Sunday, March 18, 2007

Are you a cycling a-hole, or are you just dangerous?

Recently, I had the opportunity to ride with a bunch of absolute a-holes.  When I expressed my feelings to our team mailing list, there was concern that I was broad-brushing entire groups of people as ‘dangerous,’ while ignoring the fact that each person is an individual.  This got me to thinking…

Why would someone think I was implying 'dangerous,' when I did not use the word?  Can you be an a-hole without being dangerous and conversely, can you be dangerous without being an a-hole?  In my mind, the difference is in attitude.  To explain this, and to help us all come up with a common set of definitions, I decided to develop the a-hole test.  This way each person can find out if they are indeed an a-hole, fix themselves, and start anew. 

To take the test, answer ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ to each of these questions:

  1. While riding in a pack, do you swerve to avoid hitting Botts Dots, thus avoiding a potential flat tire and hence a dangerous situation?
  2. While riding in a pack, do you look to you left to indicate to the riders around you that you are moving left, and then proceed to move over?
  3. While riding in a two row paceline, instead of riding directly behind the rider in front of you, do you take advantage of even more energy savings by drafting between the two riders in front of you?
  4. If you are 20 miles from the race finish and someone is moving in front of you (effectively stealing your place in line), do you maintain your position by holding your line and forcing them to initiate the dangerous situation?
  5. In a fast Criterium, when the pace finally slows enough that you can start to think, do you float up to the faster riders at the front to position yourself for the final sprint.
  6. In any race, do you try to maintain your position near the front, but brake to avoid being at the front?

If you answered ‘Yes’ to any of the questions, then you likely care more about your position in the field, than you do the safety of others.  You therefore are officially an a-hole. 

Bonus: If you took the test and didn’t understand why your ‘Yes’ answer was indicative of inappropriate behavior, then you may not be an a-hole.  You may be just dangerous.  Congratulations.