El Pistolero

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.


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