A Brief Introduction

When I started this blog, I figured I should just check to make sure no one else had  beat me to what I feel is a clever name for a blog (I patted myself on the back).  So, I Googled “Self Righteous Cyclist,” and while I was happy to not find any self-proclaimed smugly moralistic cyclists, I was inundated with post about such cyclists.

One of the many, similarly-themed posts was entitled “Give Me a Fu**ing Break Crazy Cyclists.”  The author lamented that,  “too many cyclists are self righteous bastards” who torment pedestrians – a common chorus among the ambulatory public.

It’s no surprise to anyone who bikes in Boston that the year-to-year increase in the number of cyclists on our streets further ratchets up the car vs. bike and bike vs. pedestrian turf war.  The issue is that there just isn’t that much turf to go around.  Many of Boston’s streets were built before cars and bikes (and maybe even shoes) were invented.  Have you ever tried to bike through the North End when the restaurants are receiving their deliveries en masse?  Fuhgeddaboudit.  Luckily, the investment in cycling infrastructure has come quickly over the past three years.

Boston’s bike infrastructure is improving rapidly, but it’s still a jungle out there. Photo credit:moominmolly

But has it come too quickly?  I wouldn’t blame you for thinking so.  An uproar in Charlestown over the mysteriously-disappearing bike lanes has led some to question whether the rapid outlay of bike lanes is turning the non-riding public from cautiously indifferent to actively indignant.

A commenter on a Boston Globe article about possible new bike lanes on Mass Ave. in Arlington stated he/she didn’t want her beloved Mass Ave (who loves Mass Ave, anyway?), “sliced & diced by some feel-good numbskull ‘planners’ looking to appease a relative miniscule, yet incredibly squeaky, group of [cyclists].”  Other comments showed similar disdain for our squeaky minority.

So, we haven’t yet won the hearts of those who “share” the road with us, but have we done anything to deserve it?  I know anyone reading such a highbrow bike blog as this one obeys all traffic laws and never yells obscenities at motorists.  Sure.  But, for everyone of us I see, I see four red light-running, sidewalk terrorists.  (On a side note, these same people seem to have no regard for bike maintenance.  Perhaps they are the “squeaky” ones that commenter was talking about.)

So, as a collective bicycling mass, we aren’t necessarily earning any respect from those who could easily kill us with their 4,000+ pound SUV on the way to Starbucks.  However, we can’t just sit quietly, appeased by the current pro-bike administration.  Political tides change quickly, and we need to be better organized in our attempt to be seen as legitimate users of Bostons roads.  WHO’S WITH ME!?

Okay then.

I intend this blog to be a soapbox of sorts to share some thoughts, stories, ideas about riding bikes.  You didn’t expect me to talk about trampolines, did you?

So what does this have to do with being self righteous, you ask?

Well, now you’re just getting ahead of me.  This IS my first blog post.  Give me a few days and I’ll get back to you.

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9 Responses to A Brief Introduction

  1. Dooshie says:

    “1. Be thankful of the infrastructure we do have while advocating for more.”

    Seeing what Cambridge in particular has some up with for bicyclist infrastructure,
    being thankful only encourages poor engineering and design.
    Crap infrastructure is worthy of criticism and disdain.
    Good engineering and design can be approved of with thanks, and I await it.

    I’d much rather have any money spent on education and enforcement, primarily enforcement that requires cyclist training classes to be paid for and attended and passed by lawbreakers.

  2. Tea says:

    Thanks, for your reply.
    Yes the bike lanes are good and I have somewhat encouraged myself to meet, what the intial idea for bike lanes are . To intergrate all road users for the better. It’s still a long path (pardon the pun!) to aceptence to being accepted as an equal on the tarmac.
    The B.U Bridge section I stop always, because it’s pretty well laid out now. In the past I would have sneeked across, but to show my apprecation I stop on red. It’s my way of showing motorists that we’re willing to do our part.

    Fenway, I think you understand when i’m talking the road network in general. I’m a recreational urban ‘speedster’ and I also ride ‘european’ racer style. So my rides vary beween 20-30mile urban tear about, or 50-90 mile country roads. I’ve rode my bikes in many US states urban/rural. And about 8 Euro nations (west & east)urban/rural. When it comes down to it I still think i’m in charge of my well being, and I don’t trust a motor vehicle. Never. That’s my ‘principle’. Nothing sinister or anything just one of my biking commanments 😉
    So as S.R.C says
    Who’s with me.


  3. selfrighteous says:

    Tea and Fenway, thanks for your comments. There certainly has been an interesting shift in infrastructure focus over time – from designs that kept cyclists in mind to a singular focus on the automobile back to a growing focus on multimodal transportation (cars, bikes, transit, pedestrians).

    Tea, you are 100% right to say that bike lanes do not equate to a cultural shift toward acceptance of bicycles – the step that will really mean harmony between all road users. Does this mean that we shouldn’t ride our bikes until road sharing is part of the drivers ed curriculum? I hope not. My bikes would gather a lot of moss if this were the case.

    For now, we should:
    1. Be thankful of the infrastructure we do have while advocating for more.
    2. Press Mass Bike to advocate for changes to the drivers ed curriculum.
    3. Ride in such a way that endears us to those with whom we share the roads. Is this possible? I think so.

    Any other ideas?

  4. Fenway says:

    “Roads have been designed without the bicycle in mind.”

    Actually several major roads, parkways, and bridges designed in the 1880s-90s in Boston originally had bicycle lanes or paths included as part of their design. Look at Olmsted’s drawings for Commonwealth Avenue, Beacon Street, parts of the Emerald Necklace for examples. The Harvard bridge originally had dedicated bicycle lanes, as did other bridges, to keep riders from conflicting with street-car traffic and having accidents on the rails. The advent of bicycles drove (no pun intended) many of the changes to roadway design which became the defacto standards for automobiles only a few years later.

  5. Sr M-S says:

    Love it. Look forward to more!

  6. Tea says:

    Roads are not safe for bicyclists. Roads have been designed without the bicycle in mind. Why should bicyclists, obey laws designed for the safety of ‘motor’ vehicles when they in fact create a hazard to bicyclists? Point in being, roads and the road network have never been built with bicyclists ‘safety’ taken into consideration???
    Painting a few 36 inch lines on the roads now, isn’t going to cut it for me. Untill we have a systematic overhaul of the road infrastructue, driver ‘ed’ and driving test standars improved up to an internationaly higher aceptable level. The cyclist is ‘fodder’ for bad drivers driving habits.
    Aggressive cyclists didn’t just wake up and say to themselves i’m going to be a badass today??? It’s purely reactionary to the ‘motor’ vehicle (non-bicycle) road network and driving ‘test’ standard requirements, which again ,are beneath internationaly reconized levels. Of course stopping at certain junctions is advised. Common sence. Others not so much. Common sence. Stop,Look,Listen.
    If you wish to comply 100% with a network that kills 30,000 people every year, go ahead and put your safety as a rider, in the hands of (under-eduacted) drivers around you that’s your choice. Me? I’ll make my decisions while riding and assessing the situation during the ride(s).
    This is not to say I don’t ride with due care. I do. But, I know who influences my decisions on a bicycle.


  7. leo says:

    yay! more self-righteousness, please kthx

  8. Mrm says:

    Nice work!

Comments are closed.