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Obsessed with Speed

I love how walkable and bikable my new home is; but I've got to admit that I'm still not entirely used to seeing so many other cyclists and pedestrians on my trips around town.

As I’ve noted before, I’m still pretty much an amateur when it comes to bicycling. I ride the used bike I bought five years ago (though I have replaced most of the components), I don’t own a single piece of spandex, a jersey, and I don’t ride particularly fast. Occasionally I’ll pass another rider who is poking along, but usually I’m the one being left in the dust.

(from Flickr user Vincent J. Brown)

I don’t ride outrageously slow – I usually average 12-14 mph on flat terrain. My ride to work is at an average speed of about 10 mph, but that’s including a slew of red lights that I stop for.

When I bike to work in the morning, I’m not trying to get a rigorous workout. I don’t feel like I need to go 25 mph and race to the office as fast as possible. I’m not entirely sure why other riders feel the need to.

The worst part, though, is attitude from bicyclists that make it seem like I’m inconveniencing or slowing them down. Bicycling should be an activity that anyone can participate in, not just those who own an expensive road bike and can zip down the street at high speeds. I know I’m only speaking of a minority of bicyclists here, but it's at least a little disheartening to see it from anyone.

Comments

B. P. Beckley said…
Well, welcome to Washington. It's the analog to the aggressive driving you posted about not long ago.

You also noted a while back that there seems to be a link between taking bicycling seriously and the "elite" or high-income segment of our society, and I think that same group is very very interested in optimizing everything they do for maximum positive impact on their lives. There's a lot more of those people on the Orange Line then there are anywhere in Cleveland, so you're seeing more of them.

Also, specifically with regard to bicycle commuting: a lot of people in Washington that commute by bicycle are doing it because it's faster than driving, or at least reasonably competitive. The faster you go, the bigger the gain.

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