Archive for May, 2010

Oh Canada, Oh NO!

Thursday, May 20th, 2010

Oh Canada, I expect better from you.  The horrific crash last week is tragic and really awful, made far worse by the ugly comments folks have written and posted to the CBC News website where this article comes from.

(Article copied below without permission from CBC News- Montreal)

Quebec truck crash kills 3 cyclists, injures 3

Accident was like a ‘bowling match,’ survivor says

Last Updated: Friday, May 14, 2010 | 10:50 PM ET Comments896Recommend424

The accident that killed three cyclists and injured three others southeast of Montreal on Friday was like a “bowling match,” says one of the survivors.

The cyclists, all from Montreal’s south shore, were hit from behind by a pickup truck.

“I felt like I was flying and everyone around me was flying,” Jean Dessureault said.

Cyclists Sandra de la Garza Aguilar, left, and Christine Deschamps, were killed when they were struck by a pickup truck in Rougemont, Que. A third cyclist, Lyn Duhamel, also died.

Cyclists Sandra de la Garza Aguilar, left, and Christine Deschamps, were killed when they were struck by a pickup truck in Rougemont, Que. A third cyclist, Lyn Duhamel, also died. (Saint-Lambert Triathlon Club/CBC)The cyclists, members of the Saint-Lambert Triathlon Club, were training for an Ironman competition in Lake Placid, N.Y., in July, Dessureault told the CBC’s French-language service.

The three women who died have been identified as Sandra de la Garza Aguilar, 36, of Saint-Bruno-de-Montarville, Que., Lyn Duhamel, 39, of Boucherville, Que., and Christine Deschamps, 44, of Brossard, Que.

Dessureault, and the two other injured cyclists — both women — were released from hospital on Friday afternoon.

“We trained together all the time,” Dessureault said. “It is horrible — they were young women in perfect health.”

Heading to Sherbrooke

The crash scene stretched more than 30 metres along Highway 112 near Rougemont and was strewn with mangled bike frames, shoes, water bottles and a wristwatch.

The cyclists are friends who regularly ride together and were en route to Sherbrooke on Friday morning as part of their training for the triathlon season, police said.

The pickup struck them just before 10 a.m. The truck driver, who was heading east at the time, was not injured. Police said he rushed to help the cyclists and administered first aid.

“The driver of the vehicle in question was a man and alcohol is not a factor,” said Quebec provincial police Sgt. Claude Denis

.Cyclist Jean Dessureault, who survived the crash, said it felt like a 'bowling match.'

Cyclist Jean Dessureault, who survived the crash, said it felt like a ‘bowling match.’ (CBC)

He said it was too soon to say what caused the accident or whether charges will be laid.

The group was training at the same time as a faster pack of riders farther down the road.

Shortly before the crash, the survivors had been riding two by two, said a spokesman for the club, Éric Lemyre. But they returned to a single file formation because the road had no paved shoulder.

“They didn’t even see the car coming, everything was very quick,” Lemyre said. “[all of a sudden], three people they love were lying on the street.”

The weather was cloudy, but no rain was reported in the morning. Highway traffic was rerouted while police investigated.

The highway was closed until just before 8 p.m.

No paved shoulders

Bruno Sévigny, a member of the same cycling club, was riding about an hour behind the victims on Friday.

Six cyclists were en route to Sherbrooke as part of their training for triathlon season when the crash happened.

Six cyclists were en route to Sherbrooke as part of their training for triathlon season when the crash happened. (CBC)

Still dressed in his cycling gear, he told reporters on the scene he was in complete shock.

“It’s obviously very dangerous here,” Sévigny said.

Marc Villeneuve, a resident in the region, said he regularly rides around Rougemont but doesn’t use Highway 112 because it has no paved shoulders.

“I avoid that area,” he told CBC News, standing near the crash scene. “There is no shoulder on the road. So even if the car [lanes] are doubled on each side, the traffic is very fast and there’s gravel on the [side].

“It’s very dangerous.”

Officials with Quebec’s Transport Ministry said the province had already planned to repave the section of the highway where the crash occurred and would also pave the shoulders.

Work is to start in the next few weeks, said ministry spokeswoman Julie Morin.

Cyclists have ‘right to be there’

The crash is a tragic reminder for transport officials about the pressing need to make roads safer for two-wheeled vehicles, said Suzanne Lareau, president of cycling advocacy group Vélo-Québec.

Under Quebec highway rules, any road travelled by more than 5,000 vehicles a day must have paved shoulders.

Police say they aren't sure how many cyclists were directly struck by the truck.

Police say they aren’t sure how many cyclists were directly struck by the truck. (Ryan Remiorz/Canadian Press)

“I can’t understand why on this part of the road, why the shoulder was not paved,” she said.

The accident is an occasion to remind drivers of the need to share the road with cyclists, said Jean-Marie de Koninck, president of the province’s Road Safety Experts Group.

“You have to slow down because the cyclists have the right to be there, and you must leave them enough space to drive safely,” de Koninck said.

The crash bears a chilling resemblance to a similar incident last summer in Ottawa, when five experienced cyclists were struck.

None of them died, but one spent months recovering in hospital. The driver in that incident has been charged with hit and run.

Read more:

CBC News

The comments that follow the article are irrational, senseless and lack regard for human life. Not all of them, but enough to break my heart. What the hell is wrong with you people to the north? I expect harsh and merciless comments from the lower 48 and upper 49th but wow you folks are truly Americanized now.

One of the ideas talked about in the article’s sounding board was about making cyclist’s stick to bicycle paths. Cyclist should not be relegated to only riding along bicycle paths, contrary to what so many drivers would have us believe. By the way, when I hear a driver say that, to me it sounds like they are admitting their unwillingness to share the road. Bicycle paths are used by cyclists of all riding styles, but are not proper places for high speed training. Imagine if you were out riding with your children and out of nowhere comes a skin-suited roadie shouting,” On your Left!” you’d jump and your kids would probably crash.

A few years ago my mother was riding on a verdant gentle Cape Cod path and was hit by a skin suited roadie who not man enough to take his “training” to the streets with the rest of us. My mom was minding her own business, riding with my Dad, when out of nowhere came a maniac shouting,”On your left!”.  This startled her and caused her to jerk her handle bars as she craned her neck to see what was coming at her, she tumbled to the ground and bruised her ribs. She has no interest in bicycling again.  Paved bicycle paths are a wonderful addition to our towns and cities but will never, and should never be the only places we ride, nor should they be used irresponsibly by more “advanced” riders.

Yesterday as I rolled off a (dirt) trail, a bumblebee on a Cervelo tri bike wooshed passed me so I decided to use what was left in my tank to try and catch up and suck his wheel. I worked hard and eventually caught him.  His dirty looks made me laugh and I could sense his frustration growing the longer I stayed with him, while wearing my baggy mid-ranger Fox shorts and riding beloved 29er, . Which sadly, I think was the reason he made some stupid traffic decisions, like blowing through a red light without stopping. I actually stopped and almost caught him again, because he kept turning back to see if I was coming. To my surprise, when he made his u-turn to retreat he offered me his middle finger (not the Contador greeting) I was shocked, so I posed this query to the bumblebee : “what’s worse the nipple chaff from your bib or the top tube chaff on your gut?”

In all seriousness though, the images from Quebec are hard for me to look at and I hope scare the hell out of the drivers who see them. Regardless of how you feel about cyclists on “your” roads, killing them is a ridiculous response, bicycles are human powered vehicles, remember that. Please pay more attention and try and recall that you once probably rode a bicycle and I would wager that your children are out doing so right now.


The Ride of Silence

Tuesday, May 18th, 2010

Join us for a slow-paced, silent bike ride in memorial of cyclists killed or injured by cars on our roadways.  This is one of more than 300 rides taking place all over the world at 7pm on Wednesday May 19th.  This ride will also peacefully remind drivers that they share the road with cyclists and pedestrians.

Gather at 6:45pm on Wednesday May 19th at 975 Central Park Avenue (Midway Shopping Center Parking Lot- near Panera)

We will ride up Central Ave at 7pm.  The 9 mile route will pass the site where Pearson was hit in 2006 and continue up to Rt 119, passing the Ghost Bike in Memorial of Merrill Cassell.  Merrill Cassell was a cycling advocate who was tragically killed by a bus in November 2009.

Find a Ride of Silence in your area: USInternational

More information about the Ride of Silence:

Ride of Silence Poem
by Mike Murgas
Tonight we number many but ride as one
In honor of those not with us, friends, mothers, fathers, sisters, sons
With helmets on tight and heads down low,
We ride in silence, cautious and slow
The wheels start spinning in the lead pack
But tonight we ride and no one attacks
The dark sunglasses cover our tears
Remembering those we held so dear
Tonight’s ride is to make others aware
The road is there for all to share
To those not with us or by our side,
May God be your partner on your final ride

El Pistolero

Tuesday, May 4th, 2010

Twice in the same week…….

While passing road riders I’ve been Finger Banged!


Since when has Alberto Contador’s Pistolero become friendlier than

"Hello, enjoy your ride today."

and apparently the new call sign of riders in white lycra advertising their availability for seasonal work as Santa Claus at the Galleria?

Last Monday, I popped off a trail and onto the road when I came across a guy suffering on a pristine beautiful Serotta.

My wave was responded with a shot from his trigger finger!  An action I could interpret a couple of ways.

1. He thinks I am younger than I am and only young people ride off road because we lack the sophistication to ride a Serrotta.

2. He’s condescending me because I could never understand what it takes to be of the caliber rider it takes to ride a Serotta.

3. Or he’s just insecure and thinks that’s what “Ridazz” do.  (Which to my knowledge they don’t, I’m assuming he’s assumed they do…..)

A few days of decent riding later came a bright and unseasonably warm Friday, out early I encountered three fluorescent figures coming towards me in the opposite lane, riding three abreast.

I could see the line of cars forming behind them as one pulled out to get around (this was about 8 am, prime morning rush) these three oblivious and selfish goofs.  As I recovered from thwarting a near head-on collision there it was again “El Pistolero” from the middle rider.  After an inside chuckle I shouted, “Get Out of the road!”  Which left them confused, so I shot a quick

please don't confuse my love of rock music w/any adoration for the now bankrupt Rock Racing

and then watched all three roll on by in their homage to Homer Simpson continuing to give all cyclists a bad name.

The non-cyclists I meet who learn I’ve ridden across the US seem to ask me the following questions :

  1. Do I shave my legs?
  2. Am I one of those guys in the silly shorts?
  3. Have I ever heard of Lance Armstrong?

Then invariably the same story comes out,” Last weekend I was driving in Norwalk (Or wherever, I chose Norwalk because that was the scene of last story like this I heard) and there was this long line of riders, taking up the whole lane, I couldn’t pass them for miles!  I was like dude, get out of the way man!”

Having taken part in large group rides where the pace is all out as fast as you can go, it’s intense and I understand losing yourself in the moment and forgetting about the cars but in reality there’s no defense for acting that way.

I know I’m making enemies by saying the things that need to be said but I’ve had the unique opportunity to see my own cycling/road sharing behavior on film.  My brother and I took up the lane of a single-lane highway across parts of Nebraska and in the film you can clearly see how some drivers had to struggle to get around us safely.

That is not good road sharing.  It’s not an excuse for a driver to run one of us off the road or hit us, but if cyclists want to be taken seriously we must treat the drivers of cars like children: give them as little opportunity to fail as possible and reward their “good behavior.”

Since most recreational spandex wearing, finger banging cyclists also drive, how come they don’t cycle like they drive?  Imagine if they drove like they cycled, it would be mayhem all over the roads!  Two really expensive cars slowly driving next to each other talking about carbon fiber and gear ratios they don’t fully grasp, as a line of vehicles waits behind them without the chance to pass.

As a cyclist who drives, I do not understand why as cyclists we feel we own the road and can do whatever we want, whenever we want.  Every time a hipster runs a red light nearly escaping a collision and the driver gives them the finger, or some goatee yellow jacket wearing know-it-all clubman cuts off a soccer mom, a hostile environment is created. When I get finger banged by these guys, I’m not just laughing at the silliness of that action as much as I recognize how much more of a target I am because of their irresponsible road sharing.

So as far as waiving your gel glove enclosed plushy-finger-gun at me, go right ahead.  I’ll still laugh at you and ride with you, so long as you pick up the tab at the bar later.

Let’s be safe this bike month and make an effort to share the road.