PAT HART got a new bike this year. It was not his plan, but last May while he was riding 23 miles an hour, a person opened a parked car door in front of him and caught his handlebar. He sustained a concussion, but recovered enough to ride another day on- a subsequently insurance provided- 16 pound Canyon bike with deep dish wheels, disc brakes and electronic shifting. But even with the new ride, he does not recommend the process involved in its acquisition.
Fifty year old Pat grew up in Pittsburg, Kansas and attended K-State. He admits to being a serious rider for about 20 years- serious enough to ride across France with friends on a self supported adventure. The seven to eight days of riding of 70- 80 mile days routed them across the Tourmalet with an appreciable amount of climbing and descending.
Pat rides- mostly on 32d street- sixteen miles from home in Denver to get tho the top of Lookout- and then return- about once a week. Ever since he experienced a high speed wobble while riding downhill here in Colorado, he has advocated that riders ‘…don’t follow each other too closely on the downhills…”. Good advice.
Start Thursday, 11/4/21, 9:40 AM, 45 degrees
Finish 11 AM, 54 degrees
Cyclists on descent 16
Vehicles on descent 4
Ratio of cyclists to vehicles 4 to 1
A related note not pertaining to Pat-
As I was descending today, I moved left while passing the pull-off between Windy Saddle and the ‘M’. (Ray Bolton used to call this area ’Turtle Rock’ thanks to a boulder by the guardrail). I usually swing a bit to the left here to stay away from the cars/pedestrians and a crack in the pavement in the middle of the road. Otherwise- with the exception of the hairpin turns when I do not anticipate following traffic- I always stay to the right in the downhill lane, never crossing the centerline and trying to be as careful of bike and car traffic as possible.
As I started to move back to the right, I caught the shadow of another cyclist passing me quickly on the right. I was surprised and change course instantly to avoid locking handlebars and running both of us into the guardrail. After my yelling that he had chosen to make ‘a bad move’, he looked back and took his right hand off his handlebar. I expected that he would react that it was my fault and give me the usual hand gesture that might signal our potential difference of viewpoint. Instead, as he approached another rider slowing to a stop on the right, he passed the other rider and continued to slow. Then he did something that I did not expect. He looked back as I approached and apologized. I was stunned again. I told him that the only reason that we did not crash was because I saw his shadow just in time. He apologized again, saying that he had hoped that I had heard his bell. I had not heard his bell as I was wearing a balaclava and had a 25 mph wind blowing by my covered ears. I thanked him for slowing and discussing the situation with me.
I believe that the behavior of this cyclist is generally the exception. He was pretty sure that he could pass me quickly and safely since he was descending so much faster than I was and he rang his bell. I was not checking my rear view mirror thanks to the left hand curve, road surface at that point, the parked cars and another car that was approaching in the other direction.
My point is that if a cyclist is approaching a slower rider from behind, it is the responsibility of the following rider to make sure that the leading rider knows that he/she is in proximity and wishes to pass- preferably on the left. I was surprised by the civility of this rider in this situation. It was very good to experience. We avoided a potential accident and sorted out our reactions to the moment without a heated confrontation at 25 miles an hour.
Thank you, whoever you are.