word on the street... well... the electronic street

the word on the street is that Montgomery County Police are harassing cyclists on MacArthur Blvd.
apparently they have received some "complaints"
apparently some of the car drivers have been "annoyed"

what about the cyclist's "complaints?"
what about the cyclists being "annoyed?"

what about a cyclist's right to safety?
what about the behavior of the motorists on this stretch of road?

it may be time for team leaders to gather and meet with the heads of state
if we could get some intelligent well spoke representatives of the cycling community to point out a few things to the leaders in this area
maybe they can send the right messages down the pipeline

for a car driver to be aggravated by the cyclists is absurd
more than likely this driver with the complaint is an obnoxious motorist who is in a rush to get no where fast
okay... rather than my trying to get into this arguement I will scan the Gwadzilla Archives

here it is... MacArthur Blvd
GWADZILLA + MacArthur Blvd

here is a REPOST...
but it seemed to touch on the point I want to make here
so... rather than rant on and repeat myself... I will CUT AND PASTE


back to the war on MacArthur Boulevard...
it is a shock that this road is not covered in the blood of cyclists

the other day I went for a post work ride
initially I had planned on hanging with Dean and Grant while Lisa went to an elementary school function
it was a PTA style meeting which Lisa is involved in at one level or another
Lisa was not in the mood
Lisa did not have the energy
Lisa was feeling burned out after a long day at work
so Lisa opted to hang with the boys at Dean's soccer practice
which freed me up for a post work ride

this was good... my body and soul needed a ride
the mixture of rain and adult responsibility was cutting into my prozac... my prozac is the bicycle
I need prozac
as if you could not tell
I definitely need prozac
but instead I try to medicate with the bicycle
the pills of the brave new world worry me

I rode the city streets through Georgetown then down onto the Capital Crescent Trail
ah... the pleasure of life away from the stress of the car culture
the car-free pleasure of the Crescent Trail only lasted a few miles

when I hit the Maryland-DC border I got back onto the road with the cars
not more than a mile on MacArthur Boulevard and I was already grinding my teeth and clutching my handlebars

the cars passed fast and close
too fast and too close
some of the cars passed intentionally close and then cut quickly into the lane in front of me
what sort of lesson does this teach?
the usual brown stars were on their cell phones and checking their blackberry devices
I was hammering at a good pace on the cross bike in the big ring
but remember... this is a cross bike... where the big ring is not so big
so my top speed may not be road racer top speed
but this is understood... as I am not a road racer

there is a bike lane that runs along side of the MacArthur Boulevard
but I stayed on the road
my pace was too fast for the multi-use bike path
and well... it would be hard to maintain my pace on the bike path

the sand, the mud, the glass would be part of the slow down process
but my desire to respect the blue haired ladies with the blue haired dogs keeps me on the road
I can not help but think that if I were on the bike path with my wife or my children I would not want to be passed by a bicycle moving over 15MPH-20 MPH... on the road I was definitely averaging close to 20
that dangers on the bike path are as great as those on the road
different... but also dangerous

so I gave the couples holding hands their space
the awkward rollerblader need not worry about me... they can focus on staying upright without me buzzing past their side
and all the dogs on leashes long and short were not a risk to me or themselves with their erratic moving about
I left the bike path to the slow moving cyclists and all the other multi-use traffic
I stuck to the street
not to be inconsiderate to the car drivers and their need to rush home to their two car garages and their ultra wide flat screen televisions within their god awful mcmansions
but to be considerate of others
I was in fact where I should be

the road is where the fast moving bicycle belongs
the multi-use bike path is no place for pace lines and road training

fast and close
fast and close
cut off
fast and close

the notion of LIMIT seems to be misunderstood when the driver interprets the signs marking the SPEED LIMIT
the car drivers fail to understand that LIMIT=MAXIMUM
and this MAXIMUM is in reference to the speed that cars should move when they are approaching other cars
which is clear to me that the cars should be cruising below this SPEED LIMIT when encountering a person not surrounded by crumple resistant side panels and a variety of airbags

BMW... the obnoxious driver's machine... we all know that classic joke*
HANDICAP PLATE... I am thinking that your handicap is mental
Soccer Moms... respect my life as you respect the lives of your children
Bad Boy Club with your Bazooka Tube... you are not smooth... you are a cheese head
the list goes one
the majority of the drivers were respectful
but this vicious minority were aggressive... obnoxious... inconsiderate... and most definitely not conscious of the WORST CASE SCENARIO!

no... these drivers are not thinking of the WORST CASE SCENARIO
these drivers have no concern for me or my well being
as I am not a human being in their eyes
I am a cyclist... which translates to an obstacle
these drivers all passed me fast and close
some faster and closer than others
many trying to make a point by zipping back into the lane in front of me encroaching on my right to space
many making an aggressive pass only to get stuck in the line of traffic just ahead

there were words from my end and honking from theirs
the body language of the passing drivers
and then the body language expressed by the cars
it was all very negative

there was traffic
there are lines of traffic on this road every day
these daily commuters are accustom to these lines of traffic
just as they are accustom to the people on their bikes
instead of learning how to behave around the cyclists
these drivers develop a habit of misbehavior

the road is long with beautiful sweeping turns
this is a great road for the bicyclist due to the infrequent cross roads and the infrequent need to stop
on carless nights this is also a great stretch of road for a motorcycle
I do not own a motorcycle

the cars were backed up on the north side where cars enter what may be the Clara Barton Parkway
I flipped off a handful of the drivers stuck in the queue
passing all of those assholes who passed me so fast and so close
yelled a few things at some others and continued on my way never breaking pace
this sort of behavior does nothing for the cause
but... I was STEAMED!

their actions that nearly killed me got them no further
had they followed on my rear wheel at my meager pace

something about people threatening my life really pisses me off

I was having a good ride
I was feeling strong
and there were still some miles to hammer out
so I hammered
my day was going too well to let these losers bring me down
as I passed Glen Echo I was frustrated with the SLOW AND GO style of driving and the failure of the drivers to yield me the right of way
these things are to be expected

I caught another long line of cars at the Historic Cabin John one lane bridge
the timing was perfect
I rolled past the line of cars waiting at the light and sifted into the cars on the road rather than the sidewalk
the car that I tired to pass fought hard to beat me to the narrow passage
it was sketchy
but I kept my sharp elbows out and held my ground
across the bridge I split the line of cars by riding the double yellow line

past this stop sign I was given some space
most cars were taking the left to access the route to GW Parkway or I-495
the cars were less frequent which only changed the percentage of obnoxious drivers
and there were plenty of obnoxious drivers

I tried to ride to the right... but when a car passes too fast and too close I often feel as if I need to ride closer to the center of the lane so that the passing cars know that they need to cross the double yellow line when they pass
there is not enough room for them to pass within the lane
the passing car driver is not factoring in that I may have to move six inches closer to center to dodge an obstacle in my path

the madness continued
I got more attitude from more drivers
more assholes that just do not want me to be there
why do they think that my being on this road alters their destiny?

I know what some of these people are thinking....

well... I already answered that
it makes sense to me to be considerate of the bike path culture and stay on the road when I am trying to keep a fast pace

I roll through the STOP SIGN at the northern point where The Clara Barton Parkway meets up with MacArthur Boulevard.... one two three cars make a slow and go move through the Stop Sign feeding on to MacArthure
the fourth guy is shaking his head as I roll through
complete disapproval
he was forced to make a complete stop
like a complete stop he passes me on the left.... ignoring that he is about to rear end the last car in a line of cars in front of him

oddly enough two more cars behind him make this same aggressive pass
I do not flip off any of these guys
they are out of control
they have some sort of RAGE that I do not want to contend with

I roll on the double yellow line then zip over to the bike path so I can pass the 100 yards of cars stopped at the Stop Sign at Brickyard Road

then I move back onto MacArthur

still hammering on the flats
my pace drops on the slight incline at Old Angler's Inn
then it happens
that same cluster of assholes who passed me so fast and so furious minutes ago make another pass

the bird is contained
I keep my profanity to myself
but the pressure is too much
when the last fat ass in the BMW passes inches from my hip I let it go


my pace picks up as my anger fuels me
I have no intent to try and catch these people
but I am angered
I am angered that our society is producing such troglodytes
to think... they can afford that car... they live out here... these are people making some high dollar decisions
these people are idiots

I crest the hill and drop in towards Great Falls past Falls Road
once down and only once up
a mixture of not much time and not much strength I head back without repeating the hills
I figure it makes more sense for me to hammer the flats that expend my energy on the winding hill that feeds down to Great Falls on the Maryland side

the ride back is similar but different

there are some assholes...
but there are less cars going into the city than coming out

I arrive home feeling refreshed
my legs are worked
I feel good
good ride... bad people
the good of the ride outweighed the bad people
but there are lots of really really bad people
people that should not breed
people that more than likely never give in this world but only take
there are too many people in this world... most of them bad

*classic joke
what is the difference between a BMW and a Porcupine?
the porcupine has many pricks on the outside
the BMW has one prick on the inside


Anonymous said...

Bikes should be banned from MacArthur and Falls road. these roads are curving and narrow and the presence of bikes of these roads is dangerous to both the drivers and the bike riders. It is entirely selfish to ride on the road, especially when bike lanes are provided. Even more selfish to ride in herds, blocking traffic so that you can have your play time. Hopefully Montgomery county police will ban the bikes on the road and in areas in which a bike lane is provided bikes will be forced to stay single file.

Jason Berry said...

Bikes should be banned altogether. Who needs them? Even those fancy ones only get up to about 30mph. Hell all I need is my HUMMER and Exxon. Anyone who gets in my way is selfish and rude, it's as simple as that. Like these 'cyclists' - don't they know I need every inch of that road for my GLORIOUS HUMMER? And HEAVEN FORBID I am a few SECONDS late because I had to slow down before I could pass (tho sometimes I don't wait for room, I just gun it and come as close to them as I can, if I bump one it's THEIR FAULT). In fact I don't like to slow down for anything including them annoying pedestrians who try to cross the street! I might miss the BIG TOUCHDOWN. I agree, ban them selfish herds! After all, it's MY WORLD and they're in it! We either nip this in the bud or the next thing ya know there will be less TRAFFIC and more HEALTHY people who actually care about their surroundings. F-that.
(btw - the bike path along MacArthur is not maintained, often full of glass, branches and most recently snow, perfect place for those stinking cyclists)

gwadzilla said...

funny... "selfish" to ride (a bicycle) on the road

"blocking traffic?

and finally

"play time"


if cars slowed the speed limit they would approach the bicyclist in a safe manner... they could then pass putting no one at risk
of course looking ahead and anticipating on coming traffic and only passing if it makes sense... so often car drivers feel compelled to be in front of the cyclist... when it does not change their arrival time to their final destination

if the Anonymous poster read the rant (which I have not read recently myself) they would have insight into the notion that the cyclist is in fact being considerate of others... by not buzzing the users of the multi-use path
and accepting having to deal with cars
but... not wanting to have their life at risk

as far as blocking traffic?
bicycles are traffic just like cars
they have a right to be on the road
there are longer lines or cars blocked up than bicycles...

cyclists have to deal with cars
cars need to deal with cyclist
the difference
cyclists do not put car drivers at risk with their scoff law behaviors

as for "play time"

well... people do not have greater right to the road due to their reason for being there

cars are shuttling kids to and from play time
cars are headed to dinner or the gym
what is the point there?

what if my job is more important than your job?
does that give me greater right to the road?

that anonymous post shows the selfishness and the ignorance of many of the drivers out there

luckily this person is more than likely the minority... sadly... this driver is out there and may well be a menace to others on the road

spot on!
rock on!
have another espresso shot!

Aaron said...

It's funny, shortly after reading this post yesterday, I decided to drive up to the Old Angler lot for a hike with my girlfriend. Along the way, which by the way is a very nice and CASUAL drive (isn't the speed limit along McArthur in that area 25mph for the most part?), I encountered about 5 cyclists (on different occasions) riding with traffic. Most of them were going close to 20mph, so I really didn't have to slow down that much. I just chilled out, took a sip of joe, waited for a clear spot in traffic, and slowly passed them, a few of them waved and smiled to thank me for giving them space. Total time lost getting to my destination... who in the hell knows, I'm not that uptight, but maybe 30 friggin seconds max?

My point is Anonymous, if you get THAT worked up over having to slow down to the speed limit and show a little courtesy to your fellow human being (one who is working 100x harder than you are at that moment by the way), then you really need to take a good hard look at yourself and your value system. Maybe switch to decaf, take up gardening? Who in the hell knows, but seriously, get a grip man.