Saturday, August 30, 2014

Cyclist appreciation from a non-cyclist

Posted By on Sat, Aug 30, 2014 at 8:00 AM

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Full disclosure: I am NOT a cyclist. I’m pretty sure the title may have clued you in, but just in case you’re one of these, “Oh maybe she’s going somewhere witty with this” kind of people, let me just stop you and repeat: I do not ride bicycles. I mean, I know how to ride a bike but I was 13 when I learned — and that’s embarrassing enough as it is.

If you’re a local in Colorado Springs you may have heard about or attended the USA Pro Cycling Challenge last week, continuing Colorado’s cycling legacy. The event is considered one of the most important pro cycling races in the U.S. but while it was taking place, I was at my office physically holding my eyes open with my hands so I wouldn’t fall asleep on my desk.

Even if I'm not strapping on my own helmet tomorrow, I still believe that cyclists are exactly the kind of people that put the ‘RAD’ in Colorado and let me tell you why:

• They’re probably in better shape than you are so just go ahead and deal with it. Sure, you may work out and do yoga twice a week, but have you seen the thighs on these folks? They could crack a nut open with those golden muscles. Not only are they physically strong, they’re mentally able to ride up massive, steep hills, making them resilient and admirable. I have a 20-minute commute to work, and I see a cyclist every morning just killin’ it up a hill near my home — I’m tempted to high-five him for his determination.

• Cyclists are some of the nicest people I’ve ever met. It must be all of those endorphins, but they are genuinely friendly. Yes, I’ve encountered a cycling snob every now and then, but the majority of the community is so passionate about their lifestyle that they want to tell you all about it and convert you. Bicycles are for everyone, they tell me; people of all shapes and sizes can look and feel good on a bike, and you don’t have to be an experienced competitor to ride or to fit in.

• The cycling culture in the Springs is alive and growing — and it’s not just tricked-out hipster bikes, yo. Local folks ride their bikes to work, school, grocery stores or bars — you don’t have to replace your wardrobe with fox gear and spandex shorts.

• Cyclists have to deal with really shitty drivers. Granted, we all have to deal with bad drivers, but they have to fight for space on roads that are not really designed for them. We need a ceasefire in the war between drivers and cyclists because the truth is, hopping on a bike or getting behind the wheel of a car doesn’t make you a jerk one way or the other. I’ve seen awful behavior from motorists and cyclists alike (though, again, I think many cyclists are excellent people).

• Small accidents in a car are a huge inconvenience, but to a cyclist a small hit from a car can be fatal. All it really takes on our part is to remember to pay attention to our fit friends on the road. If you’re on a bike, please obey the traffic laws like everyone else — that means no more running red lights. Pedestrians, cyclists, motorists; we’re all stuck with each other trying to get from Point A to Point B, so let’s make it work.

• And finally, cyclists are saving the planet and doing us all a favor by biking everywhere. For each cyclist, there’s one fewer car merging into your lane on I-25, and they’re keeping our city in the “most fit” category of the country — even if you don’t fit the bill.

So bike on, my friends. I’ll be the girl on the road giving you plenty of space, and secretly cheering you on!

Brenda Figueroa-Gonzalez: Always belligerently classy, never under-opinionated. Usually roaming the Internet, and often found downtown, Brenda has returned to Colorado Springs after graduating from Adams State University with her Bachelors in Mass Communication. Follow on twitter @loveliestladyyy, chronicling random thoughts on TV shows or cute animals and her crossing into the deep underbelly of food, fashion and craft beer.

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