The Chainlink

So the story starts on any random commute into or out of the loop on Milwaukee.   

A cyclist, or many cyclists, passes another rider that is moving at a casual rate, struggling to climb over a bridge, having difficulty with the wind, etc.   These same cyclists stop at a red light and the peloton starts to queue up forming up a bunch of riders.   Just before the light turns green said straggling rider catches up and sneaks by the group bunched up at the light to either run the red, sneak into the middle of a 6 way or just cut around the group of people waiting there and get to the front.

Maybe it’s a coincidence that the stragglers get to the light very close to when it goes green but it leads me to believe that they are experienced commuters that have a well -practiced understanding of the light’s timing.  What I don’t understand is how someone who has kind of experience thinks it’s a wise idea to pass riders at a red light that are obviously going faster.

Have any of you run into a similar situation?  I’m wondering what a good response would be.

Very often I’ll wait till traffic is clear and then pass, but this messes with my timing of the lights and normally results in the same cyclist catching and pulling a similar stunt at the next light.  If they are catching me every light it seems reasonable that I just go slower and enjoy the ride… but short of having this song and dance happen more than once how am I supposed to know the slow poke is timing lights?

I’ve started getting snarky after passing someone twice and then having them try to sneak around me on the right while stopped at a light asking, “Do you really need me to pass you again?”  I can understand going only as fast as the slowest rider in protected lanes but is that really my only alternative for dealing with this kind of rider?

Ideas? or provide a perspective from the leapfrogger? 

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What I don’t understand is how someone who has kind of experience thinks it’s a wise idea to pass riders at a red light that are obviously going faster.


The question can be similarly posed as  "Do you think it's wise to be racing on the road and getting stuck at every red light?" Everybody has their pace, and the person who's "leapfrogging" is very likely not racing you. It appears you have more of a competitive view of how bikes behave on the roads.

See Also:

Cat 6 racing;

Shoaling.

Everyone should cycle at their own, comfortable pace. If you have a demonstrated superior ability to time the traffic control devices, why are you stopped at the light when the obviously inferior rider arrives at the light just as it changes? If you viewed your commute more as a series of sprints or relays, you would relish the opportunity to vanquish the same inferior rider multiple times. Maybe the rider to whom you direct your snark is riding his or her own pace, and has no idea what you're talking about. Maybe you need to loosen your grip a tad and enjoy the ride.

When Milwaukee was on my route to and from work, I always thought it was odd how many riders I would see racing past me to wait at the light, when i had figured out the timing and would arrive as it turned green.  

That said it is rude to pass a group of cyclists who are stopped in front of you and poor decorum to make your way to the front of the light queue, I would simply slow down a little bit as I approached the light to stay behind the riders/cars in front of me, without losing all momentum. 

Last week on wells a young man cut in front of me at a red light, and I quickly passed him so that I could make the light at Chicago, he seemed agitated by this and started racing to keep up and pass me again, and then slowing down once in front of me.  Leapfrogging does tend to annoy me, it doesn't gain that person any real amount of time, and just makes passing them again annoying.

I've figured out most of the light timing on my commute and I simply try to follow the pace that matches that instead of worrying about what other riders are doing this way I get there after the leapfroggers and lose the slower riders before the next light. 

Take the cage driver out of a cage and they still think like a cage driver.

This is so similar to cars speeding just to get to the red light, and then everyone get there just a couple of seconds later just to repeat the event  another block ahead. I think you are overreacting. If you are that much faster than the other guy you should be able to pass the light before it turns red ;).

+1

Liz said:

When Milwaukee was on my route to and from work, I always thought it was odd how many riders I would see racing past me to wait at the light, when i had figured out the timing and would arrive as it turned green.  

That said it is rude to pass a group of cyclists who are stopped in front of you and poor decorum to make your way to the front of the light queue, I would simply slow down a little bit as I approached the light to stay behind the riders/cars in front of me, without losing all momentum. 

Last week on wells a young man cut in front of me at a red light, and I quickly passed him so that I could make the light at Chicago, he seemed agitated by this and started racing to keep up and pass me again, and then slowing down once in front of me.  Leapfrogging does tend to annoy me, it doesn't gain that person any real amount of time, and just makes passing them again annoying.

I've figured out most of the light timing on my commute and I simply try to follow the pace that matches that instead of worrying about what other riders are doing this way I get there after the leapfroggers and lose the slower riders before the next light. 

Tortoise vs hare. Who did you root for?
:)

Always the coyote. 

MagMileMarauder said:

Tortoise vs hare. Who did you root for?
:)

Is there any consequence to this? I'd like to think, being bikes, we can ease up on the fine-tuned decorum and get around. It's pretty easy for us to get around each other with a few minimal guidelines of passing on the left and keeping to the right and so on.

I don't think it's a case of racing on the road versus riding at one's own pace.  The issue is that both types of riders could comfortably ride at their own pace if the people riding at a slower pace didn't repeatedly place themselves in front of the people riding at a quicker pace. 

The reason it seems so odd to some is that the slower-paced riders wouldn't be inconvenienced in the slightest by letting the quicker-paced riders stay in front.  I know this because when I'm the slower-paced rider, I do not pass at the light, and I can continue to ride my own pace.

MagMileMarauder said:

What I don’t understand is how someone who has kind of experience thinks it’s a wise idea to pass riders at a red light that are obviously going faster.


The question can be similarly posed as  "Do you think it's wise to be racing on the road and getting stuck at every red light?" Everybody has their pace, and the person who's "leapfrogging" is very likely not racing you. It appears you have more of a competitive view of how bikes behave on the roads.

I find there are two kinds of riders who pass at an intersection when everyone is stopped, and they are often hard to tell between. One is as you say, someone who is timing the lights and often is able to get through a tight intersection because they are an experienced, regular rider. The other kind is someone who appears to be racing and often blasts past other riders stopped at a stoplight, only to be immediately passed by nearly everyone because they can't handle themselves on their bike. By the next light they are too far behind to get such good timing again.

This thread has once again illuminated the inherently persnickety nature of many who ride bikes.

I don't want bicyclists to increase their mode share.

I don't want protected bike lanes.

I miss Bike Winter.

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