Are you practicing Conscious Cycling

While this article is a few years old the concept is timeless and after we received some reports from cyclists that this weekends famous Gateway Ride had and lot of poor behavior so we felt it is time to recycle

When you ride on that big group ride, how consciously aware are you to the image you create, the snapshot in others minds and the connectedness you have with the environment around you? Every time we throw a leg over the top tube we instantly become a representative of cycling and that representation can exponentially grow as the size of the group does. Much like the related current term of "conscious capitalism" one can think of this as "conscious cycling", specifically in regards to group rides as "enjoying the ride while being mindful of others within the group and those sharing the same resources as you". That statement can also apply to individual road riders, mountain bikers, commuters, and even those in others sports like running, rock climbing etc.

The Boulder County Sheriff's Office is looking for means to get the cycling community to "Self-Police" themselves while reaching out to cyclists to understand our side of the story, express problem areas, educate law breaking group rides and communicate the law without having to engage in strict enforcement. The Boulder County Department of Transportation is also engaged in an outreach program with the recent survey on motorist and cyclist tensions in the canyons. The Cyclist/Motorist Canyon Work Group was created by Boulder County Transportation and they really are looking for successful means to have cyclists and motorist exist in harmony on our roads.

Conscious Cycling

Hopefully, the majority of the readers of this site are already practicing "Conscious Cycling" and to some degree they Self-Police their peers in daily cycling activities, whether its riding solo or on a club ride. It's that 10% that refuses to be respectful and courteous to other road users and who tarnish the county-wide image of cyclists. It is also that 10% who spark the type of comments we've all heard at some time or another, "you aren't one of those guys flying down hwy 36 taking up the whole traffic lane are you?" Don't you get tired of trying to defend the image of group riding?

Self-policing is perhaps the best tool to help ensure we have access, safety, and fun as we ride with our peers. It will also require leaders willing to speak up and break the large group you're in into several smaller groups or say something when the group ride you are on fans out into the traffic lane and impedes the flow of traffic? That's exactly what needs to happen if the group rides of Boulder County are going to survive the ever growing use of roadways by both motorists and cyclists. The County and the Sheriff's Office can't attempt to educate cyclists and motorists forever. If we don't learn from that education, group rides like Gateway and Bustop could receive increased attention from the County, potentially causing them to disappear from Boulder County altogether. The time to clean up our act is now as group rides could be gone tomorrow.

Kris Thompson - Founder of 303Cycling by day and software engineer by day too. Find me at Google+

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Rules or Organization?

I like the idea of the above listed rules however, with a few changes. I feel like the major issue regarding large group rides is the saturday morning gateway ride heading north.

From my experience, driver frustration mainly stems from situations where the group has fanned out, un-organized, from white to yellow line (photo on the right up there). A simple rule of only double-file in areas with good visibility for drivers and single file in poor visibility (main example I can think of being the left turn heading n/nw before the left onto the road to carter lake, where there is no shoulder + a blind curve + 55mph speed limit).

The appearance of being organized and abiding by some rule, in my opinion, helps defuse at least half of the road rage scenarios.

A cap on # of riders will not work in a self-enforced scenario. No pushing the pace when there is a right to left wind will probably be a similar issue, sorry. Having the discipline to not fan out to the left and across the entire lane, that is something to agree to.

How easy would it be to abide by the no-more-than-2 rule? The 2 riders furthest to the right, or in line with the group, are acting correctly and vice versa. Might be a simple place to start, abide by it and call people out on it when they are just cruising on the side of the group, in the traffic lane.

take in the larger scope of it

At least put it in context before you judge. Although I am sure this could be prompted by previous rides there were 3 sheriff vehicles that pulled the ride over as we re-entered Lyons. They were waiting for us to teach us a lesson. When asked why we were being pulled over we were told it was because we were impeding traffic by going 5mph under the limit after the second loop before the sprint. I admit we were fanned out but that was the only instance up to that point in the ride, it was a lot of single file after HWY 36. And honestly too bad, my grandma drives 5 under all the time and never gets pulled over. And where are these guys when I'm driving up the canyon and some idiot is driving 10 under and stacking up traffic a dozen long? It is a jealousy issue or a boredom issue and although the ride has control issues it is far better then it has been in the past.

I agree with the other guy

I agree with the other guy who responded, if you were not there, don't pass judgement. I do not think the cops were sitting and waiting for us. I think they were working the large pot bust above Lyons and were all on their way back. That is why there were so many of them, why several of them were dressed in full military gear, and also whey the one SUV was pulling a trailor full of ATV's.

As for the ride I agree, it was a pretty normal ride, well under control, to the right side of the white line 90% of the time (all the way on 36 and in/through Lyons), and I never saw any cars get cut off.

The one sherrif had about 1 minute of things to say, but liked to hear himself talk and went on for well over 10 minutes. He said we were pulled over for impeeding traffic coming back into Lyons, then for speeding in Lyons. As was already pointed out it is hard to understand how we were legally impeeding traffic when we were going just under the speed limit. The same officer pulled us over for the same thing a month ago. I do not think the police know what to make of us when we are doing 30 MPH, in a 30 MPH zone.

I did love the irony, as the group came to a red light in Lyons and every one stopped. So as we were sitting there, stopped at the light, the 2 police SUV's felt the need to pull in front of us (as seen in the picture) and block the road. As if they were filling a COPS video and had just taken us down. Ah hello guys, we are already stopped, it is not like this is a drug bust. I also enjoyed it as the main guy threaten to impound all of our bikes, saying he did not care what they cost, and that he would have them all thrown on a police trailor, in a large pile, and he did not care about damage. Could you imagine a police office talking to a driver like that? I cannot.

All that being said we need to do a better job. There is way too much "group think" on that ride, it eventually is going to get someone killed, it makes us look bad, and some of it is illegal (like running stop signs coming out of both Fruite Loops).

Darwin, Aparently you are


Aparently you are not smart enought to get what I was saying, nor do you do the ride. Even us idiots on the BS ride do not ride out in traffic doing 60 MPH.

For the entire time of the ride we were to the right of the white line 90% of the ride (36 north and south, 66 east and west, south into Hygene). The other 10% was back roads like Apple Valley where there is no white line, as they are rural roads.

Greg Moody's Blog - The Idiots on Both Sides

Just saw this on Greg Moody's blog.

The Idiots on Both Sides
Posted by Greg_Moody

I tend to defend cyclists.

Not blindly, mind you, but in general.

I like to think that most of us out on two wheels, commuters, racers, Spandex Nation or just tryin' to get there, thank you, are generally polite on the road, tend to obey most (some, a few) of the rules of the road and keep our minds on what we're doing.

That is not, however, what I saw the other night.

A woman, no helmet, wearing big stereo headphones, was tooling south down Broadway at about 6th. She was in the left part of the far right lane. It wasn't good and it wasn't proper, but traffic could still get past her with little problem.

Then, without signal, warning or, it seems, thought on her part, she swerved hard left, made a looping turn into traffic, and started pedaling NORTH on Broadway against the evening traffic, completely oblivious to what she was doing or what was happening around her.

Cars braked. Horns honked. Hearts leapt into throats.

How she avoided hitting a car or being hit (and thus flattened) by a car I will never understand. I was sure I was there for Johnny-On-The-Spot-Action-Eyewitless-Live-News reporting.

But, no.

She pedaling off, blissfully unaware, into a warm Colorado evening.

Traffic returned to normal, as did blood pressures.

And, once again, ten to fifteen drivers were suddenly cursing, not only her, but every cyclist on the road.

Please. I know it's upsetting and happens far more often that any of us would hope. But, don't paint us all with the brush you use on her and her ilk.

Treat the majority of riders with some respect on the road, and the majority of cyclists will treat the majority of drivers with the same measure of respect in return.

There are idiots on both sides. Plenty to go around.

Let's all keep that in mind.