“IT’S A RIDE, NOT A RACE” – When common courtesy flies out the window

Have you ever been on a ride, and as you’re passing other riders, they scream out, “It’s a ride, not a race”? I’ve been there, and I always find it disheartening. I believe that as riders, we are part of a special group. We share similar struggles and triumphs, but we shouldn’t be turning on each other. Where has common courtesy gone?

Roadside repairs are always better with a buddy.

Last weekend, I went riding with my teammate, Karina Delaney. We did an 80-mile day, and in the midst of the day, helped two riders who were on the side of the trail with flat tires. We gave away tubes and CO2 cartridges so that our fellow bikers could get back on the road. I’m a firm believer that helping fellow bikers brings good karma. This has been proven when I’ve been on the receiving end of assistance from other riders. What I find challenging is watching other riders who fly past those in need, and don’t even ask if they can help. I’ve even had people ride by, and tell us to “watch out” while we were fixing a flat. Simply unbelievable!

Another area where I see courtesy flying out the window is when following and passing other riders. It’s simple to say, “on your left”, “passing” or even a simple, “hello.” Instead, I’ve seen riders who attempt to pass other riders, and don’t say a word. I’ve even been scoffed at because I moved over to the left to pass another rider, and someone was going to pass me. Without some sort of signal, a cyclist can’t be expected to know that another rider is behind them. It’s plain and simple, make your presence known.

Finally, the dreaded, “it’s a ride, not a race.” I have found that this is something that riders yell at other riders when they are being passed at a higher rate of speed. I’ve never really seen it said in a friendly tone. This always frustrates me because, who knows what the other rider’s motivation is. They may be competing against their own time, trying to catch up to a friend, or simply a faster rider. I know on those long rides where we’re tired, it’s not fun to be passed. It’s up to us to accept that we are getting passed, and look deep inside of our own self and find out what our motivation is for riding. Personally, I am overcoming a complete ACL reconstruction, so I will have my challenges on this ride, but I plan on pushing myself to the limits and achieving my own personal goals.

Being passed is just a fact of life. Don’t get mad. Enjoy the scenery and your ride.

Sadly there are only a handful of “bad” riders that seem to create the impression of all bikers. It’s not true; there are many Good Samaritans out there that still practice common courtesy when riding.

As we near the start of The Pedal The Plains ride, it’s important that we all show courtesy and patience with one another. It’s simple, just live by the rule of treating others as you would like to be treated. Happy riding!

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By Brian Dougherty

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