The Chainlink

Rant/does anyone feel like this/halp advice plz

I've been in a terrible cycling funk. This year is the least I've ridden my bike within the past 10 years. I'm just so turned off from the misbehavior of drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians alike. My bikes sat for the majority of the summer, and it's so unlike me to not want to bike. Am I being defeated and weak, or am I being rational, that it's not worth biking if I don't feel confident about it? It sucks. I've been hit once. I've been in more close calls than I can remember, like many of us. My girlfriend was in a hit and run and ended up in the hospital a few years ago. So many cyclists are being killed or badly injured with no justice. Chicago kinda sucks in my perception. If you're still happy to ride, I'm jealous, I really envy your confidence.

I bought a new bike last week (mad props to Manuel at Johnny Sprockets!!!) and I was amazed by my level of excitement to have motivation to ride a lot again! Yet, I didn't ride it for a few days. Feeling silly about it, I kitted up and finally got on the bike and rode the LFP.

As soon as I get on, I end up trailing a slower cyclist hugging the left part of the lane, riding the middle line. He looks back for a second and seems to slow down waiting for me, and I call out "on your left!" telling him I'm about to pass. Makes sense, right?

Right after, he yells out, "IT'S ON YOUR RIGHT, ASSHOLE". wtf? Sure you can pass on the right when necessary, but there were too many pedestrians to do so safely. Since when do you by default pass on the right? I didn't even think at all and I flipped him the bird as an instant reaction. I consequently felt bad for doing that, but it was so natural haha. I guess I do that to drivers yelling profanity at me too easily, so as soon as I hear someone yell something negative at me while I was on the bike, the finger goes up. was to another cyclist. A meanie. A baddie. That sucked. I don't want to flip off other cyclists. Come on, dude. It's bad enough.

Since when is "on your right" the default? Is it just conditional, choosing which side to pass? "On your left", is standard for the most part, right? I'm just upset.

Chainlinkers, I'm so turned off from cycling here. Help. I want to love bikes again.


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I feel ya, Alex. And 100% in agreement, Tom. Though, it is hard to be cordial sometimes when people are riding/driving/parking in the bike lane like fools. I had a conversation about this with a cyclist friend the other day. We were coming up Milwaukee after a long ride along the lake and some old so-and-so was obliviously parked in the bike lane. As I approached I thought about how I would quickly mention he was parked in the bike lane and not in a spot, wanting to give him the benefit of the doubt in his ignorance. But then my friend sped up next to me and shouted curses at him. WTF?! It was annoying that he parked there, yes, but in my experience I've found you can't fight ignorance with anger because that person will just feel wronged and somewhat justified in their behavior.

All that being said, the advice is hard to enact at times, but then I just internally yell "SERENITY NOW!" and smile.

Agree with this; attempting to correct someone's  behavior is very difficult. First of all, no one wants to be corrected even if wrong. And then there may be circumstances that can't be prevented. Like the person in the bike lane was feeling sick, or had car trouble and waiting for help, or worse, an unmarked police car. However, beyond that, so many drivers ignore even the most important laws, that obstructing a bike lane is meaningless. Plus, they are in a car. What can you do? Take care of yourself first and consider you don't know what the real situation is and move so you yourself stay safe.

Totally been meaning to do this. I need to recommend the Morton Arboretum roads too. I'm fortunate enough to have a membership, but it's worth the money to ride them for a few hours.

Yes, get out of the city!  I ride mostly in the northern suburbs, and I'm always shocked at how uncivil it is to ride on, say, Lincoln or Milwaukee at rush hour.  I don't even try the LFP unless it's late on a Sunday or after it gets cold.  The problem isn't just biking.  The problem is also city traffic in general.  It's inhumane.

Riding bikes with cool people always makes riding bikes even better

yus. can we all just have the same commute plz all informed smart and practical cyclists plz. 

+1 I say hit up a group ride. A party on wheels with 3-1000 other cyclists makes me grin like a kid on Christmas morning and forget about whatever negativity I've been feeling. 

I feel your pain.  Just this year I myself was doored, jumped by a group of teenagers on a ten degree day in February, and accidentally locked up my brakes and went over my handlebars!  Then you read some of the nasty responses to all the cycling tragedies in the newspapers made by disgruntled motorists and general a-holes.  It really can be disheartening!  The lady that doored me was so nice afterwards and felt really bad about what she had done.  She called me to check on my injuries and left some cash in my mailbox to pay for my broken taillight.  It made me realize accidents happen and not everyone is a jerk.  Next time you ride the LFP try avoiding it until you get to Roosevelt rd, then go south.  I feel the section  south of Roosevelt is the best part and the least congested.  Try to stay positive!!!

now that is making positive of a very negative situation.

I agree with you that the southern half of the lfp is a lot more pleasant to ride. unfortunately I live pretty far up north on the trail so I only get there after sifting through all the crowds :)

i do have a Delta Airzound horn in the closet somewhere...

This is a great solution. I have two bells of different tone and people think two bikes are coming. They actually like the bells and I ring them when passing little children because they enjoy them. And it keeps you calm because you don't have to raise your voice which may launch you into a higher state of anxiety. As a courtesy, I ring no less than 30 feet upon overtaking them and they are no surprised at a last moment ring.

I've come across a handful of "slower cyclist[s] hugging the left part of the lane, riding the middle line" this year.  Even the occasional person who comes to a complete stop on an angle in the middle of the lane.  I imagine that they're the same clueless people who drive 50MPH in the left lane on the interstate.


I usually pass them on the left while politely saying, "Please stay to the right," but I'm not optimistic that this changes their behavior.  In rare cases (when I am penned into a PBL and like 10' of space emerges on the right) I will go ahead and pass them on the right.


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