent for that was set when certain communities and states allow a “california stop” for motorcycles.

      • Hi Swamp,

        Think how much fuel could be saaaaaaaaaaaaved by allowing California stops. So why no “calls” for this? The answer, of course, is the cognitive dissonance which typifies the mind (such as it is) of the American volksgemeinschaft.

        • My big peeve in “Cuckifornia” (new put down for the once “Golden” State) is that, AFAIK, it’s the only one that allows motorcyclists to “lane split”, that is, ride IN BETWEEN the lanes, especially when you have traffic backed up at the light. I can’t count how many times some idiot on his bike clipped my side mirror. I do, as a matter of habit, check my mirrors for approaching bikes even if I don’t anticipate a lane change.

          The “two abreast” in a single lane I can see, as two bikes, even those Honda Goldwings or Harley “FatBoys” can easily fit two. But the lane split thing, IMO, is a bone fide hazard and has to go. If motorcyclists want to use the road, then they should do so on an EQUAL basis with autos and trucks, not be “MORE EQUAL”!

        • The California Stop on a bicycle is called “Idaho Stop” because it’s an actual law in Idaho that bicycles can treat stop signs and red lights as yield signs. It has spread to a few other places.

          • Hi Tyger,

            This is happy news – about the Idaho Stop – because it sets a precedent and those often become practice. There is no logical reason why a driver should be required by law to come to a complete stop when there is no reason to do so (other than legalism) while a bicycle rider is permitted to Idaho Stop. If it’s reasonable for them, it should also be reasonable for us!

            • eric, I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve been stopped by the DOT. The law states I don’t have to stop until I find a place “I” deemed to be safe to do so.

              When that black and white all lit up is right on my ass, I go wherever it is I think is a safe place to stop. When I reach a stop sign and nothing is coming which can change very quickly, I blow through it and if there’s another stop sign and no vehicle is in sight, I blow through it too. I’ll do this till I find a “safe” place to stop for both of us.

              Never have I had an officer even mention my failure to stop.

              Yesterday hauling out a pit with a narrow road right to the very end, I looked both directions and didn’t stop but I was in Low gear, not 1st, but low. As I began turning onto the highway a car came over the hill at 70 at which point I jammed on the brakes, hit reverse as quickly as I could and backed up while the car slowed. I could technically and probably been deemed illegal since the trucker is always wrong, gone on across. There was a big step up to the pavement from gravel and the rear diff’s were locked and having turned there many time before, I knew it would take me 15 seconds or more to clear that lane and shoulder completely.

              I did the correct thing and so did the car driver. There was no collision. Had I continued on and there had been one of the cellphone nellies coming down the hill I’d probably be in jail and they’d be dead, not a good ending for either of us. Why would I be in jail? Because it’s always the truckers fault.

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