"It never gets any easier. You just go faster." ---Greg Lemond
"Don't buy upgrades. Ride up grades." --- Eddy Merckx
"You drive like shit." ---The Car Whisperer


First Rule of Bike Club

...is DON'T DIE.

Please don't mistake me of making light of this fatality. It is a disaster and a tragic loss for Chicago cycling. According to Chicago Bike Racing, Matthew Manger-Lynch had been doing well in the famous Chicago alleycat stage race, Tour da Chicago, and had recently received his USA Cycling license in order to compete in sanctioned racing as well. My heart goes out to Matthew's wife and family, and his friends and mine that were at the scene this morning.

Mark and I rolled through that intersection on our way to meet some fellow team members on the lake front this morning, and as soon as I saw the flashing blue lights and diverting traffic, a familiar sight, I felt dread growing in my stomach.

Alley Cats are fun, a unique and cutthroat competition, a much better way to spend the morning than working at, or driving to shop at, Wal-Mart, and also dangerous as hell. Especially with a prevalent anti-car-culture ethos that leads to brash behavior and a level of posturing that can only be described as a death wish.

I competed in my only Alley Cat last summer, and even that evening I knew it would be my last. It was incredibly fun and the best time I'd had on a bicycle in a long time, but I was a bit tense the entire evening while being witness to some very dangerous and stupid red-light "negotiation". The afterparty the next evening after the day at the track was a ridiculously fun time - I tied for first place in the IRO Sprints. Cyclists are the best people in the world to party with. But tonight, I can only imagine the gloom and rock bottom spirits of the Tour da Chicago participants that no amount of PBR will be able to drown.

Bicycling is a celebration of life and human ingenuity. Yes, our firmly ensconced car-culture is an unmitigated disaster for our society today, but our job as cyclists - should you choose to accept it - is to promote our passion as the alternative, in actions as well as words. I consider motorists who harbor rage and indolence towards cyclists and our cure as children who must be shown the way through education, not browbeating and abuse. They are trapped in the Matrix of car-culture and simply know no other way of life than driving and entitlement to the roads. There is an abyss of misunderstanding.

At best, stop-light crashing cyclists promote the ire of infringed motorists and the reaction of the police against uninvolved commuters and training teams. At worst, one more voice of our gospel is silenced, the witnesses to the bloody scene are scarred for life, and everyone else - Steve Dahl, maybe? - just reading the news are left to shake their heads and say, "I told you so."

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