Sunday, June 27, 2010

Update on the Chipseal saga

Apparently, Reed Bates, the cyclist who blogs as Chipseal, was incarcerated by authorities in Texas for 18 days. Fellow cyclists finally gathered the funds to bail him out. Details can be found here. His next court date is July 29.

Bates has become embroiled in a nightmare of interpretive law enforcement. Most cyclists would just have grumbled and given way when confronted with motorists and law enforcement officers who did not know the law and therefore did not uphold the rights of the actual injured party. Cyclists are encouraged to have an inferiority complex, which most of us take on, even if we disguise it as an outlaw mentality. It stems in part from our sense of self-sufficiency, which inclined us to start getting around under our own power in the first place. Sure, give us crap. We're strong. We'll keep pedaling and put up with your crap as well. Just try and stop us.

The persecution limits the traffic cycling population to people who will endure the various artificially created obstacles placed in their path. People of greater sensitivity may make brief appearances as new riders take up transportation cycling for its obvious benefits, unaware of its most infuriating drawback.

Cyclists are actually less exposed to the full brunt of rude, self-centered motorists. I'll get to rude, self-centered cyclists in a minute. The fact is, most drivers just want to get past us and we want them to make it. How they do it is often up to us. But the techniques necessary to control passing motorists demand self-confidence from the cyclist. They can also lead to situations exactly like the one Reed Bates is going through, when law enforcement sides with motorists who don't believe in their own state laws permitting bicyclists not only to use the road but to maneuver in such away as to guide the motoring public safely around them. These motorists have the mistaken belief that cyclists are allowed to use the road only if they never cause a motorist to slow down or change course. Any accommodation a motorist makes for a cyclist is only an optional courtesy, in their philosophy. When it is not convenient, the cyclist must beware.

Self-centered behavior is our natural state. Civilization is artificial. But strip away the restraining behaviors we have chosen to accumulate through the millennia and you're left with just a grizzly bear with a chain saw. Self-centered cycling behavior has developed largely because cyclists feel abandoned by society. Those who ride in what you could call a very direct fashion feel they owe nothing to a society that feels it owes nothing to them. I've certainly felt that way when throwing elbows and sprinting for my life in a commuter criterium. If no one is really looking out for me then I'll look out for myself.

Funny that I was wondering whether the donation button in this blog's sidebar was now obsolete. It is not. So toss a few ducats toward the defense fund for Mr. Bates if you're so inclined. View it in context with the ban on bicycling in Blackhawk, Colorado, and other maneuvers to push cyclists off the road. We are born into a world of conflict. Everything you do, including efforts to work constructively, puts you on one side or the other of a dispute somewhere. No sooner does one end than another begins. It is the exhausting labor of every lifetime. That and cleaning up after slobs. Someone is always ready to turn things ugly.

Be beautiful, you beautiful people.


RCMC467 said...

Testing...Testing...This is a test to see if I can actually post a comment. Had some trouble signing in.

RCMC467 said...

Now, about your post:

Well said Cafiend...well said.

I guess if one rides enough just about anything can happen, like this which happened to me yesterday:

What a dork I can be.


Steve A said...

"the techniques necessary to control passing motorists demand self-confidence from the cyclist."

Exactly. And teaching that yesterday was VERY fulfilling.

cafiend said...

RCMC467: Heads up! :-D

Steve A: Thanks for helping to boost the confidence and skills of traffic cyclists.

Tom said...

This is related to another post that I THINK I read here, but can't find.

It referenced a cyclists ability to ride 1,000 miles at 15 MPH on energy equivalent to 1 gal of gas.

Was that your article? If so, can you direct me to it?

Thank you.

cafiend said...

Tom: It wasn't my article, but now I'd like to see it, too.

Anonymous said...

1 gallon?

Depends how you measure.

I happen to like the site.