How to ruin everything

Bicycling is generally a safe activity. Still, there is always someone out there who can, dog willing, turn a fun pedal into a total shit show. There was a bad crash on the NPR yesterday caused by some of the worst conduct on a bike I’ve ever seen.

Bottom line: If you are such a badass that you need to get off your bike and try to punch people out, you don’t belong on a bike. You belong in a cage on pay-per-view TV. However, I get that you really aren’t that tough, and that what you really like best is to act tough and leave everything around you broken and wrecked.

After watching the show that was put on yesterday, I’ve made a little handy-dandy set of bullet points that other people can use to ruin their local ride, and hopefully kill a few people while they’re at it.

  1. Being a Cat 3 makes you a total expert about bicycling, because you’ve been doing it three or four whole years and you won that Cat 4 race that one time and got on the podium another time and there was that time you won that prime and you always almost win the imaginary sprunt at the start of the third traffic island. Respect.
  2. Start every ride with a pack of Easy Offense Super Pissy Personality Fuses that they sell 2-for-1 at Bob’s Second Amendment Gun Shop. These burn almost instantaneously and can be ignited by virtually anything on the ride. A wobble. A swerve. A pine cone. A mismatched sock-and-armwarmer combo. Once someone sets off your hair-trigger fuse, you can go nutso. Super respect.
  3. Repeatedly yell at people. If someone yells back, light another Easy Offense Super Pissy Personality Fuse and go berserk. You don’t have to earn respect by riding at the front, upgrading, racing against your peers, winning hard races, or helping other people. That’s for losers.
  4. Never shrug anything off as if you were a grown-up. Grudges, blood feuds, battles to the death, that’s Cat 3 bike racing. That dude who called you a dick that one time? Enemy for life.
  5. Everyone respects a screamer, so never hold back. It also sets the tone for the ride. Your ride.
  6. A lot of the people on the ride are twenty or thirty years older than you are. Fuck those old wankers, they’re over-ripe for the grave anyhow, and being a tough guy means never taking into account how you affect other people, especially people who, when they fall off their bicycles and break, probably won’t heal up as quickly as you will. If they’re not dead yet you can help ’em along. They want a safe, fun ride? Get a tricycle.
  7. Never hesitate to pull over at a stoplight, get off, and rage towards the object of your ire even though you’re still drinking from a sippy-cup, wearing a diaper, and haven’t yet worn your first pair of man pants. Having six people restrain your 145 pounds of raging fury doesn’t mean you’re an immature dipshit, it means you’re a raw hunk of fighting man who kills with his hands. (Note: Don’t ever have a go at Marines like Big Steve or that ex-Special Forces dude who always seems like he’s in a good mood. You could take them for sure, but why bother when there’s easy pickings like that Cat 5 dude just learning the ropes?)
  8. All those losers who do the morning ride for a workout get up every morning and think “I can’t wait to go to the morning ride and get screamed at!” And that guy who cut you off that one time? He’s toast. And that other dude who didn’t pull through that one time? His ass is grass.
  9. Don’t be afraid to look behind you and shout at people while riding in the middle of the peloton. You have skills and plus you thought of another good name to call that guy who tried to get onto your leadout that one time.
  10. Don’t worry if, when you look back to cuss some dude out, you slam into the guy in front of you, fall on your face and break out your front teeth, knock down three other riders, destroy a bunch of (other people’s) expensive bike equipment, potentially wreck someone’s entire racing season, endanger the lives and livelihoods of the people there with a family and job (both of them), then lie on the pavement writhing in agony while people run to your aid, and while others risk their lives trying to direct the traffic that has no idea what’s going on and is rubbernecking at 55 mph  and weaving through a stopped group of 80 riders that has spilled out into the traffic lane, while you’ve ruined the ride, sent friends to the hospital, terrified everyone, called out the fire department, called out the county EMS, and generally left the whole thing in tatters. Shit happens and it sucks to be them.
  11. Post an apology on Facebag and you’re golden. Can’t they read? You SAID you were sorry.



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30 thoughts on “How to ruin everything”

  1. Greg (g$) Leibert

    it’s a STUPID sport. Unfortunately, i LOVE this sport.
    I love our NPR…and it’s been my church.

    I’m afraid, i may have to stop going to church.

  2. 2 rules of riding in a training and/or group ride. 1) don’t crash 2) don’t cause others to crash. It’s that simple. Oh yeah, 3) don’t be a dick – sounds like this guy got all three wrong.

  3. You see these types in every aspect of life. I call them the wannabes. In the Military, the people that aren’t ever going to make the best of the best. The best of the best are quiet and never, ever act aggressively, unless in combat.

    You see this in Middle Managers in the business world who fell into their role and are never going anywhere else.

    You see this of course in sports, especially those that draw the A+ types. I am pretty sure that Marianne Vos never cursed anyone out on a group ride. I would imagine the same for Merckx, Froome, Kathy Compton Emma Pooley and other elite athletes. (Disclaimer: I suspect LA did yell and curse at other riders)

    1. LA did and some of those others did. I agree with your point but I think it’s more subtle. Most all of us have done that from time to time. The number of us that are so well trained as to never react until we call upon ourselves is very small.

  4. It could have been much worse. So thankful that it wasn’t. Such a stupid chain of events. I wasn’t even there and I was pissed off all day! So avoidable…

  5. An impeccable endorsement that supports my decision to join the swanky gym next to my office tower and bid an indefinite adieu to the NPR. The only person yelling at me at 6AM as I drip sweat on my power-metered spin bike is, shall we say, rather easy on the eyes.

    1. It gets to a point when you ask “Really?” and the answer is “Yeah, really,” that you pack your bags and find the discomfort zone in another venue.

  6. Anyone *really* old remembers meathead at the velodromes in So Cal.
    He was THE reason I stopped going to the track. He ruined everything the minute he opened his mouth. Whatever happened on the track was okay by me, but, the dude had a personality disorder to put it kindly.

    If any of you currently riding wonder why more competitive cycling isn’t a sport with more appeal, one of the reasons is because of rage-filled riders Seth describes that come and go from the sport.

    1. Yes, and they are often alcoholics who leave nothing but wreckage after they move on. “Who did you help today?” makes a lot better community than “Who did you smash today?”

  7. That’s quite a hard-to-fathom set of hypothetical bullet points. I can’t imagine it’s based on real events…..

    1. It’s all true except for the parts I made up, which is all of it. No bike rider would ever behave that way.

      1. You may have exaggerated a bit but I’ve seen all of this in some form. May a repost with attribution!

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