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Sunrise Protest

2009-07-07 17:23:45.010953+00 by ebradway 13 comments

I just got the call to drive SAG (Support And Gear) for the Sunrise Century again this year. Last year was eventful as a cyclist not involved in the race was killed on the course. This year may prove even more eventful as people in the mountain communities have planned a protest against the new pro-cycling laws in Colorado. The intent is to blockade the leg of the route between US-36 and Jamestown on Left Hand Canyon Road. My afternoon route, last year, followed US-36 from Left Hand Canyon to the race end (including the intersection where the guy was killed).

[ related topics: Current Events Civil Liberties Sports Community Pedal Power Bicycling Government ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2009-07-07 17:32:31.287501+00 by: Dan Lyke

Make sure you carry a camera with plenty of extra memory for both video and still pictures, and take pictures of license plates of any automobiles parked illegally.

I ran across this article or a similar one on the Tandem@Hobbes list some time ago, and my impression was that the flyers were largely the work of one dangerous crank. Either way, documentation will be everyone's friend.

#Comment Re: made: 2009-07-07 21:20:41.279466+00 by: ebradway

Dangerous Crank: Hopefully not on anyone's bike!

Seriously though, the protest is pretty real. There have been some violence between bicyclists and motorists in the canyon. It's actually understandable. You can really only reach Jamestown by a windy, narrow two-lane road (Left Hand Canyon Road). That road is an absolute blast to ride - a nice steady climb for about 10 miles and then the trip back down.

Part of the problem is that many Boulder cyclists are particularly rude toward motorists. It's a shame because motorists in Boulder are typically very accommodating of bicycles.

#Comment Re: made: 2009-07-08 11:22:01.566631+00 by: petronius

Rude cyclists are a problem outside of Boulder as well. Far too many cycle advocates come across as well-to-do, self-righteous yuppies who are shocked, shocked to find all these tacky proles on their streets.

#Comment Re: made: 2009-07-08 15:38:20.696825+00 by: Dan Lyke [edit history]

Yeah, Petronius, I actually stop at stop signs (and have been hit because of that), and finding people to ride with, where I feel comfortable being part of a group of cyclists riding like they behave, is difficult. Dori has mentioned before cyclists riding several abreast who are utterly clueless about traffic behind them, where it takes a few horns to be able to get around them (on roads in rural Sonoma that are otherwise pretty un-trafficked).

So "Share the road" certainly works both ways, and I have occasionally been known to holler that sentence out of an automobile window, suffixed by the honorific ", asshole!".

#Comment Re: made: 2009-07-08 17:33:11.155697+00 by: markd

That accident essay made me think of Spike Bike. http://linux.stevens-tech.edu/kmh/spike.bike.all.txt Amusingly enough, both are set in 1998.

#Comment Re: made: 2009-07-08 19:16:58.810042+00 by: ebradway [edit history]

The new Colorado law provides greater freedom to ride two abreast. And I think the cyclists view horn honking as aggressive behavior - not a "Hey guys, mind moving over for a bit?"

Of course, Boulder also has a problem with cyclists flying down multi-use paths without using a bell to warn pedestrians.

I cycle for recreation and transportation - and I have to say I'd side with the automotive drivers on this issue. I would also, driving SAG for the race, not try to take license numbers. I really feel for the folks who have to use Left Hand Canyon to get home or to work.

<grin>Just read Dan's rant. I must have missed it the first time around. The difference between an average city and a "Platinum Level Bicycle Friendly Community" (Boulder was just upgraded from Gold Level) is that the bicyclists are officially bigger assholes than the auto drivers.

#Comment Re: made: 2009-07-08 20:20:00.212887+00 by: Dan Lyke

Mark, yeah, I wrote that before I'd discovered Spike Bike, but Bob Fischell expressed my sentiments better than I did.

Eric, yeah, I'm okay with two abreast on un-trafficked roads, as long as the cyclists are aware of what's going on around them and not generally impeding traffic. It's the "4 abreast out for a leisurely Sunday pedal" that's all too common on things like shorter organized rides that I cringe at.

And I completely believe that cyclists have no place on MUPs unless the alternative is mixing with freeway speed traffic. It's okay to ride your bike on one, if you're going pedestrian speeds, but 20+MPH has no place mixing with dogs on leashes and little kids weaving all over on their kick bikes. Calling MUPs "bike paths" does us all a disservice because we don't want motorists thinking that we should be on them rather than the roads.

And when those folks using Left Hand Canyon are actually paying for their road upkeep through gasoline taxes, rather than distributing most of the cost of the road out over income and other taxes, I'll feel sympathy.

#Comment Re: made: 2009-07-10 19:44:23.820561+00 by: ebradway

MUPs: Boulder has many paths with marked lanes - two lanes in opposite directions for bikes and a separate ped lane. But, even in Boulder, that's more the exception.

We also have pretty good marked bike lanes in the streets - but the signed bike routes where the lanes exist are an after-thought to a system designed for vehicles. Mostly, the signed routes take you down residential streets to avoid the cramped commercial areas. This makes it challenging to ride to the commercial areas!

I'm not certain, but I bet the new Colorado law was created in response to problems Boulder cyclists had last Summer with a neighboring county sheriff who would ticket any bicyclists he saw not riding single file. And this is in a very rural area.

#Comment Re: made: 2009-07-12 02:36:01.872839+00 by: TheSHAD0W [edit history]

[edited] Er, n/m.

#Comment Re: made: 2009-07-13 16:24:41.430881+00 by: ebradway

I go for SAG training this coming Saturday. I'll be asking questions!

#Comment Re: made: 2009-07-13 18:55:28.248909+00 by: Dan Lyke

"SAG training"? Damn, you got one of them super organized rides. Most I've ever gotten for SAG training was "grab yourself a toolkit, don't run anybody over." Well, okay, I also got "You've got a license? Here's a radio, here's how to work it." but, alas, the radio didn't actually transmit...

#Comment Re: made: 2009-07-20 16:11:51.109376+00 by: ebradway

The Sunrise Century is run by the for- profit Bikerpelli and is known as being one of the best supported rides in the country. It's one of the few organized rides that actually attempts to run Left Hand Canyon. There's no cell phone coverage in the Canyon, so ham radio operators have to be posted at the aid stations. It's a level of organization beyond the means for most charitable rides.

As for the training - we talked some about the protest. We've been asked to all carry brooms and watch for tacks in the road. The Colorado Highway Patrol also plans to spend extra time in the Canyon.

I'm not on the SAG crew in the Canyon. Like last year, I've got both the first leg (6am-10am) and the last leg (12noon-4pm). The last leg is right after the Canyon downhill run. It's also been rerouted to avoid US-36 where a cyclist was killed last year on the ride course (but wasn't in the ride). That was on my SAG route. Auto traffic was blocked for most of the afternoon. I had to drive quite a ways out of the way to cover beyond the accident.

#Comment Re: made: 2009-07-26 01:39:44.378057+00 by: ebradway

What a dud! almost ten hours driving the SAG wagon and not even a flat tire! Ride went off amazingly well - no protesters.

I did notice that car drivers were more rude than the cyclists - including a van that about creamed me. I was tailing the last cyclist at about 15mph with my warning blinkers. This van comes flying up behind me trying to get ahead of the car that's passing me on the left. I'm surprised I didn't at least get paint from the van. It was freaking close.