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After Byron’s Commuter Challenge post on Monday, it was funny to see an answer from the commuters Tuesday, on the BBC website, no less:
It’s by a London commuter who has ditched the Tube in favor of cycling since the July 7 terrorist attacks in London.
He outlines the standard complaints (rude drivers, parked cars, “the thwack of a poorly-applied England flag as a car overtakes”) and cops to occasional misbehavior by riders, before blowing the lid off the “Great Race.”
The small number of cyclists who are in the know duel with great nonchalance and no acknowledgement of their opponent. The trick is to cycle at maximum speed until the point of overtaking, and then sit back in the saddle as you pass, looking straight ahead as if the mere breeze is carrying you forward. I even have a scoring system which gives double marks for passing anyone wearing Lycra. Overtaking a bike courier would theoretically score five, but I have never done it.
I’m pretty comfortable at the back of the pack, but even I would get demoralized if I was passed by a guy in a suit on a mountain bike.
Best reader reply is from “Simon:” “The first rule of The Great Race is that you never mention The Great Race.”
This time of year, with le Tour on, STP coming up, and the nice weather, more commuters and enthusiasts are out riding. I call it the commuter challenge when seemingly passive, recreational/commuting cyclists don’t like to be passed or chase you down, pass you, and want to compete across the bridge, up the hill, and down the bike path.
I think it’s the natural competitive spirit we all have, the bike brings it out, and it’s intensified when I’m kitted up in team gear. No team gear and the commuters don’t seem to care, but with the kit on it’s commuter challenge time. Pam reports the same thing when she rides into work and we’ve both decided to just sit on when a commuter challenge goes down, let that commuter pull you home or to work, and enjoy the ride.
Looking for more news about the le Tour scandal on BBC Sport, I found that British Cycling has launched Everyday Cycling, a “brand new initiative that aims to appeal to the broad spectrum of leisure cyclists, from commuters and family cyclists through to mountain bikers and sportive riders.” Sounds just like Bike Hugger! In the states, we’ve got the League of American Cyclists “working for a bicycle friendly america” and in Seattle the Cascade Bicycle Club that do an amazing amount of work including the Seattle to Portland ride.
Also see Cycling for Health, a program sponsored by Group Health to get people out on their bikes hopefully everyday.