People in Spandex

David Reinstein,LCSWStarred Page By David Reinstein,LCSW, 31st Oct 2012 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Essays

Bicycle riding is not what it used to me. In jeans and t-shirts on fat-tire (no speeds) bikes, we rode by the rules of the road. Spandex was something used in ladies girdles!

Politically Incorrect

In an age of increasing attention to health and wellness, it is perhaps politically incorrect to say anything critical about a popular form of exercise. As a sometimes pedestrian and sometimes automobile driver, I’m afraid I am having a bit of trouble with the increasing hoards of folks wrapped in Spandex on two-wheeled vehicles.

They look weird, hog the roads and often do not honor the local laws and vehicle codes.

We Want ...We require ... We Demand!

Here in California, the sides and centers of most surface streets and wooded trails are increasingly populated by men and women in Spandex, cycling their way to nowhere-in-particular. They have become an increasingly well-organized and influential lobby in Sacramento (out State Capitol) and in many of our Counties. On weekend mornings, they are everywhere.

They perpetually demand more space for bicyclists and more dedicated lanes for them to ride in. They righteously insist on improved attention and increased respect from those of us revisionist enough to persist in getting where we are going in a motorized vehicle or on foot. The problem is, from the driver/pedestrian’s point of view, they are not much interested in obeying the laws of the road and often behave in a way that is far more suggestive of entitlement than it is of wheeled responsibility.

I rarely see a police-person ticketing a bicyclist for violating traffic laws.

On Their "High Horse?"

As most automobile drivers, I am sometimes guilty of what we call "rolling" or “Hollywood" stops. (I get ticked for this from time to time.)This is unlike most of the bicyclists I see every day rolling, full speed, through stop signs and red lights without regard to other vehicles or to pedestrians.

They behave in a way that suggests entitlement. I wonder if it has anything to do with the fact that they are usually sitting up higher than most car drivers.

Is there a possible correlation between height and arrogance? As most trail walkers will attest, similar disregard for others is often demonstrated by people on horseback on shared trails. They sit pretty high up there! Maybe they just don’t notice us down here.

Time to Talk (sans) Spandex

Whether it is, in fact, the attitude of these people in Spandex or the skewed perception of people who once rode fat-tire, single speed bikes as a form of simple transportation is probably a subject of insoluble disagreement. As kids, we had to license our bikes.

Yes, in Massachusetts they even were issued small metal license plates! We were expected to obey all of the same laws that the cars were and, by-in-large, we did. We signaled our turns, stopped at Stop signs and red lights, yielded when the sign told us to and always gave pedestrians the right-of-way. To top it all off, no one on a bike in my neighborhood would be caught dead wearing Spandex – even if it had been available in those years.

It seems reasonable to expect that the world is big enough and that people are smart enough to accommodate to everyone’s needs. Bicyclists and pedestrians and car drivers SHOULD be able to share the roads without major conflicts. But, something is not working right; Not in my town and probably not in yours. Perhaps talks need be convened where all Spandex must be checked at the door.

Tags

Arrogance, Bicycles, David Reinstein Lcsw, Health And Wellness, Massachusetts, Spandex, Traffic Laws

Meet the author

author avatar David Reinstein,LCSW
Clinical Social Worker (Psychotherapist), humorist, poet and musician, Born in Boston and a relatively unscathed survivor of the 60's.
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David Reinstein, LCSW

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Comments

author avatar Peter B. Giblett
31st Oct 2012 (#)

I guess this is one trend that the US has to thank its Tour de France winners Lance Armstrong and Greg LeMond for. Personally I would prefer to ride a professional bike than the one you demonstrate, but there is no spandex for me.

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author avatar David Reinstein,LCSW
31st Oct 2012 (#)

My biking days are long gone...

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author avatar Jerry Walch
31st Oct 2012 (#)

Interesting article, David. I wonder if anyone else from Colorado Springs will comment on this article besides me.We have the honor of being the home of the USA Cycling Committee and we host many national and international competitions during which we closed many of the city streets down to all other wheeled traffic. Cycling is really big here in the Springs, amongst the cyclist and the general population as well. Perhaps there aren't that many people here in the Springs that reads Wikinut, but if there is, I would expect a great deal of Flack on this article.

People wearing spandex look weird? Really David. How do they look weird?

I have lived in California, in the Los Angeles area and it was my experience that pedestrians hogged the sidewalks and drivers of four wheeled vehicles hogged the highways.Groups of people walking together, side by side on the sidewalks are likely not to want to give someone coming towards them room to pass. When that happened to me I just barged right on through, setting more than one guy on his ass in the process.

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author avatar David Reinstein,LCSW
31st Oct 2012 (#)

Hey Jerry,
Truth is: There is no accounting for perception when it differs from our own :-}
If this piece does draw some flack, that's OK with me...

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author avatar David Reinstein,LCSW
31st Oct 2012 (#)

PS:
Re. Spandex looking weird... if you have to ask ...

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author avatar DuitByJames
1st Nov 2012 (#)

I live in the Denver metro area and am currently working in Boulder; another mecca for cyclist. In congested cities I have seen couriers run over people and never look back. In Boulder I've seen them wearing anything and sometimes very little. Since it's Halloween I'll suggest the ones in spandex might be dressing up like cyclist. I always wear jeans and along sleeve shirt and sometimes a jacket when I mountain bike.

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author avatar Jerry Walch
1st Nov 2012 (#)

I lived in Denver before moving here to The Springs, James. I like Denver for many things but not for living 24/7. I'm too much a country boy for that. I like Boulder and visit often. Was there a month or two ago for a TI Conference.
As a whole, the sports cyclists are a pretty courteous group of guys and gals. I know quite a few of them here in The Springs.

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
4th Nov 2012 (#)

Seems an universal phenomenon (curse?) I live in Singapore, a city state. Increasing use of bicycles are a sore point with pedestrians and automobile drivers. The cyclists are less policed and seem to have their right of way anywhere! They cycle along pedestrian crossings and even against one way signs. Thought we could learn some road manners from you! siva

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author avatar David Reinstein,LCSW
4th Nov 2012 (#)

Glad to know that it is not just me, Siva!

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author avatar Clarence Schreiber
5th Nov 2012 (#)

To some degree we have the same problem here in Milwaukee also, might not be as bad, but it seems to be a growing problem. As for the spandex I prefer not seeing that. I for one would not wear them.

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