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Michigan Cycling Law and Passing Slower Traffic; Why Did the Facebook Crowd have a Meltdown Over This Photo?
I took the photo above on DALMAC and sent it in to the staffers to enter a photo contest. Apparently, whether the TCBA posted it, or one of my friends, on Facebook, social media had a huge meltdown over this photo. Folks, motherf***ers were pissed. At issue was the fact that we crossed a yellow line to pass a miniature horse and buggy being driven by a young boy. First, before we get into this, we need context to keep the idiocy at a minimum; we were roughly double the speed of the little guy and his horse. I’d guess they were about 10-mph and we were around 20, probably a little higher. Our average pace for the day was 19.48-mph, so common sense would dictate between 22 & 24 (we do, for the most part, stop at stop signs and always at traffic lights, so we have to ride a little faster for the average).
Now, I’m second bike behind my buddy, Mike in this photo. I started calling out to move wide, early and that’s exactly what we did to pass.
If you don’t know anything about cycling, passing horses and buggies, and traffic, and you’re ignorant of Michigan law, well, I imagine you could get your dander up over that photo, but another’s ignorance isn’t enough to get my undies in a bunch, either.
So, here are the things people miss in their ignorance, intolerance and desire to jump on someone else out for a leisurely stroll:
- It’s hard to see from the photo, because I was holding the camera down pretty low, and I was angling it down as well, to get the shot right, whilst riding in a pace line at better than 20-mph (everyone within earshot knew I was taking the photos), but adjusting the height a little bit, to eye level, we can see all the way down the road beyond the stop sign. We knew we had the room to pass and gave the horse and buggy a little more than three feet, because that’s what decent people do.
- We had complete situational awareness when we passed the kid riding in the horse and buggy. Complete.
- It’s a kid driving that buggy…
- Anyone who knows anything about horses, when they get spooked, they freight train. We weren’t about to spook that horse and have him go all mental on a kid, so we started talking so the horse (and the kid) could hear us coming, then we passed wide, where and when it was safe to do so, and in a manner that we hoped wouldn’t spook them.
- This is a photo taken just a few seconds earlier when we were in the process of moving over – you can see the lead cyclist on the right motioning to get over (or, if you didn’t know, that’s the end of the motion to move over, an obstacle is ahead):
As we are a vehicle on the road, subject to the same laws (as the angry mob likes to say), we assumed a little bit of the new Michigan bicycle passing law ourselves:
(3) Notwithstanding section 640, if it is safe to do so, the driver of a vehicle overtaking a bicycle proceeding in the same direction may overtake and pass the bicycle in a no-passing zone.
We, as cyclists and motorists, are accutely aware of what three feet actually is. In the first photo, I’d call that four or five feet, but again, we didn’t want to spook the kid or the horse. So, in other words, we followed existing law and did what was intelligent. We overtook a horse and buggy, on a bicycle travelling roughly double the speed, where it was clearly safe to do so, in a no-passing zone. We used the existing law on the books as it was written, passed, and intended.
It’ll never be good enough, as cyclists go…
Just yesterday, our small, four-person group was yelled at by a motorist because we didn’t stop at a stop sign and put a foot down… 40 feet before we even got to the intersection. We hadn’t even made it to the intersection! First, we are not on motorcycles. We have the ability to stop without putting a foot down. Let’s take that argument at face value, though. You think motorists are mad at cyclists now, let’s follow the put your foot down notion to conclusion. Rather than take 20 cyclists 20 seconds to clear an intersection, let’s go two at a time, foot down, then go, foot down, then go… those same twenty cyclists would take a minute and a half to clear an intersection. You think motorists are irate now, good grief. Better, let’s follow knucklehead’s suggestion and stop, foot down, 40′ from an intersection, and hop our bikes up to the stop sign. 20 cyclists, we’d clear an intersection in two minutes. You can’t even quantify the squitters that would cause.
Where the rubber meets the road, as they say.
It doesn’t matter why the angst, it’s directed at the wrong people. Cyclists would rather be on a paved shoulder almost as much as motorists want them on a shoulder. I’d be willing to bet you wide shoulders would approach 90% voter approval, so why doesn’t every road built in the State of Michigan have a wide shoulder on either side of the road that we would gladly use to avoid angry nincompoops?
Ask your politician. And therein lies the rub. One thing is for sure, I’m not going to quit using the roads till they put shoulders in we can ride on, no matter how angry someone ignorantly is that I’m legally there.
Just remember, if it’s a “speed” thing, you’ll have to ban mail vans and farm equipment from the roads as well. My friends and I pass them on a regular basis. We passed a mail truck just Saturday morning. The driver never came close to catching us… and we take up less space on the road.
I leave work a little after 3 pm and it’s a two-hour commute home from my current job. This is not a complaint, I’m on what is probably the best job I’ve ever had the pleasure of building – I’m in the middle of my most enjoyable work experience in my career, and that’s no exaggeration. The job is seriously getting in the way of my cycling habit, though. It’s not rare for me to rather the trainer than riding outside, simply because the set-up is quicker.
I pulled into the driveway at 4:55 last evening, got the bike ready, and rolled it out the door just before 5:30. My normal weekday riding bud, Chuck, has been inundated with work lately so he couldn’t make it – I had to roll solo. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky, but it was just barely out of the 30’s (5 C)… and the north wind was cold… and I was headed directly into it. One north, then a break for two heading west, followed by another north and one west and another north, by the time I hit my first tailwind, I was good and ready. I was a little chilly and had thought about turning the train around more than once – too much work related noise distracting the melon committee – until I hit that tailwind. All of a sudden everything cleared out and was okay as I was cruised along at 20+ (32-36 km/h). I’d opted for the Venge because it was perfectly sunny out and I marveled at how perfectly quiet and responsive the bike is. It’s truly a wonder of engineering, that bike.
As I hit a little decline with the tailwind I pressed on the pedals a little harder and the bike responded. 24, 25, 26-mph… then a sharp left and I was back on the gas. I passed a few people standing on the side of the road at 23, not even the whirring of the chain. Just a whoosh as I went by.
A mile north, in through a subdivision, then out onto the main road and a bike lane. On the way down a small hill a girl leaned out the window of an older maroon Pontiac Grand Prix and catcalled me. I think, considering today’s politics, I should have been offended but I’m old enough to still think of that as a compliment. A couple of more miles east and it was pay-off time for the ride. The home stretch with a tailwind for three of four miles.
Heading up a shallow incline with the wind at my back I didn’t bother pushing the pace. Monday is always a fun day in preparation for Tuesday’s hammer. I just let the wind do its thing and push me home. I rolled into the driveway just under 58 minutes for the 17-1/2 mile route. A little faster than I should have wanted but I was just happy to have gotten out, and stuck with it until the ride got fun. By 6:40 I was showered. I’d eaten by 7:00 and I was out like a light before 8 pm. The sun had just gone down as I drifted off.
What a life. It’s as good as it gets.
Show up. If you simply show up on time, you beat 50% of everyone in your field.
Work hard. If you’re willing to work hard, not “the hardest of anyone who has wielded a hammer, just plain old hard, you’ll beat another 40%.
From there it’s just a fight at the top, You’ll always be needed.
Finally, remember this little nugget. Everyone who works hourly thinks management and ownership is easy and the brass is making money hand over fist on the lowly hourly guy’s back. This is because you’re ignorant.
Management is twice as tough as hourly, and ownership is another twice over that. I should know, I’ve done it all. And I stepped back a notch. On purpose.
Don’t believe me?
Strike out on your own and find out for yourself. There’s a general contractor out there willing to finance you… right up till bankruptcy. Then you’ll be on your own. Good luck, and remember how easy it was to make all that money when you’re heading into court. 90% fail. Most spectacularly.
I happened upon a Durianrider video the other day – now, nine-and-a-half times in ten I’m going to close that video down before he hits his first “carb the f*** up” but, for some reason, not this day.
In his four minute and change video he claimed that no one has ever been dropped because they were riding Sora components in lieu of Dura Ace, that Chris Froome could win the Tour de France on a Sora-equipped bike, and that if someone does get dropped riding Sora, it is due to their glycogen levels being low, or not properly carbing the f*** up, and that he could flog 99.9,% of all riders on his Sora-equipped steel LeMond… and my mind kinda shut him out after that.
I did pat myself on the back for making it to the end of the video – the guy tends to grate on me a bit. What if you’re not the great carbing the f*** up Durianrider, though?
First, I can tell you that I agree with him that Shimano Sora R3000 9sp is legit. I’ve got it on my gravel bike and it’s just as good as my 10sp 105 and close to the Ultegra line. There’s a weight penalty, but it’s not all that big a deal.
But question was, has anyone ever been dropped because they’re riding a Sora-equipped bike?
I’d argue yes, but not because Sora components are heavy or because they don’t operate excellently. In fact, for the extra Thousand Dollars for Dura Ace, my 23 pound Diverge would only drop down to 21.3 pounds, give or take. What is important is the extra two gears you gain going from 9 to 11 sp. Those two gears mean you’re jumping one or two teeth on the cassette instead of three or even four. Each tooth means about 5 rpm in cadence. Jumping five or ten rpm is reasonable. Fifteen or twenty, well now you’re likely to be in the wrong gear and struggling to spin too fast to keep up or push too hard on too heavy a gear. Pick your poison.
Take my Venge and put Sora R3000 on it, the bike is still only 17 pounds. Certainly no fatass, and definitely not enough weight to slow me down. That missing gear, though, dropping from 10 to 9sp… that would be a bit more problematic. Probably not insurmountable, but simply more work.
And therein lies the rub to Durianrider’s claims; how much more work can you handle before carbing the f*** up just won’t make up the difference?
Take my 15-3/4 pound carbon fiber everything, Ultegra equipped Venge with 38mm carbon fiber wheels, 25mm tires, and pit it against that 23 pound Sora equipped, alloy wheels, 28mm tires gravel bike and the detractors, the holes in the gearing, the extra weight, heavier wheels, and the aluminum frame become too much to overcome. No joke, the same ride on the Venge and the Diverge, you’re looking at another 50 watts to make the Diverge do the same thing as the Venge. Folks, it doesn’t matter how much “carb(ing) the f*** up” you do, you’re not making that up trying to hang with the 23-mph average gang.
I don’t know how big a percentage of riders I can whoop on my Venge, but I’ll guarantee you, it’s a much bigger chunk that I would on the Diverge.
Pass the bacon.
If you like my blog, you’ll LOVE this post. Read it, in all it’s freaking brilliance.
Power Line: The Week in Pictures: Thank God It’s Saturday Edition.
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They say to drink a lot of water, I just filter mine through ground coffee beans first… Thanks Again, California. You give New Meaning to the Phrase “Stick in the Mud”… Ya Dopes.
Trigger (heh) warning: I don’t particularly like California or Californians. I don’t like their arrogance or the fact that, somehow, they’ve come to rely on politicians who continually screw up all things good and happy, causing everyone to hate everyone else. This post will reflect that disdain for politicians, Californians and other general sticks in the mud. This post will not be my fit in my usual PG category posts. You have been trigger (heh) warned.
California is at it again, taking the best in life and exploiting it to remove all of the joy and happiness, bastardizing scientific research in the process… and all in the name of your safety. It’s kind of what California does (that gives me an idea, but we’ll get to that in a minute). In California, nobody can ever be happy, people must live on the screwed up edge of: “We must do more! We MUST remind the people of how necessary and brilliant we are!” I don’t like California because its idiocy tends to infect the rest of the US. When they threaten session, I say they can’t get there fast enough.
In fact, did you know the self-esteem movement, that which has likely led to more unmarriageable men than any other single “idea” in the history of humankind, can actually be traced back to California? Better, and not surprisingly, the science that was used to back up the need for changes to the education system was skewed and manipulated to support that lunacy.
Well, California is at it again, this time training their keen brand of idiocy and ignorance on coffee.
See, according to California’s “Council for Education and Research in Toxics (CERT).” coffee causes cancer (specifically a chemical created in the roasting process). Now, if you don’t know already, the study used to suggest that there may be a link to the chemical and cancer was conducted using the overdose method, where testers take the maximum tolerable amount of a chemical and inject it into a small animal. If the small animal gets cancer, bingo. The rub is that the small animal would have to inject something like the equivalent of 486 gallons of coffee a week into its body to cause cancer. Then you have to adjust that to human proportions… And folks, I’m not over exaggerating… I’m under exaggerating. In other words, there’s just no freaking way.
In fact, and let this sink in for just a second, The American Institute for Cancer Research lists coffee as a food that fights cancer. Allow me to channel Samuel L. Jackson for just a moment. Mother f***er, click on the mother****in’ “Research” tab. I’m not even going to copy and paste the quote, mother****er. Better, have a look at all the cancers coffee is shown to fight. Hey, here’s a mother****in’ idea, what does the World Health Organization say about coffee? Well, let’s see:
The World Health Organisation has cleared coffee of causing cancer
So, in other words, everyone else on the freaking planet has discovered that coffee is actually good for you, and in many cases decades ago, but that’s not good enough for the anti-science fun police in California. They’ve deemed it necessary to make convenience stores label coffee as a possible cause of cancer.
Here’s that idea I wrote of earlier…. How about a little truth in advertising, there California? I want the next commercial from the tourism board of California (whatever that bureaucracy is named) to include a disclaimer that while California may be one of the more beautiful places in America, its political apparatus foments hatred and division of its people by constantly attacking happiness itself and that human contact should be kept to a bare minimum lest you accidentally bump into one of those who support a life devoid of happiness and are infected with that resident’s penchant for supporting those attacks.