Letters From Dave: An Open Letter to Cyclists Too Good For Bike Paths

Letters From Dave:
An Open Letter To Cyclists Too Good For Bike Paths
By Dave Ferguson

I should be a bit more specific: this is an open letter in two parts.  The first part is for the be-spandexed cyclists who look like they got lost somewhere along the Tour de France way.  The second part is for the knock-kneed, slightly quivering, everyday cyclists that give mopeds a good name.

To the Tour de Francers:

I know you see the bike path.  We know you see the bike path.  You’re festooned in the spandex, you’re clearly sponsored by whatever logos are splashed all over your tights, and this outfit alone gives you that Spidey sense to detect all things cycling, such as bike paths.  Such as, for instance, the bike path immediately to your right.  The very same bike path that you’re too good for.  Because you’re on a “road bike.”

We get it, Lance: you’re serious.  You take biking very seriously.  It’s not an exercise for you, it’s a way of life.  You know what else is a way of life?  Death.  And rules.  Rules and death.  Listen Lance: the last I checked, the bike path and the road are made of the same stuff.  And as I’m positive you’ve noticed by now, not all of the roads on Martha’s Vineyard were made with bicycles in mind.  That’s why they made bike paths.  Are you following?

I’m also positive you’ve noticed by now those “Mopeds Are Dangerous” bumper stickers.  Why are mopeds dangerous, and why is most of the island in agreement on this consensus?  Because they’re on the same roads that cars are on, and they can waiver, just like bikes.  Oh, sorry: just like bicycles.  They go slower than cars, causing a whole bunch of traffic on a hyper-congested island, just like bikes.  And they’re on roads not designed for them, JUST LIKE BIKES.  But they made bike paths for you!  Notice the absence of moped paths. 

Sometimes I get behind you in my missile-on-wheels and you’re two abreast, chatting, and I know you’re aware of me because I see myself in your mirrors, yet you make no moves to hug the side of the road.  What can you be chatting about? “Hey, you hear that asshole behind us in his car, leaning on his horn?  What nerve.”  What nerve, indeed.      

I think you shirk the bike paths on purpose, which is why I resist the urge to “door” you every time I see that it was you causing that needless traffic.  Because, again, there’s a bike path right next to you, it’s growing moss, and frankly you’re making it feel bad because it doesn’t feel good enough for you.  You’re offending the bike paths!

To the Knock-Kneed, Slightly Quivering, Everyday Cyclists:

You have no excuse.  The bikes you’re riding look to be made for dirt.  They look to be made for off-roading in the canyons of the Rockies.  Your only excuse, which is wet-newspaper thin, is that you’re on a mental vacation. 

Being on an actual vacation doesn’t and shouldn’t suggest you be on a mental vacation.  Surely the conga line of white-knuckled drivers behind you suggests you might want to get out of the fucking way. And onto the BIKE PATH IMMEDIATELY TO YOUR RIGHT. 

It’s actually something to marvel at: every time I see one of you riding a bicycle with your head up your ass, I have to take a moment and admire your dexterity.  That’s some Cirque du Soleil shit right there.

Now I know the bike paths aren’t everywhere.  I’m not an idiot.  They’re don’t wind up the bends of Middle Road, or anywhere else up-island for that matter.  As beautiful as it is to bike up there, I think there ought to be a moratorium on cyclists up those parts.  Because this island doesn’t take kindly to human roadkill.  

“Share the road,” I hear you shouting.  “Get off the road,” you’ll hear me shouting.  I’d share the roads if they were designed to be shared; some look like they’re still designed for ox-wagons.  But we’re in missiles-on-wheels, and you are decidedly not.  It’s like that game, Who’d Win, Tiger or Bear?  Except it’s Tiger against Hedgehog. 

I’m saying all of this as an avid ex-biker.  I used to bike everywhere in Brooklyn, and I’d do it safely because the urban planners installed bike paths on most streets.  Sure I’d get doored, and shit happens when you share the road with cars.  I always thought I’d get hit by a car if I rode into Manhattan. So I stuck to Brooklyn. Until one day…after I knew I’d be leaving the city, I told myself it was all in my head. And within one minute of crossing the Williamsburg Bridge into Manhattan, boom, some Civic clips me as it’s turning onto Clinton Street.

I got right on my bike when I first moved to the island… and promptly got right back off because it was more dangerous than biking in Manhattan.  

I applaud you for biking.  Truly.  I salute you for making that choice to see the sights slowly, to breathe in the island’s rich honeysuckle at your leisure.  I admire you for honoring your DUI and not risking getting behind the wheel on a suspended license.  I like that you’re cutting down on this planet’s carbon dioxide too.  Just.  Get.  On.  The.  Fucking.  Bike.  Path.  Already.