In the past few weeks I’ve been having many conversations with other riders about being nice when you are on the bike. This conversation is coming up in response to tacks on the road, cars buzzing us, the sheriff pulling over the shootout. To define nice, I’ll explain what I have been seeing that in Not Nice. Stopping anywhere and everywhere to urinate, running red lights and stop signs, leaving tubes and CO2 cartridges on the side of the road, littering nutrition wrappers, groups blocking traffic and taking the entire road, and many reckless acts of riding into the road.
A friend warned me not to blog anything bad about the Shootout or “suffer the consequences of alienating the cycling world”. As a Real Estate agent trying to appeal to the cycling world as the base of my referral network ( yes- I will show homes on bikes), I really don’t want to do anything to call out this group in a bad way, but it is so clear that some of these actions are hurting our overall credibility in the community.
This afternoon I saw a post on facebook from Chloë Black that addressed this exact issue. I love seeing it come from someone who is a transplant to Tucson, was once a visitor, has raced as a pro, is a coach and has given back as much to Tucson as a Bike Ambassador as anyone I know ( and I know everyone). Her post was:
Dear Visiting Cyclists to Tucson (“Pro” or not),
It’s super awesome to have you all here during the winter. I use to be just like you, escaping harsh winters for the lovely roads of Tucson. I just have a small request, but it would make a HUGE impact on our community. Tucson & Pima County work really hard to make life better for bicyclists. I mean REALLY hard! There is a massive effort from some really dedicated people to keep improving our experience here as well as our safety. This community is actually a national leader in this area!
Every time you blow through a red light or stop sign, or pee in front of someones home like the world is your toilet, or throw your trash & punctured tubes on the side of the road, or cut off traffic in a way that is really super rude & dangerous (for yourself, mostly), and you know how it goes…..we are all ambassadors of our cycling community. And while you are here, you are part of our community.
Anyway, I know this is preachy, but it’d be super awesome if while you are here, your presence elevates our image like I know it can! Cheers!
I think Chloe left off one important part. If you are a local, this should count double for you. Also, if you are a local and wear a team kit, it should be triple.
If we want others to respect us and allocate more infrastructure for cyclist it has to start with us being good stewards of the sport. So please, play nice:-)