Sunday, October 18

Sensing a Great Disturbance in THE FORCE

BABBLE met and had a good time yesterday. I was a little concerned ahead of time that we might have bike anarchy with a group that had never ridden together before, but the riding was, by and large, safe & legal, and got more so as the ride progressed. There will be various good posts describing BABBLE. There're links to known ones at the bottom of this post and I'll update to add more later. THIS post is a little different. In a previous post, shown here, I noted I tend to only talk about "bike culture" when I haven't been riding enough, instead relying on THE FORCE. Well, there's a disturbance in the force. Perhaps it's been caused by all the rain we've had lately, but it's there. You don't want to read about "bike culture," skip to one of the links at the end.

Fixed Gear Riding
Two things struck me about the BABBLE meeting that are the subject of this post. First, I came away with a greater respect for fixed gear riders and the way they ride. Considering that most have never had the opportunity to take a LAB traffic course, and some of the drills in Traffic 101 are inappropriate for fixed gear, (don't try THIS on a fixie) they ride cleanly and well. Actually, they make club road riders look pathetic. Turn signals even, though I think I was the only one doing stop signals in the Whareagle-approved manner. They might not be perfect on the "two abreast" thing but that's awkward anyway. How, if you're a cyclist, exactly do you legally pass cyclists already riding two abreast? The fixed guys all had lights suitable for night operation. I'm not sure why, but they did seem to think riding in Fort Worth was nicer than Dallas. Maybe it was the combination of lovely weather and Saturday's typically light traffic. I don't think the second item, discussed below, hurt either.

Bicycle Police
A second thing that struck me SHOULD have been pretty obvious, though it had never occurred to me. At the close of our get together, we were chatting with Fort Worth bicycle police. As one said, "if you want to be in the bicycle unit, you have to like bikes." Duh - light bulb dimly glows! As I ponder it, I imagine cops working in the motorcycle unit like motorcycles and horse police tend to be equine fanciers. I'm not sure how far to take that - probably NOT into the drug & vice units. But the guys who stay in the bicycle unit for any time, probably have a level of understanding of what it takes to safely ride and bicycle law that is FAR beyond your typical cop. Because they care.

RatTrap Press - Good Pictures and narrative here - including shots of those lovely fixed gear machines
Pondero - Covered the whole palette of the ride here - my favorite was Rose trying out the trike
Fixed Dallas - Twitter here - the Bike Cops made an impression on them as well
Onespeeddallas - Twitter here - some good pictures
fixedminusdicks - Twitter here - more pictures
Suburban Assault - Multimode from Richardson to the ride - right through the UT/OU crowd
GreenComotion - Another Rantwick sighting at the restaurant - he's got the best restaurant shots of anyone
Doohickie - The DEFINITIVE Rantwick sighting site - and photographic proof of cyclists stopping at a light, even if a bit bunched up.


Keri said...

That sounds like so much fun! I wish I coulda been there.

Steve A said...

I actually saw ChipSeal ride in a bike lane! I was behind him so he didn't see me do the same. We both got over it pretty quickly.

Rat Trap Press said...

I did hear lots of good communication coming from the fixed gear group, although I think everybody was doing their best to look out for one another.

I need to ride with you serious commuters through real traffic one of these days.

ChipSeal said...

Yeah, but that was before it turned into a door zone bike lane! ;)

Also (to get the stuff about me out of the way. Everyone knows how I don't like talking about myself!) you may note that any part of my helmet that appears to be white is actually 3M reflective tape.

I used to think of fixed and single speed folks were hipsters, poseurs, like club riders but in a different ego stroking group. All of those notions were found to be false with this fine group that joined us.

In fact, it was a delight to have so many different expressions of the joy of cycling in one group. The only way it could have been more eclectic was if Rantwick were there.

I am glad I came. (And made everyone else seem good looking by the contrast!)

Pondero said...

Very interesting observations, Steve. Kinda messes with your head (in a good way), doesn't it?

Next time, I need to figure out how to get there without driving my truck.

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