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. But...it 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 agree completely, Anne. 

A priority for me would be for us as cyclists to find a peaceful common space (or path, I guess I should say) with public transit riders and pedestrians. And I seek to be tolerant of motorists when they cut me off, get too close, even bump into me. I make mistakes too, and I would hope that motorists would be charitable toward me in return. Sometimes they are.

Depending on the day of the week & time the LFP can be really frustrating to ride.  A few Sundays ago I almost crashed into another biker when I swerved to avoid broken concrete and he didn't announce he was trying to pass me.  I got off the LFP and rode to parts of the city I never go to.  I ended up having a good time exploring the city.  So maybe taking new paths would help with your enjoyment?

Once or twice I've had people on Divvy bikes pass me on the right.  I think a lot of it is people who are new to city biking and don't really know common procedures.  I've gotten upset at them, but I try to remind myself that I was new to biking once as well.

Rant alert. Other bikers are way more dangerous than vehicles.

Here's a suggestion to pick up your spirits. While I grew up in Chicago and cycled across the city in the '70s when the ecology movement first launched, I'm now in the 'burbs. But I return often and have ridden everywhere in the city and from the 'burbs down and back. So take your bike, put it on the Union Pacific West Line and go out to Lombard on a early morning. Two blocks south from the station is the Illinois Prairie path that continues to the Fox River. You'll love the ease of riding with few cars and lots of country to see especially past Wheaton. Hopefully you will gain new enjoyment. Another thing is to ride your bike like those of us that have motorcycles do - defensive to the max. Motorcycling requires an infinite amount of care to be safe. You can't argue with people nor cars or trucks. Simply stay out of the way, avoid the obstacles and crazies, and go on.

The LFT can be trying beyond belief when people are walking in groups, riding three-abreast, etc., but you are never supposed to pass on the right.

You are correct, both in terms of the other cyclist having that backwards, and also because he shouldn't be riding down the middle of the lane in the first place.

Unfortunately there really is nothing inherent about riding a bike as regards having common sense and knowing basic etiquette.


Those signs make perfect sense to me and lay everything out really clearly.  If everyone followed those rules, I'd actually consider riding north on the LFP again one day.  Probably after that flyover is completed, though.

It's a crying shame the sign wasn't more prominent (and everywhere), I think it got moved, or if I'm just missing it due to the new layout/beach creation at the old Fullerton rocks.

But at the very least it does provide evidence that the Park District does (or did!) support common sense etiquette.

it's never been "on your right," that's ridiculous 

I usually say "passing on your left" just to at least put some form of verb on there...I always found simply "On your left!" to be snooty and holier-than-thou. Why? I honestly don't know!


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