Tuesday Coffee Talk - Do you know a Pathlete?

Photo from Flickr

I knew a pathlete once, I just graduated from college, moved to Boulder and was living the dream (with a day job though). I had a co-worker that would ride his mountain bike at lunch on the Boulder Creek path from East Boulder to Eben G Fine park and back... and he would time it. I told him once that he should consider riding on the roads which his reply was, "Are you crazy, it's dangerous on the roads!" Yet he would complain non-stop about runners and other users of the multi-path trail and crashed twice in 2 years as a result of his "rides". In short, he was an a$$hole of the trail or better known as a Pathlete

Originating from the word combination of bike path and athlete / triathlete, a PATHLETE is a cyclist who rockets down bike paths in full race gear, blowing by kids, old ladies, dogs, strollers.

The Pathlete does not actually however compete in organized activities, just a poser trying to impress the uneducated.

From Urban Dictionary and theirs more on that link

There are the obvious pathletes of the path and then the less suspecting ones like the highly skilled cyclists who feels very comfortable coasting at 15-20mph on their return flight from multi hill repeats in the mountains and probably IS pretty safe except the feeling they give the people they pass with 3 inches to spare. They too are pathletes as well.

Don't be a Pathlete and don't let friends ride like Pathletes too

News Item: 


Pathlete siting! Rally Sport kit w/yellow helmet d-nozzle

5/14 07:55, waiting with 4 women (I am not), one of which is my S.O., at Valmont and Foothills, we all proceed south, me in 2nd spot in single file due to oncoming riders, behind a lady on a cruiser bike, approaching rider starts to come past us when aero-bar'd pathlete flies past all of us.... Rally Sport kit with yellow helmet.

we take the right under Foothills and head west, he drops into the aerobars as I ride up next to him, congratulating him for being unsafe pathlete of the day. he sees nothing wrong with the pass or riding in his aerobars on a bike path then takes issue with my back-patting. i wished him 'good day'.

Response from RallySport Cycling

I did some probing and have been in contact with the “pathalete.” This rider is not even close to being a pathalete. In the initial incident, all riders were traveling at a slow rate of speed when he passed the line of four riders who were on the right side of the path as another rider was traveling towards them on the left side of the path. According to my friend and teammate, there was plenty of space at the time for all riders involved to proceed safely and (again) they were traveling at a slow rate of speed. Perhaps he should have waited until the oncoming rider went by before passing. But by no means did he blow by the line of four with disregard to all others involved as the person who reported this has implied. Also of note, the rider was not in his aerobars at the time of the incident. Later, when he was in his aerobars, he was on a straight section of path where there were no crowds of path users….still traveling at a slow speed (certainly slower than the rider who rode up to "talk" to him was). The accused was merely getting accustomed to his position in the aerobars and well aware that he would need to get out of the aero position if he encountered additional bike path users. Finally, when he was approached by the person who reported this, it was done so in a verbally accosted and aggressive manner. This manner included invading the rider’s personal space far more than anything that occurred during the initial incident. The alleged “pathalete” in question here is a good friend, a class act person, family man, and a solid and respectful rider. Had the person who reported this on this forum approached him a manner conducive to dialog, he would have discovered the same about this “pathalete.” We at RallySport Cycling take these accusations seriously and strive to be courteous and respectful riders and citizens of our community. However, in this instance, while one of the decisions made by this rider *may* have not been the best decision, we categorically reject the notion that he was riding with disregard to other path users. We recommend that if a person is going to take the time to approach someone with their differences, their willingness to listen should be equal to their desire to be heard. Only then will we be able to work out our differences and create a positive experience for everyone who enjoys the vast recreational resources on offer in our community.

Passing Safely

The key to avoiding the conflict described is to treat a multi-use path as a two-lane (one in each direction) route. Safe and considerate passing involves:

1) Waiting until there is no oncoming traffic

2) Announcing your pass (and the number in your group if more than one)

Too many motorists and bicyclists seem to refuse to slow down when coming upon slower moving traffic, resulting in some unsafe (and some illegal) passes.

And when we wear our team kits, we are a moving billboard for our sponsors. I try and remind myself to be extra courteous and conservation with my riding because I don't want to be the cause of communications like these or having to respond to my sponsors.

3 Feet to pass bikes by bikes

We expect cars to give us 3 feet to pass than why can't we expect cyclists to give other cyclists 3 feet to pass? If you commonly ride in packs than that question sounds silly but many riders don't feel comfortable if anyone is within 2-3 feet of their riding space. The rider in question might have feel extremely comfortable with their actions and felt them to be safe which is probably a reasonable to assume yet the group here might not have felt the same way.

So lets show some respect to riders and give them what we expect to be given to us by cars.

Just sayin'

You know what I hate? Pathrons. You know, those morons, dumber than cows, every time they blink they think it's a new day. How many days do you have to be passed by a few hundred cyclists before you realize that you're on a bike path and not a sidewalk, and that maybe walking to the side of the path instead of right down the middle is a good idea?

Don't even get me started on morons walking 3 or 4 abreast, or yakking on their phones, clueless to their surroundings.