It's the same all across the board. The cycling community is pretty tribal, and as befits an individual sport, most cyclists tend to be fiercely independent in their particular biking style and preferences. So even when everyone technically follows the law, the stink eyes cyclists give to everyone who differs from their preferred parameters can be something to behold. And how many stink eyes is that? Well, let's look at some of the different types:
- The spandex-clad dudes with expensive sports bikes and a midlife crisis who hate everyone slower than them, which is everyone
- The laissez-faire people riding slow, one-gear bikes super erratically, swerving wherever the fuck they like and never letting on where they'll turn next
- The men who can't accept that some women have better bikes and/or pedal faster, and deliberately block their paths or attempt to overtake them regardless of what happens around them
- People who for some reason genuinely think laws don't apply to them
Consciously or not, each and every one of them thinks that their brand of cycling is the right one. And whenever someone does something that differs from their narrow specifications of What's Right, dirty looks that would make Ivan Drago take a step backwards fly through the air.
Of course, it doesn't exactly help that every once in a while, every one of us earns those looks. It's so fucking easy to make mistakes when you're cycling. Know those times when you're driving on a highway and there's just miles and miles of open road in front of you? That chill cruise mode normally associated with driving can totally hit you when you're cycling, too -- and when it does, you're not in a heavy, protective metal box. The monotone repetitiveness of pedaling and the sense of silently gliding over the ground can zone you out really quickly, right up until you notice that you've veered a little too close to the center of the road, or nearly collided with someone else, or stopped for a red light and somehow ended up at a 45-degree angle blocking pedestrians, bikes, and cars alike like a complete dipshit. It's not something I'd call extremely common -- it's not like every cyclist out there is driving like a clown 24/7. But you see someone's zoned-out bumblefuckery almost daily out there, and I'm not even going to pretend that I haven't done my share of that shit as well. Hey, I just understood why drivers sometimes hate us.
In all fairness, that's just my personal experience of bicyclists, and I'm a notoriously grumpy fucker. It's entirely possible that to someone else, the cycling experience is way more of a "unicorns farting rainbows" thing than the Mad Max world I've described. Despite my tendency to give cycling a hard time, at the end of the day, I do enjoy it a lot. I enjoy it enough to write thousands of passionate words about it.
Besides, it sure as hell beats riding on a bus that someone has used as a toilet.
Pauli Poisuo is a Cracked columnist and freelance editor. Here he is on Facebook and Twitter.
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