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4 out of 5 Grandma’s are Cyclist Friendly July 23, 2010

Posted by Pam in Training Rides.
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I’m the first to admit that I’m not an avid cyclist.  As soon as the 2nd day of BikeMS is over, my bike typically takes a hiatus on the hook in the garage and doesn’t come back out until it’s BikeMS season again.  I’m amazed and intrigued by the passion of those that continue to cycle year round and just for the sheer joy of it rather than for any particular event. 

Since I’m not out on the road all the time, it was quite a shock to me the first time I was honked at and yelled at by motorists to get off the street and stay off the street, however, in MUCH more colorful words.  Here I was out doing something to prepare me for an event that was geared towards raising money for a great cause, the MS Movement, and I was being cussed out.  To this day I still don’t understand that mentality.  I know that some cyclists can be unpredictable, do not follow the cycling rules and can be quite aggressive, but the same is true for some motorists as well as motorcyclists.  I am all three…granted not at the same time, of course…so I can see the varying perspectives from all points of view.  If everyone followed the rules, then we’d all live peacefully in harmony with each other…lol…perhaps, but it’s worth a shot.

My thoughts on this topic came about from a rather amusing event that occurred on a team training ride last Sunday.  Sunday rides are typically a good one without a lot of cars on the roads…UNLESS, you’re on a route that leads to church.  One of my teammates found herself with a flat, on a country road, with tall grass as a shoulder.  Not much room to move all the way over, but we did the best we could.  This just so happened to be the time that traffic on this lonely country road revved up as there was a church about a mile away from us.  The flat changing ritual commenced and I posted as lookout for cars.  The first to approach us was an elderly lady, probably on her way to church.  However, she did not take kindly to having to slow down and wait for cars to pass before driving around us.  This was readily apparent by the movement of her mouth and the hand flailing gestures she made in our direction.  Would she have reacted differently if she had known we were only out there preparing for a charity ride?  If we had big banners on us saying “We’re riding to fight Multiple Sclerosis”, would that have made a difference?  Probably not.

Intrigued by these thoughts, I decided to take note of the drivers’ reactions as they passed us.  Four more cars passed until the tire changing event was complete.  All four cars were driven by elderly ladies.  Each one of those ladies smiled warmly at us and gave a friendly wave.  It was heart warming to see, especially after the first driver’s reaction.  They didn’t know the reason we were out there either, but should it have mattered?  We certainly wouldn’t have yelled at them if they had a flat tire and blocked our cycling route.  Peace and harmony, peace and harmony…

I guess the take away thought from this is, Team Captains, make sure your riders know the rules of the road.  If they are pretty new to cycling, give them a heads up on the types of motorists they may come across and tips on how to handle them.  The moral of my Sunday morning ride story?  4 out of 5 grandmas are cyclist friendly….pass it on 🙂

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