Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Thoughts on Road Biking in Boston

I think I see Massachusetts plates.
If you haven’t figured it out yet.  I can’t stand road biking.  It’s not the lack of suspension, thin tires, awkward body positioning, or spandex shorts that I can’t stand.  Frankly, the ten pounds you shave off a road bike is worth these indignities.  I can’t stand road biking because it takes place on roads, where inevitably I will find drivers.... Boston drivers. 

Road biker for "Sorry about that."
Have you ever driven in Boston and moved a little more slowly than traffic? Have you dared to take your time to check out the scenery or search out a street sign?  Have you started a millisecond too slow at a stop light?  Maybe it is the fact there are too many Dunkin Donuts.  Or possibly it has something to do with our roads being narrower than sidewalks in most other cities.  The simple fact is that most drivers here are just angry and looking for any excuse to let you know just how angry they are.  In turn, this makes the road bikers (myself included) edgy and just waiting for a confrontation. 

Take my good friend Gered.  He used to live in Brookline and road bike on a daily basis around Boston.  Gered would routinely get into shouting matches with drivers about their bad driving habits.....when he wasn’t even on his bike.  You see he was so used to getting yelled at, run at, honked at and spit at that he was constantly in combat mode with drivers.  I expected to get a call to bail him out at any moment because he beat a cabbie to death with a tire pump or chased down a car and put his bike lock through someone’s back window.  After Gered moved to Vermont he changed.  He mellowed a little.  While I would never describe him as anything but high strung, his level of biking anger seemed to subside.  It probably added about ten years on his life.

Boston driver speak for,
"Pardon me, but I think you may have cut me off"
In addition to cultivating anger issues and the slow stressful death they bring, there’s the whole issue of actually getting hit and killed by a car.  When was the last time you heard of someone getting killed on a mountain bike?  Now how about while road biking?  Sure, there are plenty of serious injuries on mountain bikes (like broken legs, arms, ribs, necks), but I can’t really think of ANYONE who I heard was killed while mountain biking.  Granted I live in the East, and haven’t been watching my daily dose  of “1000 Ways to Die”, but I can’t imagine the numbers are even close to being comparable.

Now before you road bikers go out and form an angry pelaton to put the beatdown on me Outsiders style, know this:  my training bike has front suspension and fat tires.  So just try following me off the Minuteman onto the dirt trails of the Great Meadow.  I'll ride you into a fence like a french cameraman.

This has nothing to do with my post.  It's just really cool.


  1. this is a little one sided mtn man, and ignores the obvious pros. high blood pressure is good training you know.

  2. There is only one "right" side. And on that side is mountain biking, craft beer and bacon. On the other side is road biking and disposable diapers. Which side are YOU on?

  3. you actually need a mountain bike for many of the roads in Vermont right about now...

  4. I just spent a weekend in boston. I saw this

  5. Yeah. They only recently removed the body. They leave the bike as a message to other road bikers.