Anger and loathing, I can't do it anymore.- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
    Filthyrob
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    Anger and loathing, I can't do it anymore.

    Hello All,

    Warning, emotional rant to follow. I don't think I can do it anymore. I've been cycle commuting for a couple years and I think I'm at the end of my rope. I live in Calgary which is NOT a commuter friendly city. There are very few bike paths outside from certain parks and the mentality of Calgary drivers is not bike evolved.

    I've got my route down to stay off main roads to the fullest extent possible. I try to tell myself that nobody can ruin my day without my my help. I talk myself up to not getting furious with the drivers. I tell myself "just go easy, take it easy". I've stopped riding everyday in favor of doing it more occasionally with the view that I can slow down and try to tell myself to enjoy it instead of feeling the need for speed. I've slowed my route down, taking sidewalks (ug!) and using all the pushbutton lights I can etc... Even so the incidents continue.

    Coming home from work I have to ride into traffic to cross a bridge. Have to, there is no other route. Two lanes crossing the LRT feeds to a hill where the car traffic is always backed up. I take the right lane and act as a car (ie take up a lane.) I do 30 kph and the traffic does about 40 kph for about 300 meters until I turn off and then another 100 meters the traffic would basically come to a crawl. Here I always get grief, people honking at me, people giving me the finger, people shouting at me, people purposefully cutting as close to me as possible (while giving me the finger). This is one of about 3 locations on my route where I get this kind of grief. Each day I get home angry.

    The other type of incidents are the absent minded ones. The soccer moms on the phone not looking where they are going. They almost hit you and then get angry at you for being on the road.

    Worst yet are the fatties in their SUV's. Ya, these fatties are so sporty. God! Get off their fat selves and get on a bike. These people tend to have the most developed sense of ownership of the road. Probably because they drive everywhere they feel that they have the god-given right to the road.

    I don't want to drive to work on these beautiful summer days. It is so stupid. When you're sitting on your bike at an intersection waiting for the light to change watching an endless line of single occupant SUV's drive past you can't help but think how stupid the current situation is. I'm not even making an environmental rant here. Just stand there one morning and you can't help but arrive at the conclusion that this is just a stupid way for all of us to let our city be.

    If you can't beat them join them. I think I'm gonna end up just driving. I'm tired of the anger. I think if I keep doing this eventually I'm gonna get killed by some ass.

    AAAAAAAAAAAAAAArrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrghgggggggh!

  2. #2

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    Amen

  3. #3
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    I completely understand though I do not have the same difficulties since I do not ride in the city itself. As far as the anger goes, there is no less of it in the car or truck. People are just full of themselves and anger. They never stop to realize that they are usually the problem not the ones they are angry at. I drive a truck and the idiots that do not know or follow the rules of the road cause so many problems. Some favorites are not signaling, taking an exit ramp from the left lane, stopping to turn right on a green light, and backing up 30ft before looking. In the truck where gaining speed is so difficult the loveable sweet hearts that pass you just to slow down are always a joy. Then we must not forget the magnet drivers…those that like to stay in your blind spot no matter how fast you travel. I had one the other day that didn’t pass until I had slowed to 15mph on a 75mph interstate (ordinarily would not have bothered but the high beams in the mirrors was driving me nuts and I could not go fast enough to get away from the individual). I do not know if it helps but I really think it is just the complete ignorance and selfishness of others and if they did not direct their stupidity towards you then the infant in the back seat of their SUV would serve the same purpose just as effectively.

  4. #4
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    Don't give in!

    Yeah I feel that way sometimes too,Rob. However if you stop commuting they have won and you'll become what you hate most.

  5. #5
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    The asses are still going to be there, whether you're on a bike or in a car! At least yours won't be fat!

  6. #6
    Double-metric mtb man
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    Rob, as someone who commutes in Edmonton, I feel your pain. Don't give in. Carry a notepad (I like my black one that looks like it is police issue) and a cell phone (preferably with a camera)...don't have to report them, but it makes you feel a heck of a lot better to have the option sometimes.
    As if four times wasn't enough-> Psycho Mike's 2013 Ride to Conquer Cancer Page

    Moran? Let your opinion be free -> F88me

  7. #7
    poser Administrator
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    I think or should I say thought the same way until last week I was forced to be one of those drivers for a few day. I found I was much more irritated and angry at all the single driver vehicles of which I had also become one. Traffic snarls made me more angry and I got to work and home irritated and unfulfilled. Riding my bike may be shitty at times but it sure beats driving IMO.
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  8. #8
    Outrageously happy
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    If it makes you angry, you should stop bike commuting. Sounds hellish, with the twerps giving you the finger.

    My experience is the opposite. People seem to be getting friendly and more considerate. I'm usually given the space and mind share I need to get safely through a commute. The San Jose area sounds like it is much more "bike evolved" than your slice of Canadia.

  9. #9
    weirdo
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    I`m with Roeland on this one. If it bothers you that much, it isn`t worth it. There are enjoyable rides even if your route to work and back is such a stressfull PITA so it`s not necessarry to put up with that in order to keep riding. As to letting the a-holes "win", yeah, I guess that`s what you`d be doing, but in reality there`s not a snowball`s chance that they`d eventually decide after seeing you a zillion times riding that you`re a good guy after all and they might as well be nice. There really isn`t any winning to be done one way or the other. After reading yet one more post about how crappy traffic conditions and driver attitudes are in other places (if there aren`t enough here, read some of the Bikeforums commute descriptions), I feel that much more gratefull that I have a peaceful commute. So if riding to work isn`t cutting it for you, find what riding is still enjoyable and keep doing that- it`s much better than giving up riding all together, getting splattered, or even ruining your day on a continuing basis. Bill for .02 in the mail.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by filthyrob

    Worst yet are the fatties in their SUV's. Ya, these fatties are so sporty. God! Get off their fat selves and get on a bike. These people tend to have the most developed sense of ownership of the road. Probably because they drive everywhere they feel that they have the god-given right to the road.
    Temper isn't good for anybody and it won't help you be aware of your surroundings and be safe. I also suggest that you be careful because many years ago I got bumped by a pickup truck when I was on a busy street and the driver was a big drunk violent guy with a criminal record who close to beat me to a pulp and it would have been worse if it was not busy and people yelling at him to stop.

    I commute with a pretty stout bike and tires so I can be off the road and make sure moves and maybe that will help.

    I will laugh at your SUV comment. My evil SUV was first used as a guide rig and now used as my company's service rig and only used a few times a week. Bike riders flip me off and little do they know that the vehicle is used to support businesses they use and that the driver is a leader in the bike community who uses a Burley trailer when possible. My evil SUV is also used for area bike trail building, maintenance and cleanup and driven 3500 - 5000 miles a year so it does much less evil than the people who sprawl and driver smaller vehicles more.

    Just keep your cool and don't do anything foolish. If your area is not bike friendly organize to improve it. Things are run by those who show up and work at it.

    Good luck!

  11. #11
    Bloody Bastard
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    I wish everyone's commute was as nice as mine. Minimal traffic, nice green pastures, good bike lanes... I wish I could say that I feel your pain, but I can't.

  12. #12
    Filthyrob
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    Thanks for all of the comments, both wellwishers and also those reminding me to maintain my perspective. I think I'm going to be left wishing that my ride didn't take me through traffic while I use my truck to get to work.

    Best to all. Rob.

  13. #13
    Keep pedaling...
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    Just wear a shirt or jacket that says POLICE on the back. Nobody will ever give you the finger again.

  14. #14
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    Maybe u shall be a side mirror. Then u will be more conscious of traffic behind and know when to let the vehicle pass, when to slow down. Then the driver will not be that angry.
    Driver usually get aagitated when u ride slower than down and they can do a right turn as they are near the junction.. If u are aware of what's behind, have the courteousy, slow down and let them pass u to turn in first. Or u know a car is coming behind signal and wanted to turn but u are very near the junction. Speed up quickly so that driver need not slow down for u to pass junction first..

    After installing a side mirror, I have no issue with driver. I know when to overtake when to slow down and when to speed.....

  15. #15
    Raidero desde Torino
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    Quote Originally Posted by filthyrob
    Here I always get grief, people honking at me, people giving me the finger, people shouting at me, people purposefully cutting as close to me as possible (while giving me the finger). This is one of about 3 locations on my route where I get this kind of grief. Each day I get home angry.
    That is the most hostile traffic that I have ever heard about.
    It is a world record?
    I do not think that with such a situation, to show up with the "Critical Mass" would help.

  16. #16
    Filthyrob
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    Hmm.... I'm not sure you're quite following me. At this location on my route there are two lanes. Exactly two lanes. I don't feel that there is room for me to share a lane with cars. I could hug the cement side barrier but that would have me cycling in a couple of feet with cars passing me with about two feet of clearence. The cause of the grief is me cycling in the middle of the right lane as if I was a car. This allows me 5 feet of space on my right hand side and the same on my left for passing cars. Ok, this safety buffer is good for me but the car drivers go nuts.

    At rush hour there isn't one car passing every so often at this location. There will be a line of cars behind me. Keep in mind I'm almost doing the same speed they would be and that 100 meters after I turn off the traffic basically comes to a halt.

    At another location on my route I used to go down a long hill. The speed limit is 60 and I would be doing almost 50 kph. Cars used to tailgate me (also with the horn and the finger routine.) This used to scare the crap out of me. If I had any kind of a slip or anything I'd have been dead. Again, in this location I'd be almost doing traffic speed and again just after where I'd turn off the traffic would basically come to a halt. I've changed routes since then to avoid this hill.

    Does everyone else hug the curb or ride like a car? I think that hugging the curb is way too dangerous. Am I in the wrong? I guess that may be the question.

  17. #17

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    But if you join them, then you might act like they do to the few bike commuters in your city and if you do that then you are as good as them and it sounds like you dont want to be them. And a lot of them sound like total idiots because while they are being dicks to you it is you that is not burning fossil fuels and burning up the o-zone and in the end you might even play a big role in saving they ass from a catastrophe like in that movie "The Day After Tomorrow"
    Just thought I would throw that out there

  18. #18
    Outrageously happy
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    Quote Originally Posted by filthyrob
    Does everyone else hug the curb or ride like a car? I think that hugging the curb is way too dangerous. Am I in the wrong? I guess that may be the question.
    Yeah, I'm with you, now. I will sometimes do what you do, but for 100-200 yards stretches. When I bike to see my wife at lunch, I need to cross a freeway, complete with on ramps and off ramps. For some crazy reason, they allocated zero space for bike lanes over this section, so I'm forced into traffic, with a concrete barricade on the right, full speed traffic on the left, and cars immediately behind me as the enter or exit the freeway. So I go into traffice. The work-around is to go about 1 mile out of my way, which is sometimes OK, sometimes not. Yeah, those moments suck.

    I also had a fun incident today with a fat SUV driver. Her arm, resembling a flabby ham hock, was hanging out of the window of her Navigator. Her Navigator parked in the bike lane. Her super-sized passenger waddling out of the side door. I had nowhere to go but into traffic. It happens.

    I'm with you. But I can't explain those fingers. I always thought Canadieites were pretty mellow.

  19. #19
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    Smile and wave! It's a lot of fun. I also catch up to rude drivers and politely inform them of the hazards of their actions and the rules of the road. They remain angry but they'll cool down and come to their senses later.

  20. #20
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    Rob, I feel your pain, I also live in a non bicycle commuter friendly city, Los Angeles. I live withing 7 miles of my office but chose to drive in with my Matrix Hartchback. I live just east of a the LA Country Club, (golf course) but the road heading west to my job narrows down to two lanes. one making a blind curve thru the golf course. the other is so rutted you would need a AM 6" bike to make it thru. Laughingly there is a street that has bike lane posted but no marked lanes nor stop signs for the busiest intersections. I may try commuting this summer with my mountain bike, then I can bump curbs, cross lawns where there is no side walks, and jump pot holes and broken asphalt burms. I see a other brave souls riding this commute.

    I used ot have a 55mile commute that was safer than my current 6 mile commute. Now as a alternative I take my bike to work inside the car, afterwork take it to the beach for a safe ride.

    Rob I hope you can find a reasonable alternative for riding during the week.
    PS Fat SUV's suck! with all due respect to the SAG SUVs and SUVs with bike racks. Heh like mine!

  21. #21
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    When I need to take the lane I do so by riding in the right hand car tire "groove." This gives sufficient space for me to maneuver as needed, and encourages passing cars to pass wide but doesn't seem to enrage drivers quite so much.

    This situation may involve some hard choices for you, Rob. Do you want to drive to work? Can you seek out other bike routes? Can you move, either your home or your work? How much does it really matter to you? Which of these choices can you live with?

    I used to live in a smaller town with great road rides right out my door and drive to work. Now I live closer to work and bike there, but the "fun," riding isn't quite as easy or nice. Nice enough, usually, and I treat myself by driving a few miles out of town once or twice a week for some recreational riding. Compromises are part of the game if you want to live in a non-mainstream way! Finding compromises you can live with is the trick to winning that game.

    Consider mixed-format commutes utilizing mass transit--if your city busses have bike racks on front you can ride part way and take the bus for the dangerous part.

    Good luck! If you find an answer you can live with, please post up.

  22. #22
    back2bikin'
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    Wow. Wow. I grew up in LA and rode four lane roads with trucks and busses passing within inches of me as I kept a very close eye on all the parked cars I was riding next to in case I had a door open on me. I was once propositioned, but never treated in an angry manner by drivers.
    I have a bike trail along the American River to get me out of traffic now. So glad to not have to cross the J street bridge. Sounds like yours, only about a third the size. Maybe it is just cause I'm older, but the one time I did cross that bridge made me so uncomfortable, with so little room and people ZOOMing by, I don't ever want to go over it again!
    When I see idiot drivers, I try to remember I was one once. Being older for me means taking it easier, and trying to be more understanding of the stressed out angry people.

    Probably a good idea to give up the commute Rob. The anger will kill ya if a vehicle doesn't. Find the joy in bike friendly areas. Or hey - get a new job here in CA!
    "So convenient a thing it is to be a reasonable creature,..."

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