The Spokesmen 40 – June 6, 2009

The Spokesmen 40
June 6, 2009

Listen now by clicking here: [audio:]

This episode of The Spokesmen Cycling Roundtable included:


  1. June 8, 2009

    I can hold my hand-up and say that I’ve never hit/tapped/spat at a car… Yet.

    I have been with people that have:

    On a charity ride with school kids, a driver drove half in a dedicated bike lane on a main road.. One of the teachers placed himself between the car and the children, and thumped on the roof until it swerved away..

    Out with Horses, one rider – on a massive Shire Horse – got her leg brushed by a passing van.. At the next set of lights she beat a good set of dents into the roof with her hunting crop..

    The mechanic at a local shop, advocates keeping some small denomination coins in jersey pockets..

  2. Chris
    June 8, 2009

    It was good to hear the stories of “love taps.” It’s not uncommon for you guys to get a bit preachy about interacting with traffic and it was very nice to hear that:
    1. You guys actually ride and know what a nasty experience can be like.
    2. You’re human and you get angry like the rest of us.
    3. You do equally stupid stuff when you get angry.

    Very refreshing show.

  3. June 8, 2009

    I am that spandex-wearing, wishing-I-had-normal-clothes-for-cycling.

    For the record, I rode my 80s bike to work wearing jeans.

    Also, yesterday flipped-off douche parked in the bike lane. He chased me down for some juicy yellin’s which I returned with gusto. I think his girlfriend is gonna break up with him as soon as he gets back to Canada.

  4. June 8, 2009

    My (few) “love taps” have all been open handed slaps to alert the driver – not cause damage to the car and never just to spite them. I also always just ride away – no glares or angry words to further infuriate the driver. For me it’s less about road rage than “hey, your inattentiveness is risking a life here and I need to make my presence in the rapidly diminishing space between your rear quarter panel and the curb known!”

  5. Chris
    June 11, 2009

    Gee, too bad Donna wasn’t there for the love-tap segment… after all, isn’t that why we all carry a Kryptonite lock?

  6. Don
    June 11, 2009

    Cycling culture is more of a European thing than an American thing. While listening to your podcast I kept thinking that the best example of such a culture we have in the U.S. would be the motorcycle culture, with the iconic “Harley” branding. You can see Harley clothing–mostly fashion clothing not made for riding–worn by countless folks who peripherally like the idea of the “biker” culture, but who have never ridden a motorcycle and know little to nothing about motorcycles. (True motorcyclist debate and discredit Harley, but no one argues the power of their branding.)

    I don’t see that we have an iconic American cycling brand name, or person. Lance Armstrong comes close, but still he’s seen as a racer. There’s no Harley-like brand for cycling. “Just get out and ride” and phrases like that capture the spirit and the attraction of the culture and do good for the industry. American cycling needs an American icon. Something which gives people an American identity.

    Thanks for a great show. Keep it up.

  7. John the Monkey
    June 12, 2009

    It’s hard to keep your cool when someone has nearly killed you (usually because they can’t wait a second or so to reach a point where they can pass safely).

    That said, the “zen bubble” has a lot to recommend it.

    I see a few people on Bike Forums talking airily about “taking out wing mirrors” and such.

    I’d urge people thinking of “love taps et al” to think carefully about the consequences before escalating things –

    1) They are in about a half tonne of metal that can travel much faster than you.
    2) They’ve already shown a willingness to put your life at risk *without* you doing anything to provoke them.
    3) The penalties for them knocking you off (unless they are drunk whilst doing so) is pathetic, and unlikely to deter them (speaking about the UK here).

    It’s not always possible to have a measured response to having your life put at risk, but people should be wary of escalating things to a point where they get seriously dangerous.

    One of my friends said this about riding in traffic, and dealing with frustrated drivers;

    “Calm down. Remember – [in the city] you are the King on your bicycle, and treat your subjects in cars with respect and understanding.”

    It’s good to see you guys talking about this stuff – a lot of Bike advocacy tends to a boosterish “everything is fine” tone, which doesn’t always reflect reality. Thanks for an enjoyable show.

  8. John the Monkey
    June 12, 2009

    Incidentally, related to the Gatorade anecdote (squirting a water-bottle at a driver), I know of someone who did this, and the driver drove into him and borke his leg. This was considered fair exchange.

  9. Phil
    June 12, 2009

    I have tapped ( ok pounded) on the rear window of a minivan that was about to kill my wife and I with a right hook. Long story, but I firmly believe the driver had no idea that he was about to clobber us. That said I do not typically do such things. I do not initiate communication with drivers in any way while they are behind the wheel. I acknowledge friendly communication with a wave of my hand or speech if appropriate. Otherwise, I on chugging.

  10. Chris
    August 17, 2009

    Hey guys,

    Love the show, best on itunes imho. Don’t give up with the in depth reviews and discussion of all things cycling, your the Radio 4 of the cycling world (Carlton can explain). In somewhat of a contradiction to the last statement, when can we have another podcast, I miss listening to you guys on the bike?


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