Ask BikePortland: What’s with the racer vs. commuter vibe?

Cross Crusade #4-73

Is driving to a bike race all that bad?
(Photo © J. Maus)

This week’s question touches on a topic I’ve had many conversations about over the years. It comes from reader Steven Case:

“I do most of my commuting by bike and I also do a fair amount of bike races. In some interactions I’ve had with bike commuting advocates, I’ve felt a vibe of negativity towards bike racers/races. Have other people felt this vibe or held a grudge like this? Are there things bike racers may do that help or hurt the cause of commuting by bike? Is taking a car to a bike race really that bad?

I am interested in what other people think about this issue.”

Me too Steven. Thanks for asking about it.

There’s definitely a disconnect between those that think of bikes only a tool for transportation and those who see it solely as a tool for competition. I think Portland is way ahead of other bike cities in how our racing and commuting scenes overlap, but a divide still exists.

I know some folks in the advocacy world that just can’t figure out why, for instance, someone who lives in Portland would drive a few miles to PIR to race their bike. Why not just ride there?

And yes, there’s even a somewhat derogatory term, “car-toppers”, to go along with it.

Then again, as someone who used to be very serious bike racer, I can relate to people wanting the creature comforts of a car at the race venue, no matter how close they live to the event. Many racers have extra wheelsets and lots of other gear/food/clothes that would be hard to carry on their backs. Others have strict warm-up and cool-down regimens that can only be properly adhered to on a stationary trainer.

But enough of what I think; let’s open it up to the community. What do you think? Have you experienced this “vibe of negativity towards bike racers”? If so, do you think it’s warranted?


– Check the archives for more Ask BikePortland.

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Dave
12 years ago

I think a lot of the tension from the “commuter” side of things is aimed more at the overwhelming perception of cycling as a sport in the U.S., rather than the athletes themselves. Of course, there are exceptions to that, but as a whole I feel like it’s more that way.

As a person who only has any desire to ride a bike as a means of transportation (or for the occasional non-competition recreation), I often find it very frustrating from a legal, social and political point of view that people in the U.S. tend to view cycling only as a sport (because it really hinders the progress of cycling for transportation in a lot of ways, from infrastructure to the range of bicycles available in the market), but I don’t feel any animosity or negativity towards people who use bicycles for sport, it’s not their fault, they’re just doing something they enjoy.

Personally, I don’t really care if they drive to a race, that’s up to the person to decide if it’s necessary or not, I don’t know what all is involved in racing, so I’m certainly not going to judge anyone for it. I might drive the 1 mile to the grocery store if I need to get something I can’t carry on my bike.

ekim113
ekim113
12 years ago

How could a “vibe of negativity” possibly be warranted?

“They’re not using their bike like I want them to!”

Marcus Griffith
Marcus Griffith
12 years ago

A bike is a transportation tool first. Yet, there does seem to be a debate between riders if a bike is a recreational, sport or political tool as well.

I have found the occasional conflicts between different bike groups a bit puzzling. On one hand, I have seen bike-fun members insult recreational bike riders (something about driving a SUV for 20 miles to bike a 1 mile trail). On the other hand I have seen a dismissal attitude from members of the racing/recreational crowd being directed towards commuters and life-style cyclist (normally along the lines about getting a job and shaving those nose hairs).

ekim113
ekim113
12 years ago

Why is a bike a transportation tool first?

I would say that almost all of my bikes are toys first; only two would be considered transpo-tools first.

Dave
12 years ago

they probably just meant it was invented as a transportation tool first (granted, it went through some refining before it was practical, but still).

Brian
Brian
12 years ago

Seems natural that there is some level of disconnect.

There are many parallels.

Recreational swimmer vs competitive swimmer.

Auto Commuter vs race car driver.

Hockey player vs figure skater.

We just don’t identify with people who are different that we are. Even though on the surface we are similar.

And just to be clear. bike racer = hockey player and figure skater = commuter.

Matthew
Matthew
12 years ago

I’m a bike commuter and I don’t really care. My only issue with other cyclists are the ones who ride like crazy people, running red lights and swerving around cars and pedestrians (and ME) at unsafe distances and speeds. But why should I care what a person who races does?

Anonymous
Anonymous
12 years ago

Judging by the number of racers I draft behind on Williams on Tuesday afternoons, I saw we co-exsist well.

I also race on mondays, and find that often I get home on my commuter bike and then drive a couple of miles to the track, just because I need the room and don’t like riding my race bike at night with out lights and stuff.

Cheers

Rob
Rob
12 years ago

As long as people are out riding, it’s cool with me.

Gabriel Nagmay
12 years ago

There is a real lack of solidarity between cyclists in general.

Strangely, if you jump on a motorcycle and you get the exact opposite reaction. When I ride my bike (motorized), I get nods from the Harley tough guys and moped hipsters alike.

jcsuperstar
jcsuperstar
12 years ago

I suspect some non-racers think some racers ride too fast on shared paths and perhaps too close to them as they pass (racers are generally comfortable riding in very close proximity to others). They also think they dress funny – which of course is just irrelevant tribal bias. And generally speaking, there are demographic differences between the two groups which represent cultural differences. There is always tension involved in cultural differences – though I think unnecessarily.

mabsf
mabsf
12 years ago

I think we need to differentiate between serious racers, ‘wannebes’ and people on race bikes/gear behaving badly.
Having just survived an outing this Sunday on the Springwater Trail with my 7 year-old (I know that was stupid!), I had fumed most of my way home about people on race bikes passing us without any warning and in horrendous situations. This is one of the situations where I wish we would have a velodrome…

beth h
12 years ago

Speaking as someone who works in the bike industry, who commute daily by bike and who pretend to race a tiny bit, too:

1. The bike industry, especially in this country, is funded and fueled by what happens in racing. The reason there’s such a trickle-down of race-oriented styles and technologies to consumer-level bikes is because racing is where the R & D money — courtesy of race team sponsors — mostly is. That’s why so many bike shops — and bike consumer magazines — sell a lot of carbon fiber and lycra. It is the rare bike shop that refuses to sell either.

2. Commuter bikes ARE beginning to make a bigger splash in the bike indsutry, but as yet the trickle-down hasn’t been large enough to bring down the price for something considered a quality “commuter” bike. Also, from a marketing standpoint, “commuting” just isn’t as sexy as “racing”, at least not yet.

I wear blue jeans and oxford shirts and sneakers, have a bit of middle-aged spread and gray hair, and commute between 2,500 and 2,700 miles a year on my steel bike.

Lance Armstrong has a sculpted athlete’s body, is always photographed astride a bike while clad in lycra team kit and rides a super-lightweight carbon machine with the latest components.

Who do you think is going to sell more bicycles?

When Lance announces that he’s going to commute by bike four days a week, then we’ll see a jump in demand for commuter bikes. In the meantime, schlubs like me will continue to be decidedly UN-sexy astride our bikes, and racing will continue to be a strong reference point for the majority of the bike-riding public.

ekim113
ekim113
12 years ago

We have a velodrome, but it is a matter of getting people to race at the track and not on the street (as with motorcyles and automobiles).

Matthew
Matthew
12 years ago

Racing cyclists make cycling appear – both physically and financially – to be completely inaccessible to the general public because of the expensive bikes and clothing.

Also, most racing cyclists do not believe in bike lanes, thus do not help advocate for them, and hold back cycling even more from the general public.

And finally, racing cyclists, in my experience, have the least amount of respect for the rules of the road, that is, they are the ones blowing through stop signs and riding in groups that hamper auto traffic in a “critical mass with attitude” type of way.

Larey
12 years ago

I commute by bike during the week in jeans or shorts and t-shirts, and then suit up in lycra kit for weekend road rides. The only vibe I notice is when I ride one of my commuter/touring bikes on my weekend road routes, the roadies who normally wave or at least nod don’t see me. Do these panniers make me look fat?

R-diddly
R-diddly
12 years ago

I think in America specifically, for years there’s been a bias in the industry, and its publications and marketing materials, toward whatever’s hi-tech and expensive, which correlates highly with race bikes (and also fancy mountain bikes). With that, there has been a certain elitism toward bikes and riders that “aren’t race-worthy” or whatnot. When in fact those bikes (and riders) are just as valid, but for a different set of criteria. For example you might care more about saving $300 than you do about saving 300 grams. So “transportation” cyclists are only now starting to become (and/or wake up to the fact that they have become) a viable market on their own terms, and are asking for better products more suited to them, and are perhaps rightly pissed about having been mistreated and condescended to by the industry and its spandex-clad acolytes for so long. That’s my take on it. But on a more basic human level, I think people tend to get dogmatic and preachy about things they’re insecure about, or things that force them to realize that not everyone thinks as they do, and that the world will not conform to how they want it to be. Things they’re genuinely passionate about, they are too busy doing them and leading by example. But things they’re insecure about, seem to require that they conduct this judgy sales-pitch to the world. Everybody needs to make the effort to understand each other. It takes a little imagination. I understand for example that if I were a racer, which I’m not, I might not want to ride my $5,000 carbon bike down rock-and-glass-strewn Denver Ave. to P.I.R. On the other hand, I don’t own a car at all, and have arranged my life so that “driving to the ride” is pretty much impossible. If it turns out that I’m SOOOOO FLIPPIN RIGHT ABOUT THINGS, then pretty soon everyone will be doing as I’m doing, without my having to preach to them.

Jake
Jake
12 years ago

I think it goes a lot deeper than this. What about road/mountain bikers, or cyclist/triathlon, or fixie/freewheel, or spandex/no-spandex? I’ve found myself on different sides of all these arguments. I believe it comes down to how we as humans organize the world we find ourselves in. If there were only three cyclists in the city, it wouldn’t matter. With so many cyclists around, though, the sub-classes become more important.

KC
KC
12 years ago

I’m a commuter/tourer. I have a story that illustrates some of the difference: I hit a pothole some while back and it threw a wheel substantially out of true. I went to the Bike Gallery, and asked them to fix it up as much as possible, and the mechanic just gave up on it. He suggested a new wheel.

Then I went to City Bikes, which is very much geared towards the commuter. They were able to get it in workable shape again, and I got another year or so out of that wheel.

fool
fool
12 years ago

i’m carless and a sometimes racer. i wear spandex at times, and my more practical cycling/car-free friends do sometimes laugh at me. but it’s in a poking-fun way, not a you-suck way. and i laugh at myself too (sausage man to the rescue!).

but seriously, when i race, i ride to the race start. i have, in fact, put a trainer in my pannier and ridden it out to an event, rode the event on the same bike, and then rode back home with the trainer in my other pannier (you know, to balance things out). and i love nothing more than the looks that people give me when i pull up to a triathlon carrying all my gear in a huge saddlebag.

i certainly could bring extra wheels/frame if i so desired, in panniers, but fortunately i’m not that serious about it.

i don’t see why we can’t all just get along, though. i don’t hate anyone who doesn’t endanger my safety. which includes rather more cyclists than drivers–every cyclist who irritates a driver, or trains him to think cyclists make unexpected/illegal maneuvers is making my daily rides less safe. when i lived in texas, i said that drivers were the bigger problem, but drivers up here are so darn respectful for the most part that i don’t feel that to be the case.

Dave
12 years ago

KC: have you seen Sheldon Brown’s stuff on truing wheels, where he talks about bending rims back into shape over your knee enough to get spokes back in them? 🙂

ekim113
ekim113
12 years ago

Matthew-
I have to respectfully disagree with you.
For “Least amount of respect for rules of the road” I have to nominate the fixie/SS hipster.
I am also curious about your statement of most racers “not believing in bike lanes” and thus holding back cycling for the G.P.? How are you determining whether or not a person on a bike is a racer or not? I hope not solely by their attire. Check out Williams/Vancouver the next couple of months on Mon and Tue evenings; you will be sure to see racers and commuters alike.

WOBG
WOBG
12 years ago

Perhaps too obvious, but: A racer or wannabe racer who doesn’t also bike-commute doesn’t *help* — with congestion, pollution, fossil-fuel dependency, any of that greater-good stuff.

(I don’t specifically mean bike-commuting *to races*. It’s hard to get to PIR in time after work.)

Such folks are perhaps a little like wheel-suckers who won’t take a pull in the cultural paceline.

Anne Hawley
Anne Hawley
12 years ago

Two things:

1. As long as bike-riding in the US is seen primarily as a [competitive]sport and recreational hobby, public funding to support bike transportation infrastructure will be viewed by the majority of American taxpayers as social welfare for the leisure class. Making a strong and visible distinction between sport cycling and transportation seems very important to me for this reason.

2. Personally, when fast riders on racing bikes and in racing gear are out at rush hour on the principal bike routes, passing slow-Dutch-bike me on the right and cutting ahead of me at lights, it takes a lot of the joy out of my commute. I’m happy to say that this problem seems to be diminishing–possibly as a result of my own growing confidence as a bike commuter.

ekim113
ekim113
12 years ago

KC-
If you are suggesting that BG caters to the racer crowd, you are mistaken. They cater to the money crowd and I can guarantee you that they can make more money truing that wheel than they do selling you a new one.
There was a reason they chose not to fix it, be it their skepticism of the wheel’s integrity, lack of skill, or just laziness.

fredlf
fredlf
12 years ago

I think there is a tremendous amount of misunderstanding/ignorance about what bike racing actually is. In the right-wing media rants against cyclists, someone is always railing against Lance wannabees in their spandex. I think some of that attitude sometimes extends to “everyday” cyclists who feel that racers give cycling a bad reputation for no other reason than they are racers.

I’ve always found this kind of ironic. I am tremendously impressed by the skill, strength and endurance of pro riders and by the amazing dedication of amateur racers who are able to ride at a very high level while holding down real jobs and responsibilities.

As a cyclist, I look up to someone like Jens Voigt or Chris Horner who manages to be both a fearsome racer and downright decent human being. I see them as role models whether I’m puttering about on my townie exercising the dog, or wearing my game-face and stretchy pants trying to get up Logie Trail faster than last time.

It’s my hope that as cycling becomes more mainstream and common, these kind of “us” and “them” distinctions will break down and become “us” and “also us.”

Paul Souders
12 years ago

In my experience way more people commute than race.

In my experience the second group is largely a subset of the first.

In my experience not nearly enough riders, regardless of their sartorial choices, say “on your left.”

In my experience something like 50% of cyclists will return a “hello” unless they’re in the drops. The ones who don’t are probably focusing on something other than me so I don’t take it personally.

In my experience something like 10% of motorists will return a “hello.” Some of them seem genuinely shocked that other human beings even exist.

In my experience, more bikes = better riding. Full stop.

And because apparently we need this kind of disclaimer:

I commute every day, 100+mi/wk. I ride some days in spandex (mostly grotty old sale-bin team wear) and some days in denim (whatever I’m wearing at work). I haven’t raced in a long time and I wasn’t that good when I did, but I still pull long epics on the weekend.

maxadders
maxadders
12 years ago

Every once in a while I encounter a non-cyclist who makes a passing remark like “where’s the race?”.

It doesn’t matter that I’m wearing jeans and sneakers and probably a good 30lbs overweight– somehow I’m still “Lance Armstrong” in their eyes.

It’s especially ridiculous coming from coworkers who live less than a mile from work, but drive every day, parking passes clutched tightly in their hands.

I brush it off, but it still irritates me. For one, it’s corny, and two, it makes me see them in a different way– closed-minded and stuck on cars for all the old cliched reasons.

With all the bike hype in this town, you’d think the non-cyclist would be well aware that not everyone on a bike is a “racer”. But again, there’s a guy who still thinks it’s funny that I wear a helmet.

maxadders
maxadders
12 years ago

Regarding racer-vs.-commuter interaction on Williams, for instance, I’ve never had a bad interaction with folks geared up en route to PIR.

But wow, the timid fair-weather commuters can freak out when they’re passed. Never mind that the “racer” (often just a marginally faster commuter) is the one taking the lane…the freaked out commuter weaves and cuts in towards the parking lane because oh my god he’s going to get killed.

I wish these folks would relax. Or at least save their dirty looks and frumpy disdain for another target.

h
h
12 years ago

you opened a can of worms…

dan
dan
12 years ago

I have no problem with someone driving to a bike race. I do think it’s ridiculous when people pull up to fun/group rides with their $5k carbon bikes on top of their BMWs though.

Daniel
Daniel
12 years ago

Down here in Bend, the overlap is much smaller. Elite racers are a dime a dozen but put 2 inches of snow on the ground and you’ll quickly wonder where the slogan “bike town, USA” came from. The only negative feelings as a commuter(who sometimes races) is that the group road riders who act as if traffic laws don’t apply to them, end up making me and other law-abiding cyclists look bad.

ekim113
ekim113
12 years ago

Jens Voigt is my hero (as cyclists go).

So it would not be ridiculous if they showed up on a $79.98 bike from BiMart?

I think it’s ridiculous when people think it’s ridiculous that some people have and spend money. None of your business what type of bike or car they own.

fredlf
fredlf
12 years ago

Anne @22, I disagree with your first point. I don’t think seeing cycling as a sport and as a meaningful transportation solution are mutually exclusive. You’re creating a false dichotomy. I might even argue that if bike racing was admired in this country, it could actually encourage more people to ride and improve attitudes towards all cyclists. Europeans seem to have no problem with enjoying racing and creating meaningful, extensive bike transpo infrastructure.

Re: your second point. I completely agree, a cyclist acting like a jerk tends to take a lot of joy out of my ride too. I’m not going to make any generalization about what kind of cyclist tends to act like jerks since I have yet to see that any user group has a monopoly on idiocy.

John Kangas
John Kangas
12 years ago

This time of year especially, lycra on spotless road bikes indicates lack of recent riding experience, often enough to warrant a great deal of caution. The ones who’ve been sitting inside all winter are recovering fitness, may be stoned on an oxygen deficit from pushing so hard this early in the season, and can’t be counted on to make smart decisions. Racers on the street are also more likely to lack in social riding skills; other riders are for passing and intimidating in a roadie-oriented environment.

I don’t mean to blacklist all roadies as rude and potentially a danger to others, but the other way around. Rude, inexperienced, and dangerous riders are most likely found in a peloton. Inexperienced casual riders exist, for sure, but they’re slow enough that even a cruiser with a bad attitude is more of an inconvenience than anything.

Elly Blue (Columnist)
12 years ago

It’s cool to see all the people in the bike-fun scene starting to check out the sportier sides of biking — what’s more empowering than realizing that just by commuting every day you’ve got the basic fitness and skills to get into a sport that you might previously have never even considered being a remote possibility?

‘Cross seems to be the big meeting point here. There are races you can enter without fancy gear, the promoters reach beyond just the athletic scene, and then you also have BTA doing outreach at races. Seems like something that could happen elsewhere too. It is a shame about it being such a driving destination. Maybe a fleet of SVO powered race buses is in order for folks who’d rather go that way.

ekim113
ekim113
12 years ago

John-
As we are just generalizing:
Mountain bikers are the most dangerous (drunk and high probably) and P’farthing riders are the rudest (snobby and always looking down on others with their monocles and top hats).

I will be sure to not was my lycra, oh wait- if I keep it clean maybe other riders will stay away from me!

jocko
jocko
12 years ago

time to chime in!

Well it matters on the race: PIR races short-track and road, the tabor series and maybe the Krugers cross race are great ones to ride your bike to. I am always trying to race hard and finish strong so i will mostly try and hitch a ride to a race any further than Krugers (no car either, but I got gas money).

I am a go every where on my bike type and most of the other racer pals I have are the same, and thus understand the commuter angle. Most of the conflict I get are from the “commuter racer”, those who treat their morning and evening commute as a race (they have never actually raced). They never let you know when they are passing, they pass in dangerous spots and never return a hello. Yep those guys are jerks.

If any of you out there in bikeportland land are “bike-race curious” I would suggest the PIR Short-track series or the cross crusade as an awesome intro to bike racing check out http://www.obra.org for more info.

Ethan
Ethan
12 years ago

I suppose when fans leave the parking lot after a NASCAR event, they don’t feel like they have magically become a second class citizen.

Jabin
Jabin
12 years ago

I guess I’m somewhere in between. I ride a steel bike in jeans/shorts most of the time, but I commute for the exercise.

I want to ride fast enough to get a good workout. I know how fast I need to go to make the lights on Williams and I take the lane and pass slower riders to keep up a good speed.

It seems people think that anyone riding fast on their commute is some racer looking to “beat” everyone. I just want to get my heart rate up and burn off a little of my beer gut on my way home so I don’t have to join a gym or otherwise take time out of my schedule to work out.

ME 2
ME 2
12 years ago

Brian #6

I disagree. Anyone who shaves his or her legs for sport is definitely a figure skater and not a hockey player.

Joe
Joe
12 years ago

ride ride and just ride. I like the old saying, just shut up and ride! 🙂

all aside people get tunnel vision with things these days. as riders we need to come together and respect eachother.

wave on 🙂
Joe
x-racer 10+ years. dont get mad at the way i ride. all i ask hold your line. haha

KC
KC
12 years ago

ekim113, there was definitely was a reason why BG didn’t true the wheel. He told me it directly. It wasn’t laziness or lack of skill. It was because he wouldn’t be able to get the wheel true to his satisfaction. At that shop if they got it “true enough” to use, there’s a strong chance their average customer would be unhappy with the work. So it’s not a criticism, they did the right thing given the orientation of their business.

City Bikes, is very different. When I asked them if they could true the wheel, they knew exactly what to do because they’re experts at eeking out as much life out of the equipment as possible (while staying safe, mind you– they’ve always told me when they thought something had crossed into being unsafe). It’s just part of their values– commuter-centered values.

So yes, there were reasons, and the point I was trying to illustrate. It was much better for me to go to the shop that reflected my values as a commuter.

It seems obvious to me that there’s a substantial overlap between the “money” crowd and the “racer” crowd. Though they sell other stuff too, Bicycle Gallery sells racing bikes and caters to racers with all the Lycra you could ever want. Though if I were a snobby racer, I might not consider them to be “enough” of a racing shop compared to others. But compare them to City Bikes, which very rarely gets a used racing bike on its floor and is focused on stuff like rain gear, gloves, panniers, etc.

ekim113
ekim113
12 years ago

KC-

Understood. I obviously did not understand the point you were trying to make.

BG does stand behind their work, so if they felt it would not hold the truing (going back to structural integrity) they would not want to do the work.

Makes sense for them and makes sense for the customer.

fredlf
fredlf
12 years ago

Not to hijack the thread but, I’m a former mechanic. I’ve turned away wheels based on my judgement that, while I might be able to make the wheel straight again, doing so would yield spoke tension that was so uneven that it would never stay true and/or would break spokes. It’s a judgement call.

It is true that some of that judgement comes in assessing that particular customer’s needs.

spare_wheel
spare_wheel
12 years ago

“But wow, the timid fair-weather commuters can freak out when they’re passed. Never mind that the “racer” (often just a marginally faster commuter) is the one taking the lane…the freaked out commuter weaves and cuts in towards the parking lane because oh my god he’s going to get killed.”

So true!

I think most of the commuters disturbed by “racers” are the timid types trundling along on their 40+ lb comfort/euro bikes.

Lillian Karabaic
12 years ago

@Brian, as figure skater and bike commuter, I would say that the bike racer = hockey player and figure skater = commuter is incorrect.

Figure Skaters are very much focused on sport, and are typically athletes at a higher level of complexity and fitness than most hockey players. Figure skating is all about competition, unfortunately. And a hockey player almost never can do a double lutz, but as a figure skater I taught lessons to hockey players on speed/power skating.

Just have to continue the analogy…

Joe Metal Cowboy Kurmaskie

Maybe for the same reasons I hung with so many different groups in high school: the band, the jocks, the stoners, nerds and clubbers – connected with each for different reasons – sometimes savoring specifically b/c of our differences – I relate to bike riding in the same fashion. racing, mountain biking, commuting, fixie, family SUB’s, hell, I’ll even smile and nod at a got damned unicycle now and again. I’ve never been much for compartmentalizing folks – cue the closing voiceover of The Breakfast Club.

If you’re on a bike I’m gonna give you the benefit of… If you’re an a-hole that will prove out regardless of what type of riding you primarily do. If you go faster than me I’m gonna smile b/c in my head if not always my legs, I remember what it means to be young and want to go very very fast.

And I’ll still get up tomorrow nodding and waving at everyone in the saddle. Yea, that’s me, stray well and nod back if you want…

Kman
Kman
12 years ago

Interesting title for the post.

I don’t really see a commuter vs. racer vibe. On a higher level OBRA and BTA are working together and forging stronger ties. We are actively encouraging racers to become BTA members to help the BTA have a more powerful voice. We’re all a member of the cycling community who benefit from more visibility of cyclists and safer streets.

Personally, I actively encourage all kinds of cycling- whether it be commuting, recreational riding, racing or any other type of riding. All that I care is that there are more riders on the roads and trails. For us, as the number of riders increases, the number of racers will also increase. It’s the idea that as you grow the whole pie, our pie grows along with it. We all live in a cycling ecosystem and we’re all interdependent.

In OBRA we put an emphasis on grass roots cycling and being welcoming to everyone. We actively discourage people from being “elitist”. And the whole equipment thing? It’s more the engine that counts. I know a racer who started last year on an old 22 pound bike with down-tube shifters and is putting the hurt on the guys with the expensive bikes (still on that 22 pound bike).

We’re lucky to have such a vibrant cycling community in Oregon- and I appreciate it more and more every day.

Charley
Charley
12 years ago

I would really like to see more people on bikes racing or commuting or whatever, no matter what. (I ride jeans to work, and lycra to train for PIR short track-though this is my first season, so I’ve not actually started yet). I’m betting I’ll end up driving to PIR because I won’t want to have extra clothing and a camera and all that on me when I race, and won’t have a place to store it, other than my car. Unless there’s a way to leave a camera and phone and such lying around and not have it stolen!

As for who obeys the law better, I think all humans are guilty sometimes (all riders and all drivers). I would say, though, that large groups of people on bikes wearing matching team kit are highly visible ambassadors of the sport (or the transportation technology, if you will) and as such should bear the responsibility of at least slowing down for stop signs! I mean, it’s sort of to be expected to see tweakers on Walmart bikes swerving around and acting like they own the road, but I’d think that serious, competitive riders would hold themselves to a higher standard. So it’s dispiriting to see when they don’t.