The "Lone Wolf" Cyclist Vs. Society
What Cycling Is To Me
My obsession with cycling began when I was a child. I grew up in Quebec, a Canadian province that prides itself on being very pro-cycling. Quebec was one of the first of many places in the world to create an large infrastructure of safe paths and trails for bicycles within city centers and neighborhoods. The cycling associations and the government pushed cycling as a good way to become active and live a healthier lifestyle. Being a fat teenager, I took full advantage of this with a bike path right at my door. I was also fortunate enough to live near prime biking locales. waterfront, nature parks, it was just lovely! This is true to this day as I look out my window at the beautiful bike path right at my door.
I biked often, each time I would go further and further exploring new paths and far away neighborhoods. I discovered a cool water filtration plant that had a bike path/park running through it, I'd bomb through technical dirt trails I found in the most random places, I was completely hooked on cycling.
Over time cycling became something I would do to get away from it all. Not so bad considering some people would use cocaine or heroine.... I have my dad and my to thank for that. So cycling has become a form of escapism for me.
I briefly considered joining a cycling club. I gave it much thought and finally decided against it. I could not be confined to so many rules and schedules, it's not my type of cycling. I'm also not quite ready to get into the whole spandex biking shorts thing...
Inspired by "Inspired To Ride"
"Inspired To Ride," a Mike Dion documentary about the Trans-American bike race from Astoria, Oregon to Yorktown, Virginia, introduced "Ultra Cycling" to the mainstream.
Touted affectionately as "cycling for the crazies" by Ultra Cycling's goddess Juliana Burhing, Ultra cycling is an unsupported bike race over a very large distance. Usually spanning whole continents. There are no support vehicles, no support team, no prize money. Each cyclist runs on his-her own resources for the duration of the race. Bikepacking it the whole way, a finish is a true test of grit. Basically, the ultimate "lone-wolf" cyclists dream come true.
These riders inspired me to increase my ride distances, however, being married, with child and employed, I have no choice but to partially suppress my inner "crazy" and keep the rides under four hours.
R.I.P. Mike Hall
Shocking to me was the passing of Ultra Cycling God Mike Hall. In my eyes the ultimate "lone wolf" cyclist, I fully identified with his view on society and the struggles of mankind trying to conform to the world around him. I was a huge fan of his and was watching to see where he would take his cycling career.
I got news of his accident on April 1st. I was desperately hoping it was an April fools day prank, alas it was not. I was stunned to hear the news as was everyone who was touched by him. I've only seen him through screens and was struck by his awesomeness, I was equally impressed by his humble nature when he said: "at the end of the day, we're just riding bikes..."
Around the same time of his accident which involved him being struck by a car, i have read about an alarming number of similar situations where cyclists were struck by automobiles. I saw a YouTube video that showed a cyclist admittedly riding way to far from the curb being struck on-purpose by a car. The driver seemed to 'aim' his hit and then sped away as the cyclist was sent flying off of his bicycle. His riding partner caught the whole thing on tape with his helmet mounted camera.
I have found the video and linked it below. Even if the cyclist was riding to far to the middle of the lane.... does he deserve to be struck down by a 2000 pound hunk of metal? Sure, honk at him, yell out a few key words, but don't try to kill him! That's somebody's son, husband, father, brother.....
The driver in the video was apparently later found and charges were laid against him. How about we just try and not be shitty humans?
I have since started riding a lot more trails and way less roads. When I do ride on roads, I am very courteous, make all my stops, and I'm sure to leave cars and trucks as much space as I can. You'd be surprised how far a smile and a wave can go in keeping the trails and the roads civil, friendly, and safe.
Am I harsh in saying the driver of that car is a shitty human? Or does the cyclist, who is clearly to far out in the lane, deserve to die at the hands of the shitty human driver?
© 2017 Ardot