Monday, September 25, 2017

Stating Your Preference

As you know, I am a staunch opponent of the phrase "On your left!"  I even wrote a column for Outside about it.  Plus, when the New York Cycling Club naively asked me to speak at their monthly meeting the other day I hijacked the entire event and harangued them at length on the subject of the hated phrase.

Clearly, the complete elimination of "On your left!" from the cycling lexicon has become my white windmill.

Nevertheless, even I must admit that if you cannot occasionally yield then you are destined to crack, and that true strength of character requires you to maintain a state of lateral stiffness and vertical compliance at all times.  Consider this past weekend, when I was riding along the dirt trail I frequent:


It wasn't the above section, and of course the leaves are still on the trees, but you get the idea.

Anyway, this trail runs through various suburban neighborhoods whose neighborhoods take to it in fairly significant numbers on the weekends.  This affords me many opportunities to experiment with my passing technique, and what I generally do is tailor my approach based on the people and the circumstances.  Sometimes a verbal warning is best, other times a little ratcheting of the freewheel works better, and still other times it's best to say nothing at all.  And I'm please to say I've reached a point where I can usually overtake people with smiles and waves all around--most crucially without uttering the hated phrase.

Alas, this was not the case when I encountered an older gentleman walking with some sort of wooden stick or handle across his back and wedged in the crook of his arms.  (There is a distinct subset of suburban walker who must always walk with some sort of stick.)  Assessing the situation, I deemed it best to silently go around him, and did so giving him a wide berth.

"On your left!," he called after me condescendingly.

I stopped and accounted for myself.  I told him that I hate saying on your left, and that when I'm being passed I hate hearing on your left.  I further explained that when you do say "On your left!" often people abruptly turn left right into your path.  I finally pointed out that I'd given him plenty of room, and passed very slowly, and that I always make a point of doing so.

Nevertheless, it was clear he felt deprived of hearing not only a warning of some kind, but specifically those three words.

Hey, some people also like stiletto heels ground into their genitals, so go figure.

In any case, given that there are in fact people who not only want a verbal warning but specifically want to hear "On your left!," I think what needs to happen now is that everybody must wear a t-shirt or jersey emblazoned with their preference on the back.  Mine, for example, would read thusly:


Yours might say something like this:


As for people like the gentleman I upset, I've got something for them too:


Obviously when you're ordering you'll be able to add custom instructions of your choosing.

Problem solved.

Speaking of the scranus, we've seen the new heat-moldable shoes, but meet the new heat-moldable saddle:


When a Reform saddle is plugged in with a USB cable, the segments underneath the sit bones heat up. Next, the rider pedals their bike on a trainer for a few minutes in their normal riding position. The last step is to climb off and let the saddle cool and form.

And yes, that's Landyachtz the skateboard company, whose longboards you'll find under the feet of many a manbun-sporting longboard bro:


But if you think that means they don't know anything about The Crabon then think again:


That's $748 just for the deck, so just around a hundred bucks shy of that nice steel Milwaukee frame I've been riding:


So basically between crabon skateboards and wooden bikes it seems we're in the midst of a complete bike/skateboard inversion:


And no, I haven't heard a peep since August about that Renovo I'm supposed to be "testing," so I guess my dreams of woodgrain glory have been consigned to the wood chipper once and for all.



Sagan is the first man to win three in a row, as well as being the youngest to achieve a hat-trick, and his photo-finish victory in Bergen was not just an achievement for the ages, but a reminder of why Sagan is such an important figure in cycling.

But after winning the rainbow jersey yet again, will an imminent change in the Slovakian’s personal circumstances dull his famously competitive instincts?

The answer to that question is obviously no, because once that baby comes he'll be out on the bike as much as possible.

49 comments:

Old Timer said...

Huh? What?

Lieutenant Oblivious said...

Podio?

Serial Retrogrouch said...

...did i podio? no way to know

Lieutenant Oblivious said...

Landyachtz? I'm a bit dyslexic and had to go back, at first I thought it said Ladyznatch.

NYCHighwheeler said...

Westchester Mountain Bike Association
5th Annual - Eat Drink and Ride Event
Sprain Ridge Park
Sunday Oct 8th, 9am - 3pm
FREE BBQ and BEER!

streepo said...

scranus

N/A said...

If you keep your scranus toasty, you can comfortably ride into the most frigid of temperatures.

Lizanne Wilmot said...

Podium!

Lizanne Wilmot said...

Top 10

Anonymous said...

On your right!

Cat 404 e-Racer said...

Can you get on a Gee-Hod about enema bags that ride paths with the light bars they've stolen off jacked-up pickups?

I don't like those people.

Serial Retrogrouch said...

...hey Old Timer, did you not see my preference for passing me on the back of my t-shirt?

"DO A ROMANIAN GYPSY FOLK DANCE BIT BEFORE PASSING"

Anonymous said...

What happened to Friday's Outside magazine post? Did you offend someone there?

Grump said...

My method of passing depends on who I'm passing and where I an riding. When I'm on the road, I just pass, and then add "Morning", or "Hi". On the three mile section of bike path that takes me to my door, it will depend on the "seriousness" of the person being passed. Another person who is moving along at a good clip (or on a good bike), or a runner, I'll do the same (Say "Hi" or something as I pass). If it's a person weaving along at 10mph, I'll say "passing". If it's three jerks walking side by side, with headphones on, I'll say "Passing on your left"....If they can't hear because of their headphones, I'll pass them as close as I can get to put the fear of god into them.

Anonymous said...

I prefer "Ahoy. Transit on your port stern. Stand on!"

BikeSnobNYC said...

Anonymous 2:27pm,

Should be up in the not-too-distant future, I will beat everyone over the head with it when it is.

--Wildcat Etc.

bad boy of the south said...

Gee golly golly gosh,snobbie! I was going to mention Sagan .not Carl,but Peter.ya beat me to it.that makes ya the snob .

Lieutenant Oblivious said...

Friday we had a couple of young whippersnappers in Rapha CC kit pass us going up the hill without saying a word. I told them "You go ahead, we did a double century yesterday!" which elicted a chuckle from them. Saturday I looked over my shoulder before making a left turn to see if it was clear behind me. Without consciously compensating for my head turn, I naturally veered leftward and almost took out the droppee who was just then silently passing me very closely on my left as he was trying to catch up to the group who had passed me several minutes ago.

Freddy Murcks said...

My only gripe with 'on your left' is that I have a really hard time remembering right from left under the best of circumstances and I am even worse under pressure. If someone behind me shouts 'on your left' I am just as likely to ride straight into their path as I am to yield - not because I am a contrarian like Snobby, but because I am a fully fledged, apparently reasonably intelligent adult who really struggles with right and left. #thestruggleisreal

bad boy of the south said...

Unless you went to school in Ithaca . nevermind

82medici said...

Freddy,

I remember a loooong time ago, there were a couple of members of my HS soccer team to whom we issued different colored socks, to help them distinguish their right from their left. On the bike i guess the dreaded phrase would then be "Passing, blue!" or "Passing, red!" as appropriate.

Winky said...

I just won't say "on your left". I hate saying it, and I hate hearing it. I was scolded twice in short order in one ride by cyclists I had just safely overtaken. I slowed and sought more detail regarding their views. They each vigorously advised me that saying "on your left" was appropriate, polite, necessary and safe. I contemplated this through the remainder of my ride and resolved to get a bell. My wife (somewhat insightfully, I might add) informed me that the reason that I hate "on your left" is that I simply hate being overtaken. Others whose opinions I have sought are fans of being warned by overtaking cyclists. I fear I am perhaps in the minority.

Anyway, when my bell comes, all will cower in the magical path clearing abilities of its sonorous emissions. Or else.

Serial Retrogrouch said...

...I'm fully on board with banning the silly commie phrase. What really irks me is when I'm on the Manhattan or Williamsburg bridge, or any two-way cycle path, and a cyclist will decide to pass me, go into the passing lane, and still feel the need to say 'on your left'.

...for me, it's an insult in that situation. The cyclist is basically saying, you're an idiot and I can't trust you to stay in the lane. It's as insulting as when a driver passes you on a one-way road (where passing is allowed) and honks at you to warn you that he's passing.

...the answer in both situation above is an emphatic, SHUT THE FUCK UP AND PASS ALREADY.

Another Option said...

I'm slow and get passed a lot and prefer being passed without comment. I was passed today by someone playing music, probably their smartphone on speaker (bluetooth), and that was pleasant, better than a bell.

I'm glad the comments are moderated.

Chazu said...

What comes after the man bun?

The "He-Hive"

Neither is compatible with bicycling helmets.

Anonymous said...

not sure where the average cyclist stands on the political bell curve but at my age i find myself saving my breath as much as possible.

Anonymous said...

A Fredly lack of sense of direction here:

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-birmingham-41393230

Anonymous said...

first off, many cyclists are really annoying dorks and completely lack self-awareness. Present company excluded of course. Also, they love doing call outs and hand signals. 99% of the time unnecessary and therefore obnoxious. Please stop doing it. Of course there are those (none of us of course) who hate to be passed by another cyclist under any circumstances, they take it somehow as a personal affront, rather than that other cyclist is simply riding faster than they are at that moment. Those types will strike out at a passing cyclist for any reason, with failing to say "on your left" as good as any. To those people, I would just say get a life and some self perspective.

Anonymous said...

I'm generally okay with an "on your left" even if not warranted by the circumstances. I don't like it when it is barked like a command and tone is more like "get the fuck out of my way". Please don't do that. You know who you are.

Aaron Tsuru said...

I really don't see what the big deal is...

If you come up on someone and they are riding normal and everything's dandy, just pass.
If they are riding a little uneven or uncertain and you want to make your presence known, a light ding-ding on your bell.
If circumstances look a little more sketch and you don't know what they hell they are doing, a nice ding-ding & "passing on your left" is fine. Don't be mean or aggressive about, carry a nice tone.

If they look a bit nonplussed, drop a thank you as you pass by.

But I guess none of this makes for a good blog post.

John said...

I much prefer a warning of some sort - I'd rather hear 'Good Morning!' but 'on your left' is well understood and perfectly acceptable on Fredly byways. Shouting ON YOUR LEFT at a 5 year old, a lady with a baby jogger or fitness walkers is very likely to lead to disaster and I agree with you there Snobby. If I am forced onto multiuse paths crowded with non-cyclists I pass at walking speed expecting someone to recreate a Laurel & Hardy scene swinging a 2x4 around at all times and scurry off to the blessed asphalt ASAP.

Victor Kaminski said...

vsk said ...

I answer back "on your right!"

I am fat and slow and they need to go way left to pass me. Skinny fuckers!!

vsk

wishiwasmerckx said...

When passing whilst astride my bicycle on the multi-use path, I usually ask "On belay?"

To which I usually receive the appropriate response " Belay is on."

I follow up with "May I climb?"

Which invariably results in "You may climb."

Both parties being satisfied, I then continue on my way.

Dooth said...

Oui, it's a bit gauche to say "on your left."

Holy Roller said...

Sometimes I wonder, if Jesus was doing the overtaking, what would He say?

BamaPhred said...

I have a rampaging African bull elephant that clears the road. If the trumpeting blast doesn't get you out of the way then the 6 tons of Loxodonta will. As a bonus, I finally have something big enough to draft behind. Lol, it's all lies. Everyone passes me. I've never heard on your left. But I have heard "Get off the road" more than I care.

der blaue Reiter said...

Holy Roller, Jesus was known to gently intone, "He who is first shall be last..." Before snarling, "So i guess I LOSE!" and dropping the hammer. At least, that's what i was raised to believe.

Unknown said...

When I come up behind people I always say in my friendliest voice 'hi I'm coming up behind you' and have never had anything but a turn and smile as they move to the right, and some hi's.

dop said...

I'm going to guess that the old man and the stick* was non-plussed.



* I think he's compensating for something

Spokey said...

comment 1 (in order of unimportance)

i'd be a tad worried about that usb saddle. usb doesn't handle a lot of current so i'm thinking it doesn't take much heat to soften that saddle. so on a hot day like the recent ones, i'm kind of afraid that it start melting in the middle of my ride and i'll end up with a seatpost up my ass.

2 - i still don't get how i'm supposed to pass in this situation. i frequently ride through a local park for about 3 miles. i often encounter a group of 2-4 ahead strolling along at at least 1/2 mph and taking up the full path width. there is mostly heavy brush on either side preventing an off path pass. so how do i pass in that situation?

blunchbelly said...

When passing on a multiuse path slowing down and speaking pleasantly (if required or in the mood) seems to work just fine. Once an easily offended woman screamed that I almost ran her down, at about 6 mph, and a warning was required. I responded that in 50+ yr. on a bike I've never hit anyone and why did she think she was so special as to be the first? When feeling curmudgeonly I may respond to unnecessary "on your lefts" with the following: that's right where I want you; of course you are; where else would you be? If pressed with two OYL's, for not responding I may break out the who cares where you are?

janinedm said...

I don't mind being passed by actual fast people. They do it quickly and quietly with nary an "on your left" in sight. They don't announce their intentions; they just do it. What bothers me are slow people, who are apparently affronted that pass them and then have to pass me which can only be achieved by blowing through pedestrian-filled intersections while I'm stopped and I'm left to take all of the pedestrians' nasty looks directed at "you bikers." This isn't very kind to say and not very inclusive, but I wish these out of shape jokes would accept they suck. What in the blazes are they proving? "Hey, when I mash out of the saddle in my Cannonade, I can catch up to a 39 year old lady on an upright bike when she stops! I'm going to go get a racing card!" Whoopty do, actual fast people pass me every day and they don't have to harass pedestrians to do it. Not for nothing, if they spent some time accelerating out of a full stop, they'd probably be strong enough to actually drop me, seeing as their bikes weigh less than my wheel set. But for real, I think they actually think it's cool how "well" they weave through a knot of pedestrians. Since they don't stop, they can't see the range of responses which range from "I'm going to ignore this because I'm a New Yorker" to being (in my opinion, justifiably) pissed off. ...I had a very annoying commute today some guy with board shorts and knees practically perpendicular to the frame rode like an asshole for blocks. Eventually he blew through 125th street (like that guy that got killed in the video last week), so yeah. Worth it. Consider this lady impressed with his fitness.

Joe said...

Please make BSNYC jerseys that say "Shut the fuck up and pass already" in large letters on the back. PLEASE. I pray it will make that stupid yellow pass with 3 feet jersey extinct.

Phlub-A-Dub said...

I had some guy blow up at me for ringing a bell well before I passed.

Some people will NEVER be not be angered by a warning.

However, as my state law says I must do so for pedestrians, I can try to aim their anger at Big Gubmint. That often sets us straight, the common enemy.

GunPoliticsNY said...

I usually say "Behind you" and let them move to either side.

Anonymous said...

On multiuse paths I now have resorted to (a) slowing way, way down, I mean really slowly, especially when there are two to three abreast, and (b) uttering some friendly phrase such as, "I'm behind you [this sais at 1 mph]," or something and then a "What a beautiful day!" This generally takes the sting out of the encounter, especially when coming up on a family with kids. It is simply not worth it to attempt to retain any speed whatsoever; 95% of the time I can ride as fast as I want(or as I can - a slightly different metric of course!). I guess my point is that I try to place myself in their (the pedestrians') shoes, and I don't think I would like to be startled by some Fred zipping by me yelling, "On your left!"

As for cyclists that are slower than I am, a bit of the same, but I find them either (a) fine with me passing or (b) really upset that I am passing because it is affront to their dreams of riding in the TdF or something dumb.

But my number one rule? When I pass a kid or wee one on a bike, I always compliment the kid (and by extension, the parent) on the bike. I have gotten a lot of smiles over the years by saying to a little kid, "Wow! I think your bike is really cool! I like the color ____."

leroy said...

I hear "Whoa, who stepped on a duck" when my dog passes gas. Then he blames me.

"On your left" isn't a factor.

Wesley Bellairs said...

Ebike replacement batteries are $700-900!

JLRB said...

scranus