I wanted to raise an incident that happened at the weekend, just in case it applies to anyone that happens to read this site and makes them think again about their behavior. 

My fiance and I are avid cyclists and commute daily and we are always trying to encourage friends to take it up, offering to ride with them on quite routes etc. One particular friend has been really keen because of the health benefits but has just been extremely nervous because of the roads.

After a bit of gentle persuading she added "riding a bike" to her new years resolutions so, this weekend, we managed to convince her to attend the excellent East Side Ride in Centennial Park so that she could try cycling in a safe environment and get some confidence. There was a stand where you could borrow a bike and helmet, so we sorted that out and off we went. So far, so good. 

Now for the downside. My other half was cycling alongside her and I was cycling behind. We were cycling slowly but perfectly straight within the cycle way. Not long after we had set off we had a 'peleton' of about 20-25 lycra clad cyclists come powering past us and went past extremely closely and then cut straight in front of us as they roared past. 

Having finished explaining that normally you are given a lot more room, cyclists aren't generally that aggressive etc, would you believe that a smaller a group, of about 4 or 5 cyclists in their full replica team gear came past and yelled "how far apart do you want to cycle?" before one shot through the gap between my girlfriend and our friend. 

I should emphasise at this point that, yes, there was a gap (big enough for a cyclist to go through, but only just) but we were in the cycle lane, clearly going slowly/carefully and were leaving a gap so that our friend, who was on the inside, had plenty of space. For those not familiar with Centennial Park, you can just go out in to the normal road way to go past, which I do when overtaking slower cyclists all the time. Needless to say, these two incidents have put our friend off completely. Worse, she will no doubt repeat these incidents to anyone that raises cycling with her in the future.  

Obviously got no issues with people using the park for training but there needs to be an acceptance that it is a place for people of all abilities. If you really want to train at speed and without learner cyclists then I would suggest that you should be out on the road and not in the park at all. 

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no need to point out the lycra thing but otherwise, yes, d1ckheads will be d1ckheads.

There is a strong correlation with lycra tho.

I see more non-lycra wearers doing absolutely retarded dangerous things.

What I read about is people getting scared by lycra-louts, but no actual physical problems per se. A bit like the pedestrian vs cyclist thing on shared paths.

Then again I don't go to centenial park to ride around in circles.

I see more footy short clad commuters doing stupid stuff in traffic than lycra clad cyclists - running reds, shoaling and darting through traffic. They can be just as aggressive!

Regarding the behaviour of the team wannabes - that's unacceptable, just pass on the road and get over it. However, it does irk me when people are spread across the bike lane - I try to ride close with partners over to the left of the lane so that the time-triallers can just go around easily. They don't bother me, I don't bother them and the world keeps turning.

I think the Lycra made them do it. That's why we need to de-Lycra-ify cycling.

may the power be with you.

Now lest get stuck into the feral unfashionably clad fringe dwellers that insist on riding without lights after dark on cycle ways 

hmm, I'd rather they have no lights than lights set to blind all oncomers, including car drivers.

I have good lights and can spot those without lights, including pedestrians and small animals. If I can't see them I'm riding to fast.

"fringe dwellers that insist on riding without lights after dark on cycle ways"

They are doing their bit to refine the gene pool!  It currently needs more chlorine!

and they deserve what they get... where have I heard that before? oh yeah, about cyclists in general

The only cyclists I don't like are the aggressive cockspanks who regard everything and everyone as an obstacle, or the shouty personal safety wankers who consider themselves the self-appointed guardians of moral conformity. They have no idea how much they turn off other people or the damage they do to cycling participation in general. It's easy to stereotpye these people as lycra-louts but that's simply not the case in my experience.

Discovery!
Cyclists are not special, there is no entrance requirement that stops ordinary everyday inconsiderate human beings from participating.

To fill the heads of new cyclists with ideas of a utopian secret society of like-minded gentle souls is to betray the fact that it is (& should be) just everyday ordinary fallible people that happen to also like riding bicycles.

Well put. That creep the cops wanted for killing someone last weekend was pickup up riding a bike. Australians ride bikes. Some people wear lycra.

The issue is that Sydney is a relatively rude and rushed city. You can't live in Sydney and escape the rudeness unless you stay at home.

We all (I hope) deeply sympathise with you and the newbie in the park. Rude, rushed Sydneysiders are also in the park. Some on bikes. Your friend needs to be encouraged by you to take it on board. It would be somehow incorrect for the friend to think it was safer than it is. You and I are no different except that our cycling confidence has been raised by years of riding. And we are still doing fine. Please keep up your personal advocacy.

 

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