Bikers vs. Drivers and Gripshift

Brian just wrote this comment on an older post.

Thanks for writing the blog on cycling in Southern Illinois Back in the day, like many, I lived and rode there while attending SIUC. If memory serves correctly, it is exactly as you describe: rolling, bucolic, scenic, laid back. Your report seems to indicate that nothing much has changed. Good thing? Bad thing? I’ll let others be the judge of that.

I have a question for you that requires a little background  I presently reside in St. Charles, MO and divide my riding time between three geographic zones: St. Louis, the Metro East area and rural St. Charles county. St. Louis is an urban area. Urban cycling offers advantages and carries risks that are beyond the scope of this blog. The Metro East area offers a plethora of paved trails and is a delight, although it can take me a while to get there. Rural St. Charles county is the closest and most accessible of the three. It is also the most hazardous to my health.

The fine suburban folk who call rural St. Charles county home are united in their hatred of cyclists. Ask them. They’ll tell you. We (the cyclists) are the anti-christ. We are the drug dealers and perverts that corrupt their children. We are heinous criminals and terrorists. We are all that is wrong with America. “You have no right to be on the road”, is a quote I’ve heard more times than I can count… with the spicy parts removed for clarity.

Has any of this poison made it down where you live?

I’d like to take a moment to respond.  First I can’t say that I’ve ever felt hatred from motorists here, maybe occasionally annoyance, but most people here are well mannered and aren’t as important as “city folk” who are always in such a hurry to get to the mall or whatever.  Also on my typical road rides I may be passed by a handful of cars.    I do think that we are a source of amusement to some, especially our outfits, so about the worse thing I ever experience is a mocking laugh, or a drive by shout, which I can live with because they didn’t run me over and kill me.

So I don’t know anything about suburban motorists, but I have ridden with larger groups of cyclists who mainly hail from the suburbs.  Here’s what I think.  When larger groups of cyclists come together they tend to ride 2 or 3 abreast and take the lane more often, sometimes they even get cocky and block traffic or yell at cars.  I’m not saying that cyclists are to blame, but I would suggest that riders who stay in small groups, hang close to the edge of the road, and stay off busier roads probably don’t experience the road rage and hatred as much.

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XO Gripshift

XO Gripshift

Tonight I worked on my mountain bike, seems like I spend alot of time working on that thing lately.  Shifting has been a problem.  I can make it shift good one up or down the Cassette but not both ways.  Got some SRAM parts off a buddy to try.  My problem with the shimano shifter/derailuer I’ve been using is that they seem to become useless after about 4 or 5 rides.  Sure we ride in awful conditions but I’ve changed the housing and cable on the rear 3 times in the last 3 months, that’s unsustainable.

I was checking out an old bike a buddies house the other day that had all original parts on it   from around 2005, the cables were so gunky that it hurt my thumb to shift it, but it still shifted better then my bike with nearly brand new cables.

Time will tell but the SRAM seems to work.  I used the same housing and a new cable and its now hitting every gear change without hesitation, but can i get used to grip shift?

About Matt Gholson

Cycling, school teaching, husband.
This entry was posted in Barn Door Cycling, Bikes and components, lifestyle, Mountain BIking and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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