Monday, June 9, 2008

A Rider's thoughts on the River Ride


It's 27 hours after I finished my 50 mile jaunt next to the Los Angeles River and I still feel like crap. My legs feel like they're about to fall off and no matter how much water I drink I feel like every sip is the first one I've ever taken.

All that being said, I'm psyched I actually finished the ride. My fears at around the 35 mile marker that nobody would ever find my body seem a little dramatic now. I'm sure Marybeth would have come looking for me...what would she do with all her freetime without grammar checking Streetsblog for me?

That being said, I noticed a definite difference between this ride and other's I've been on, and I think the difference was in the kind of riders attracted to the River Ride versus the Ridazz attracted to a Critical Mass. First off, people stopped for all the lights, even if there were no cars. If a light turned green and red fast enough that the whole group didn't get through, people stopped and waited for the next light.

Now that may sound like a good thing, and it is, but the overall mood was a lot different. There was no hooting and hollering around bridges. If I saw a cyclist pulled over and asked if they were ok, they seemed surprised that anyone gave a damm. When I pulled over in an attempt to rehydrate, about thirty cyclists passed me by and only one asked if I was ok.

Worst of all, the army of spandex warriors (I don't think I've seen that much spandex since my Dad took me to a WWF event when I was 10. Randy "Macho Man" Savage FTW!) seemed more concerned with their times and getting through the race as quickly as possible rather than just enjoying the ride and the camaraderie they should have felt with their fellow cyclists.

Now there were plenty of weekend bike riders that were good people and considerate bikers. There was one lady who I rode within 300 meters for about the last 20 miles who was a very nice rider and I enjoyed chatting with her immensely, but every time I heard someone make a bad comment about the city or another rider it was always a white person wearing a lot of spandex.

Worst of all, was the attitude shown by a very, very small group that refused to slow down around the pit stops (would that ruin their time or something?) I saw one person just barrel through a pit stop ringing his bell and shouting at everyone. Another person almost slammed into me after swerving around another person crossing the trail while I crossed the bike path back to my bike at the 25 mile marker. Silly me for assuming he would slow down for the pedestrian right in front of him instead of swerving around him and trying to hit me instead of just slowing down. I bet he acts the same way behind the wheel of his SUV/Sports car.

Give me the Ridazz anyday.

In closing, the River Ride was great. It was well planned, well executed and was a day of triumph for me personally. Assuming I'm not permanently crippled, I look forward to doing it again next year. However, it also showed me what a long way we have to go as a bike community before we'll see the kinds of change in the world for which we're all working. If we can't even be polite to each other at a fundraiser for LA's premier advocacy group, what hope do we have of ever unifying behind a single message?

1 comment:

Rachel Gwaltney said...

Congratulations on your ride, Damien! I'm in awe!